Rajasthan Royals has had a roller coaster ride in the Indian Premier League so far. Starting with the title-winning Shane Warne in 2008 and standing currently with Sanju Samson, the captaincy baton at the Royals has passed through many able hands. Incidentally, only Australians and Indians have led the Royals in the IPL. Here's the full Rajasthan Royals captain list.

Shane Warne

Shane Warne, Rajasthan Royals’ first captain, laid the blueprint for what would turn out to be the team’s vision when he led a bunch of young, promising and inexperienced domestic players to capture ultimate glory by winning the inaugural IPL.

Rajasthan Royals went with Shane Warne as captain in IPL 2008, for his experience at the international level, though he was never a regular captain for Australia. Retired from international cricket, Warne channelled all his energy into the IPL and produced match-winners out of young cricketers at will.

Ravindra Jadeja, Sohail Tanvir, Ajinkya Rahane and Naman Ojha all bloomed under his tutelage to become better cricketers for their country and states. Warne remained captain of the Royals from 2009 to 2011 and left his legacy with the team.

In four seasons, he captained the side for 56 games, winning 31 of them and continues to be on top of the list for most wins as captain along with current skipper Sanju Samson.

Rahul Dravid

Taking over the reins from Shane Warne and carrying forward Rajasthan Royals’ culture was a challenge in itself. But Rahul Dravid, with his experience and leadership tenure with the Indian cricket team was the best fit. Rahul Dravid was Rajasthan Royals’ oldest captain when he took over the reins at the age of 39 in IPL 2012.

Having spent an entire season under Warne’s captaincy, Dravid was able to take the team forward in the same direction, with an emphasis on creating a supportive environment for youngsters to prosper in the IPL.

Dravid finished his first season as captain of Rajasthan Royals in seventh place in IPL 2012. The team finished third in 2013 but lost out to Mumbai Indians for a place in the final. 

The Royals continued their good run in IPL 2013 into the Champions League tournament later that year, when Rahul Dravid led them to the final, again falling short to Mumbai Indians in the final hurdle.

Rahul Dravid has the best record among Rajasthan Royals’ captains when it comes to win percentage. He has won 23 out of his 40 matches as skipper with a win percentage of 57.50.

Shane Watson

Shane Watson led Rajasthan Royals from IPL 2014 once Rahul Dravid retired. “We feel like one big family, and that’s as simple it is,” Watson described his team in his first year as skipper. “From our owners, management, all the down to our players as well, everyone feels like we are there to look after everyone just like we are a family. It means we are trying to create a successful environment for one another.” Watson captained the Royals for two seasons, covering 21 matches and made the play-offs in IPL 2015.

Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane was announced as Rajasthan Royals captain for IPL 2018. The Mumbaikar did well in his first season as skipper to help Rajasthan Royals finish fourth, but lost in the play-offs to Kolkata Knight Riders. While his stint at the helm had its challenges, the team continued to recognise his efforts. In IPL 2018, the Royals won four of their last five matches to make the playoffs. “Ajinkya is and will always be a true Royal,” Aussie batter Steve Smith said. “He led the team to the playoffs in 2018 in a very challenging scenario and that will go down as one of the great comebacks of the IPL.”

Steve Smith

Steve Smith filled in as captain of Rajasthan, first for Shane Watson in seasons 2014 and 2015 before replacing Rahane midway through IPL 2019. His first full season as captain for the Royals was in 2020. He could captain Rajasthan only for 27 games and won 15 of them and is second only to Rahul Dravid in terms of win percentage.

Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson was the youngest in the list of illustrious names to lead Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, at 26. He took over the mantle from Steve Smith in 2021.

In IPL 2022, Sanju was able to steer Rajasthan Royals to their first final since 2008. The team finished second in the table with nine wins out of 14, but fell short in the summit clash against Gujarat Titans. In 2023, the Royals finished fifth in the table under Sanju, missing qualification to the knock-outs by a whisker.

The Royals reached their second playoffs under Samson in IPL 2024, finishing third in the points table with 17 points. Though, they beat Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Eliminator, they fell short to Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 of IPL 2024.

Sanju has led the Royals in 61 matches, winning 31 and losing 29. In IPL 2024, he went past Shane Warne's record of leading the Rajasthan Royals in the most number of matches. Samson is also the only Royals captain to have led the team into two playoffs in IPL.

Rajasthan Royals captain list

Captain Matches Won Lost Tied NR Win%
Shane Warne 56 31 24 1 0 55.35
Shane Watson 21 7 11 2 1 33.33
Rahul Dravid 40 23 17 0 0 57.50
Steve Smith 27 15 11 0 1 55.55
Ajinkya Rahane 24 9 15 0 0 37.50
Sanju Samson 61 31 29 0 1 50.81