Earlier today, former South African batsman AB de Villiers was declared as the greatest batsman in the history of the IPL, by the Star Sports’ expert jury, while veteran Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga was declared the best bowler for his exploits with the ball over the years in this coveted annual T20 bonanza.
The event took place on the Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected. An expert jury, comprising of 50 members including 20 former cricketers, 10 senior sports journalists, 10 statisticians and 10 analysts took the responsibility to pick out the best performers over the 12 years of the tournament categorically.
According to the panel, picking out the greatest Indian batsman in the tournament’s history was a cinch, as Royal Challengers Bangalore and Indian captain Virat Kohli took the title with ease for being the highest scorer in the history of IPL with 5412 runs in 177 matches, including a mammoth 973 runs in the 2016 edition itself, scoring at 81.08 runs per game with 7 fifties and 4 three figure scores.
With 3,575 runs and 92 wickets to his name, Australia’s Shane Watson won the battle among the all-rounders. Watson was instrumental for the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition of the tournament, as he scored 472 runs and took 17 wickets which eventually helped his team in winning the title. 10 years later, Watson played a gem of a knock for CSK in the final against SRH, scoring 117* off 57 to help the Chennai based franchise win their third IPL trophy.
The title of the best coach went to Stephen Fleming of Chennai Super Kings. The former New Zealand captain marginally beat Trevor Bayliss of Kolkata Knight Riders to it by a small margin.
When it came to deciding on the greatest captain in the history of the tournament, the jury had a hard time making a choice between the talismanic CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and defending champions Mumbai Indians’ marquee cricketer Rohit Sharma. In the end, it was decided that both the captains would get to share the honour.
Under Dhoni’s reign, the Chennai Super Kings have qualified for the playoffs for a staggering 10 times out of 11, and have gone on to lift the trophy thrice. On the other hand, the Mumbai Indians have a much better record in the knockout stages since Rohit took over in 2013, winning the title a record 4 times.
The two franchisees have clashed in the final 4 times in the tournament’s history. While CSK won the first time they met at the summit clash back in 2010, the Mumbai Indians have gone on to triumph thrice against the same opposition, the latest being the previous edition of the tournament.