Every captain of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL: List of all KKR skippers

A comprehensive list of every captain of Kolkata Knight Riders until Shreyas Iyer, the latest of the KKR skippers.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is one of the most successful teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They did not have the best of outings from 2008 to 2010. But once Gautam Gambhir took charge in 2011, they started building a reputation for themselves. In 2012, KKR won their maiden IPL title after beating the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Then in 2014, KKR won the title for the second time after getting the better of Kings XI Punjab, now Punjab Kings, in the final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. After Gambhir bid goodbye to the franchise following the 2017 edition of the T20 league, the Knights have struggled to some extent, but the team remains a force to be reckoned with in the IPL.

Leading wicket taker for each IPL team

Every captain of Kolkata Knight Riders – List of all KKR skippers  

PlayerSpan
Sourav Ganguly2008-10
Brendon McCullum2009
Gautam Gambhir2011-2017
Jacques Kallis2011
Dinesh Karthik2018-20
Eoin Morgan2020-21
Shreyas Iyer2022-24
Nitish Rana2023

Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly was the first-ever captain of the Knight Riders in the IPL. He led the team in the epic game where KKR beat RCB on the back of Brendon McCullum’s stupendous knock in Bengaluru. But under his leadership, the Men in Gold and Purple struggled to find their feet in all 3 seasons.

In 2011, Ganguly, who captained India in the 2003 World Cup, moved to Pune Warriors after being named as a replacement for left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra. In 27 matches, Ganguly led KKR to wins in 13 matches. The Knights lost 14 matches in his tenure.

Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum was an integral part of KKR’s batting unit earlier. However, as a captain, he had his fair share of troubles. In 13 matches as the skipper of the Knight Riders, KKR won only 3 and lost 9 games. One of the games against Rajasthan Royals (RR) ended in a tie.

2009 was a forgettable season for KKR as they finished at the bottom of the table. They went on an 8-match losing streak and looked completely out of sorts.

Gautam Gambhir

In 2011, KKR shelled out USD 2.4 million (INR 11.04 crore approximately) and that turned out their fortunes for the better. That was the first season when the Knights made their way through to the playoffs after finishing fourth in the points table. Although they lost to Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Eliminator, Gambhir had started his process of making KKR a brute force.

From 2011 to 2017, Gambhir captained the Knights in the best possible manner. In 2018, Gambhir made a move to the Delhi Daredevils, a franchise that he represented in the first half of his IPL career. Gambhir captained KKR in 122 matches. Out of them, the Knights won 69 times while they ended on the losing side 51 times. In 2024, Gambhir returned to KKR as their mentor.

Jacques Kallis

Jacques Kallis captained the Knight Riders in 2 matches in 2011. Under his leadership, the Knights won 1 game and lost 1. Kallis played his role as an all-rounder with precision while donning the KKR jersey. In 70 matches for the Men in Gold and Purple, Kallis scored 1603 runs at an average of 28.12 and a strike-rate of 108.31 with 10 fifties and a top score of 80 not out to his name.

He is currently sixth in the list of leading run-scorers for the Knights. Kallis also accounted for 48 scalps for the Knight Riders at an economy rate of 7.58. Apart from KKR, he also plied his trade for the Bengaluru team in the IPL.

Dinesh Karthik

After Gautam Gambhir left, Dinesh Karthik took charge as the skipper of the Knight Riders. He was decent in the first season as KKR made their way through to the playoffs. They defeated the Royals in the Eliminator, but got knocked out of the competition after losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Qualifier 2.

But from there on, Karthik struggled to make a mark as the captain of the 2-time champions. KKR failed to make their way through to the playoffs in 2019. Midway through the 2020 edition of the T20 league, Karthik stepped down as their skipper. Under Karthik, KKR played 37 matches and won 19 while losing 17. One match ended in a tie.

Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan took charge of the Knights midway through the 2020 edition of the tournament. KKR could not make it through to the playoffs after finishing fifth that season. In 2021, during the India leg of the IPL, Morgan struggled to guide the Knights effectively.

But once the IPL was shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morgan kept growing in stature. KKR eventually finished as the runners-up after losing to the Super Kings in the final. Under Morgan, the Knight Riders won 11 matches while they lost 12. One match ended in a tie.

KKR skippers: Every captain of Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Shreyas Iyer

After the 2021 season, the Delhi Capitals released Shreyas Iyer, who then joined the Knight Riders, who shelled out INR 12.25 crore for the talented batter. However, he failed to take the Knights to the playoffs that season. Iyer did not take part in the 2023 IPL after he sustained a back injury that ruled him out of the tournament. However, he returned as the KKR skipper in IPL 2024.

Players with most ducks in IPL

Nitish Rana

After Shreyas missed IPL 2024, KKR had to scratch their heads about who should lead them. In the end, they went for Nitish Rana, who has been a key part of the Knight Riders setup since IPL 2018. Rana could not live up to expectations after KKR fell short of a berth in the playoffs.

The Knights finished seventh in the table with 12 points and a net run rate of -0.239. Under his captaincy, KKR won 6 out of 14 matches. Although he failed as captain, Rana is an important part of the Knights batting lineup.