In cricket, the captain is often the most important individual. Captaining a national team is undoubtedly the ultimate honor bestowed upon a cricketer. In India, the captain of the ODI team is one of the most scrutinized persons in the country. More often than not, the captain is made solely responsible for the performance of the Indian cricket team.
Some players had to carry this burden at a young age while others were given the post when they were past their best as a cricketer. The logic behind giving an older player the captaincy is to utilize his experience to the full extent. In this article, we will look at four oldest Indian players on ODI captaincy debut.
#4 Ajit Wadekar – 33 years 103 days
Wadekar is India’s first ODI captain, and his first game was against England at Leeds in 1974. India batted first and performed decently in a format that was alien to them at that time. Captain Wadekar and Brijesh Patel both scored half-centuries as India posted 265.
However, England chased the target down after fine knocks from Tony Greig and John Edrich. As the captain of Indian Test team, Wadekar led the team to historic triumphs against West Indies and Australia. He lost the two ODI games as captain, but that has not hindered his legacy as one of India’s best skippers.
#3 Syed Kirmani – 33 years 353 days
Kirmani captained just one game in his career, the fifth ODI of the West Indies tour of India in 1983. India had already lost the series 4-0 and with nothing at stake, Kapil Dev was not considered for selection. Gavaskar was also rested, and Raju Kulkarni made his debut for India.
India batted first, and the openers came together for a 50 run partnership. However, a mini collapse followed, and soon India were 117/5. India ended up with 178 but it was not enough against the likes of Greenidge, Haynes and Richards. Kirmani is among the oldest Indian players on ODI captaincy debut. But it is fair to say that almost nobody remembers the one game he captained for India as it was a dead rubber.
#2 Mohinder Amarnath – 34 years 37 days
Just like Kirmani, Amarnath captained only one game for India. In 1984, India toured Pakistan and Sunil Gavaskar was the designated captain. He captained India in the first ODI, was unavailable for the second ODI. As the most experienced campaigner, Amarnath stepped in for Gavaskar.
India batted first and reached 210/3 in 40 overs. However, the ODI was abandoned after the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. This game is barely remembered due to the circumstances which lead to cancellation of the game. Amarnath soon retired from cricket and is remembered as one of India’s bravest batsmen.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan – 35 years 225 days
One of India’s greatest ever opening batsmen, Dhawan tops the list of oldest Indian players on ODI captaincy debut. In his first game as captain, Indians displayed ruthlessness in their approach, both with the bat and ball. India chased 263 in 36.4 overs, one of the fastest chases in India’s history. Dhawan played a responsible knock as he was unbeaten on 86 at the end of the game.
In the second ODI, India once again bowled first and did well to restrict Sri Lanka to 275. In the chase, India were at one point 116/5 and the game looked done. But Deepak Chahar’s fine half century meant that Dhawan had won his first series as captain.