Indian Cricket’s cash-rich baby IPL has given more joy to cricket fans than any other competition in the world. For close to a couple of decades now, T20 has left indelible marks on Cricket’s blueprint. And at the onset of these changes are those coaches who have taken teams to peak of their powers with the use of various skills. These skills are different for different individuals that include: Man-management, acting as filters for various insights gained from data, Analytics & Strategy, etc. Today, we are looking at some of most impactful coaches at the biggest stage of them all – Indian Premier League.
Coaching is not an easy job at IPL because there is so much going around at a time but some IPL coaches have managed to block out these white noises and have taken their teams to new levels.
When this big Western Australian landed at IPL, he had already created his legacy as a limited overs coach after taking Sri Lanka to the final of 2007 ODI World Cup. He acted as the head coach of Kings XI Punjab from 2008 to 2010. His stint had mixed results with KXIP reaching play-offs in the first season but fizzled out in the following couple of seasons. After a break of two years, he was again named the head coach of newly integrated Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise. In his tenure, he made SRH champions in 2016 and finished second in the 2018 edition. Apart from this, SRH made play-offs in 2013, 2017 & 2019 in his duration. Although he remained with the franchise in 2020 edition but he took over as ‘Cricket Director’ at SRH.
|2008||IPL Play-offs||Kings XI Punjab|
|2013||IPL Play-offs||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|2016||IPL Winner||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|2017||IPL Play-offs||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|2018||IPL Runner-up||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|2019||IPL Play-offs||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
After Tom Moody, next on the list is his successor at SRH – Trevor Bayliss. This New South Wales man can be termed as one of the revolutionary coaches in white-ball cricket. After finding success at NSW early in his career, he moved to Sri Lanka and again found immediate success with Sri Lanka making it into the finals of 2011 ODI World Cup. In 2012, he was named at Kolkata Knight Riders with the franchise in desperate need of some revamp. He along with Gautam Gambhir brought a golden phase in KKR chapter by winning two titles in the span of 3 years between 2012 to 2014. He was called upon English shores to change England’s white-ball fortunes and he delivered in some style. He changed the way England had played their limited overs Cricket till that date and made them World Champions in 2019. At both of his triumphs at KKR and England, Data analytics played crucial roles with analysts like KR Srikanth and Nathan Leamon playing central roles.
|2012||IPL Winner||Kolkata Knight Riders|
|2014||IPL Winner||Kolkata Knight Riders|
His man management skills are second to none. Players are so well-versed of their roles that they hardly need team meetings before any games. He brought continuity to their selections and that still remains one of the biggest strengths of CSK. His relationship with MS Dhoni is at the heart of all these success of CSK. Under Stephen Fleming, CSK has won a total of 3 IPL titles so far. He gives players much needed freedom when it comes to preparation for IPL and believes in their experience. One of the most famous examples of this – Matthew Hayden was given total liberty apart from match days during IPL 2010 season. He used to go to surf on Chennai beaches but still delivered with the bat when he was needed for CSK.
|2008||IPL Runner-up||Chennai Super Kings|
|2009||IPL Play-offs||Chennai Super Kings|
|2010||IPL Winner||Chennai Super Kings|
|2011||IPL Winner||Chennai Super Kings|
|2012||IPL Runner-up||Chennai Super Kings|
|2013||IPL Runner-up||Chennai Super Kings|
|2014||IPL Play-offs||Chennai Super Kings|
|2015||IPL Runner-up||Chennai Super Kings|
|2017||IPL Runner-up||Rising Pune Supergiant|
|2018||IPL Winner||Chennai Super Kings|
|2019||IPL Runner-up||Chennai Super Kings|
Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL franchise as on date in the history of the league. And their recent success can be attributed to this Sri Lankan great. After taking over from Ricky Ponting in 2017, he has delivered 3 titles in 2017, 2019 & 2020. That’s quite an achievement even if you talk about only numbers but the effects of Mahela Jayawardene goes way beyond just that. He has given roles clarification to players to an extent that has made world-class talents blend into T20 world-beaters. His style of coaching has been captured rightfully in the Netflix documentary ‘Cricket Fever’.
|2017||IPL Winner||Mumbai Indians|
|2019||IPL Winner||Mumbai Indians|
|2020||IPL Winner||Mumbai Indians|
There were no surprises when Mumbai Indians named John Wright as their coach in 2013. Already associated with the franchise in one or other ways, he was given responsibility to turn everything around just like he did with Team India in the early 2000s. And he responded in some style by bringing a pair of T20 silverware in the first year itself – IPL & CLT20. The decision of making Rohit Sharma the captain in the middle of 2013 season in place of struggling Ricky Ponting , who would have thought that that decision would change the folklore of slam-bang cricket. Even after stepping down from the coaching position in 2014, he has been with the franchise as a talent scout to identify future superstars of the game at very early age.
|2013||IPL Winner||Mumbai Indians|
Statistically, one of the most successful captains in international cricket landed a coaching job at IPL in 2015. He was again at the same franchise for whom he played only a couple of years back – Mumbai Indians. During that period, Mumbai were already off the mark with a championship win in 2013. It was time for them to set their legacy straight in this competition and Ricky Ponting did just that. With John Wright moving into another role at the same franchise, Ricky Ponting’s role was to galvanize the team. He did more than that to take MI to the podium once again in 2015. After leaving Mumbai after 2016, he was again back at IPL in 2018. This time at Delhi Capitals and he was challenged with a task to make the core of emerging Indian superstars into a strong T20 outfit. After improvements in 2018, results followed in 2019 as DC made it to the play-offs. It was 2020 edition in UAE when DC finally played their first IPL final.
|2015||IPL Winner||Mumbai Indians|
|2019||IPL Play-offs||Delhi Capitals|
|2020||IPL Runner-up||Delhi Capitals|
Even before the first season of IPL began, people had started looking at Rajasthan Royals as a kind of development team. But amid the surprise of everyone, Shane Warne led them to the title in a dual role of IPL Coach and Captain. He identified youngsters that played crucial roles for RR in high-pressure situations and understood the basics of T20 cricket before everyone else did. After conquering championship against all odds, he continued his leadership till 2012. Although Rajasthan Royals failed to replicate the success of 2008, but Shane Warne left most striking marks to make them a ‘Moneyball’ team of the league.
|2008||IPL Winner||Rajasthan Royals|
Even before he came to Indian Premier League, Mike Hesson was already a respectable figure among world cricket. His heroics with New Zealand national team hadn’t gone unnoticed and he was appointed as the coach of Kings XI Punjab in 2019. Although he had a mixed season there in terms of results but improvements on cricketing ground was there for everyone to see. Only after solitary year, Mike Hesson left the KXIP job in pursue of the Indian coaching role. In 2020, Mike Hesson took over as Director of Cricket at Royal Challengers Bangalore. Title of the role changed but the coaching expertise of Mike Hesson was again at work. RCB failed to qualify for the final in 2020 but began the following season in top notch form. It will be interesting to see if RCB make to their calling finally this year in the second half of the season in IPL 2021.
Popularly known as ‘Boof’ among Australian cricket fraternity, Darren Lehmann followed a different path to his coaching career compared to other coaches of IPL teams. While other successful coaches brought their International experience to the league, Darren Lehmann began his career with Deccan Chargers in 2009. After playing for Rajasthan Royals in the first edition, he converted a lackluster outfit from the first season into ‘Champions’ come the second edition in South Africa. Some of his tactical decisions from that season were from the top drawer. DC again made the play-offs in the following season but failed to reach the final. Darren Lehmann capitalized from this experience in IPL and made Australia the ‘World Champions’ again in 2015.
|2009||IPL Winner||Deccan Chargers|
|2010||IPL Play-offs||Deccan Chargers|
After the short playing career, Paddy Upton took to coaching at comparatively early age. He started his journey first as strength and conditioning coach of South African national team before moving to India along with Gary Kirsten. After the International success, his first stint as ‘Head Coach’ came at Pune Warriors during the 2012 edition. From the next year onwards, he was at Rajasthan Royals and delivered some impressive results. Under his coaching, RR qualified for the play-offs and earned the Champions League spot for themselves in 2013. He focused on making Sawai Mansingh stadium as their fortress and won 13 straight games during his time there. When he moved to Delhi Capitals for 2016 and 2017 seasons, he did more than just a decent job with the youngsters there.
|2013||IPL Play-offs||Rajasthan Royals|
Stephen Fleming. You cannot define top IPL coaches without taking the name of Stephen Fleming. This Kiwi southpaw has remained constant for Chennai Super Kings over the years along with MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. After representing first season as a player for Chennai, he took up coaching reins from the next season. The Super Kings have become the winner of IPL thrice – 2010, 2011 and 2018 – under the stewardship of Stephen Fleming. Apart from tittles, they have been the runner up five times and also made playoffs on two other editions. He is second highest paid in IPL coaches 2020 salary list with Rs 3.4 Crore contract.
Brendon McCullum. The New Zealander was appointed as head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2019. The coaching stint so far with KKR has not been very successful although McCullum has found success with Trinbago Knight Riders, helping the CPL team to win their 4th title in 2020. For his services at KKR, McCullum is one of the highest paid coach in IPL, earning Rs 3.4 crores.