Star Sports Cricket Connected: MS Dhoni - the ultimate IPL captain
Star Sports Cricket Connected: MS Dhoni - the ultimate IPL captain

On the 12th anniversary of the first game in IPL history, MS Dhoni was named *the GOAT among captains by a panel of experts on Star Sports Cricket Connected.

Dhoni, who has has captained Chennai Super Kings to three titles, pipped Rohit Sharma, who has led Mumbai Indians to a record four titles. Under Dhoni's leadership, Super Kings have made it to knockouts every time in the ten seasons they've been part of the IPL.

On the batting front, Royal Challengers Bangalore's AB de Villiers was the winner, having been picked ahead of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle and Sunrisers Hyderabad's David Warner. In all, de Villiers has scored 4395 runs in the league at an average of nearly 40 and a strike rate of 151.23.

Among the bowlers, Mumbai Indians' spearhead Lasith Malinga, the leading wicket-taker in the IPL, was declared as the GOAT ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders' frontline spinner Sunil Narine who like Malinga can bowl at different phases in a T20 game, including at the death. Malinga, though, has been particularly exceptional in finals. In 2013, he took down both Mike Hussey and Suresh Raina with the new ball and more recently in 2019, he defended eight off the last over to deny the Super Kings once again.

Meanwhile, Shane Watson, who has helped both Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings to title victories, was selected as the GOAT among allrounders ahead of the likes of Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo. Watson doesn't bowl much these days, having suffered multiple injuries, but he still stands as the second-highest wicket-taker for Royals.

Ten years after being named Player of the tournament in the inaugural IPL, Watson marked Super Kings' return from suspension with a match-winning century in the final. Then, in the 2019 final, he nearly carried Super Kings to another title, despite a bloodied knee.

Stephen Fleming, Watson's coach at Super Kings, was the winner on the coaching front, having guided the franchise to the knockouts in the eight seasons he has been in charge of the side. Fleming had also coached the Rising Pune Supergiant to the final in 2017. Fleming got the nod ahead of Mahela Jayawardene and Trevor Bayliss who have won two titles each with Mumbai and Knight Riders respectively.

Kevin Pietersen, Danny Morrison, Ashish Nehra, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan and Sanjay Bangar were part of the jury that picked the winners.

4.45pm GMT: *The story had initially stated that Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni were declared joint GOATs among captains. This has been corrected