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Who captained India in their first ever T20I?

Former Indian opening batter Virender Sehwag holds the distinguished achievement of having captained Team India in their very first T20I match in history against South Africa on 1st December, 2006.

The current generation of the Indian cricket team is blessed to have several iconic stars who are the defining players of their generation. Several of these players starting from Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni to Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have also captained Team India in the T20 format.

MS Dhoni ended up making history when he led India to their first-ever T20 World Cup on the very first occasion in South Africa in 2007. That win and the emergence of the Indian Premier League only ushered in a younger and more talented crop of players and continues to churn out global stars for the Men in Blue on a regular basis.

However, you will be surprised to know that Dhoni, the most successful captain in Indian cricket history was not in charge of the team during their first-ever T20I match in history. Instead, swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag was the first to lead India in this new format of international cricket.

India’s captain in their first-ever T20I match in history: Virender Sehwag

Team India played their very first T20 International against South Africa on 1st December, 2006. The situation was quite different in 2006 as Mahendra Singh Dhoni was yet to become a part of the leadership group of Team India and was still considered as a youngster given that he had made his international debut barely three years ago.

In the absence of senior players and leaders like Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly who weren’t keen on playing T20I cricket late in their careers and instead focused on the longer formats, India had to pick a new captain for this fixture in an entirely new format.

Ultimately, the team management decided to make Virender Sehwag the first Indian captain in T20 international cricket as he was asked to lead against South Africa. It proved to be the only game as T20I captain of the national side for Sehwag.

India’s first ever T20I match against South Africa, 1 December 2006

The only T20I of India’s tour of South Africa was held at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Winning the toss, South Africa captain Graeme Smith opted to bat first. The Proteas top-order crumbled early on as India continued to pick up regular wickets.

Justin Kemp, Albie Morkel, and Johan van der Wath proved to be the only contributors with the bat for South Africa in the middle-order but even they couldn’t rescue the match situation as the host could barely post a total of 126/9 in their 20 overs. Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar were fabulous with the ball, picking four wickets between them at economy rates of 3.75 and 4.00 respectively.

Despite losing batting great Sachin Tendulkar for just 10 runs, the run-chase was led by captain Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Mongia who scored 34 and 38 respectively. MS Dhoni was also bowled out for a duck and it was Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 31 off 28 that not only made sure India won the game with six wickets in hand, but also resulted in him winning the man of the match award.

Funnily, Dinesh Karthik is the only player from India’s first playing XI in T20 Internationals who is still active and playing for the national side in this format. Thus, Sehwag’s captaincy debut in the shortest format of the sport for the first time proved to be quite a memorable adventure.

List of India’s T20I captains

No.PlayerFirst MatchLast MatchMatchesWonWin %LostTied
1Virender Sehwag01/12/200601/12/200611100.00%00
2MS Dhoni13/09/200728/08/2016724258.33%280
3Suresh Raina12/06/201004/06/201133100.00%00
4Ajinkya Rahane17/07/201519/07/20152150.00%10
5Virat Kohli26/01/201708/11/2021503264.00%160
6Rohit Sharma20/12/201726/09/2022423378.57%90
7Shikhar Dhawan25/07/202129/07/20213133.33%20
8Rishabh Pant09/06/202219/06/20224250.00%20
9Hardik Pandya26/06/202207/08/202233100.00%00

So far, nine players have had the distinction of captaining Team India in the T20 format of the sport with Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya becoming the latest players to make their captaincy debut for India in 2022.

MS Dhoni obviously holds the record for taking charge of the side in the most number of matches. India played 72 matches during his captaincy career between 2007 and 2016. They won the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 and also qualified for the final of the World Cup in 2014, falling short to champions Sri Lanka.

Virat Kohli has also led Team India in 50 matches before announcing his decision to step down as T20I captain ahead of the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE. Current India captain Rohit Sharma holds the highest winning percentage of 78.57% and has led the team to 33 victories in 42 matches.

FAQs

Who was the first captain of the Indian Test team?

CK Nayudu holds the distinction of being the first Indian Test captain after leading the side in their first Test match against England in June, 1932.

When did MS Dhoni make his T20I debut for Team India?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his T20I debut for Team India in the very-first T20I in the country’s history on 1st December, 2006.

Against which team did the Indian team play its first ever T20I?

India played their first T20I against South Africa. The match was held at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on 1st December, 2006.

Who is the youngest player to captain India in T20Is?

Suresh Raina was 23 years and 197 days old when he captained India for the first time in T20Is and he holds the record of being the youngest to captain India in this format.

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