Considering that the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starts in less than a month now, what is it that is stopping the Royal Challengers franchise from announcing their leader and what are the possible options? Even though multiple reports suggest that Faf du Plessis will be captaining the side full time, there are many experts who believe that Glenn Maxwell or perhaps Dinesh Kartik could also be decent replacements for Virat Kohli.
One thing that all these candidates have in common is their experience, the amount of maturity and experience they bring to the side is enormous, in fact this is what may be the problem! Kartik is 36 years of age and Faf is 37, it won’t be practical for someone who will give you just about 2 years of cricket at maximum to be leading the side, while Faf has retired from tests and hasn’t being playing for the Proteas even in white ball cricket lately, Kartik was last seen wearing blue way back in 2019.
With all these facts, RCB would tilt towards Glenn Maxwell, a major plus point being that he has spent one year in red already and is comfortable enough with them, while the management trusts him completely. Wait on, there are negative points to it as well, it surely is true that Maxi was in "red" hot form last season, then why would you want to put him under all that extra burden by giving him the skipper's cap. Precisely what RCB must be thinking. Especially the way Maxwell performed in BBL and his cameos in international bilateral cricket lately have been phenomenal, he would look to continue the streak of runs now. Although, there is an even deeper issue, Cricket Australia (CA) has issued NOCs for the Australian stars to participate in the IPL only from the 6th of April, about 10 days from after the start of the tournament. So, even if RCB wanted Maxwell to lead the team this year, it might not be possible as he will only be available after the first few games.
Three very possible and probably the only options have been discussed, they all have captaincy records and skills without a doubt, but yet none of them has fulfilled all criteria for replacing someone as good as Kohli, surely tough shoes to fit into right away!
Let's throw some light on possible reasons for the delay now. There are two very likely reasons for this massive delay in the franchise announcing a skipper. One could be that they’re trying to convince the BCCI to contact Cricket Australia and issue an NOC from the start of IPL itself, if this works then we could see Maxwell stepping out as a captain this season, if not, then a possibility arises that either Faf du Plessis could step in for a few games and hand it over to Maxwell after he is available, or the more practical situation where Faf leads the team full time. Secondly, it's possible that RCB wants to go in with their trusted man in Virat Kohli! Reports from earlier February did suggest that the management was keen on having him back as the captain, after him stepping down as Test Captain of team India, it might not be that much of a burden for him after all, and who better then the man himself. Here, it's possible that the franchise is trying to convince Kohli to take up the captaincy again, and this could be the reason for the delay.
How about a bonus prediction, we might be seeing an announcement soon of Glenn Maxwell being announced as captain, but he still might not be available for the first two games, in that case, it is highly possible that the franchise doesn't go towards Faf du Plessis and let him focus on his batting. So, they might ask Kohli to do them a favour and lead them for the first couple of games, enlightening the mood of his fans too! Even though it doesn’t look as if that’ll happen, it still is a possibility.
Coming to a conclusion and based on reports, we can say that chances for Dinesh Kartik being the captain are extremely low, even lower then that of Kohli returning as captain. As far as Kohli is concerned, we have listed possible scenarios above wherein he might just take up the captaincy again, but that too, especially for the full season doesn’t seem possible, given he is a man of his words and will probably not reverse his decision. Next up the RCB management is again left with the only two possible options, Glenn Maxwell and Faf du Plessis, there are multiple factors which go against Maxwell donning the captaincy hat in this case, first being his unavailability for the initial games and secondly his 'rare' hot form in the IPL. Hence, Faf du Plessis is the only probable option for RCB at this stage, even despite his age, they might not focus too much on that. He is definitely a proven consistent performer in the IPL, being one of the most experienced campaigners in red and gold this season, the franchise is likely to trust and rely on him for the added role.