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Indian Premier League 2023

IPL 2023: Why is Sam Curran leading Punjab Kings in place of regular captain Shikhar Dhawan?

Captains – KL Rahul (LSG), Sam Curran (PBKS)
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Sam Curran walked out to the toss instead of regular Punjab Kings captain Shikhar Dhawan for tonight’s (April 15) match against the Lucknow Super Giants, among the favourites for the competition in the IPL betting.

The spectators at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow were in for a surprise when Curran walked out to toss up with home captain KL Rahul. In his first match as IPL captain, Curran won the toss and opted to bowl.

Punjab had to be without their captain Dhawan, who had picked up a shoulder injury. It is a major blow for Punjab, for Dhawan (233 runs) is the current holder of the Orange Cap, while his strike rate of 147 is his best in a single season at the IPL.


Punjab also left out Prabhsimran Singh (though they may use him as Impact Player when they bat). They brought in Atharva Taide and Harpreet Singh Bhatia, none of whom have played in IPL 2023.

Lucknow, on the other hand, handed out Hyderabad seamer Yudhvir Singh Charak a maiden IPL cap. They dropped instead of Jaydev Unadkat from the XI, but included him in the squad of 15.

Curran has never led a side in professional cricket (though he did captain the Surrey Second XI against Surrey, back in 2016). In junior cricket, he has led Surrey Under-17s and Wellington College, according to Sunday Times cricket correspondent Simon Wilde.

However, at this season’s auction, Punjab did fight hard to acquire him for INR 18.25 crore, which made him the most expensive cricketer in IPL history. They are keen on investing in him as a long-term prospect.

With six points in four matches and a net run rate of +1.048, Lucknow are at second place in the table, while Punjab, sixth, have four points from as many matches and a net run rate of -0.226.

To bet on the IPL with our Match Centre partners bet365, head here.

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