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Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time

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Cricket is a team game. And, like in case of all team sports, a cricket team, too, is held together by the captain. As the leader of the team, a captain has to take care of how to maintain balance in the team, be it in terms of focus or temperament. He has to know when to stay calm in the face of stress, and keep his head clear to strategies the match. The captain is the pillar of success in a team. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time, based on the highest number of wins achieved.

Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time

Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time

Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time

A good leader is not the one who gives orders and expects that everyone will follow them; a good leader must be smart and strong enough to help the other players. Captains can make or break a good game. On another hand, the captain might also face all kinds of negativity if the whole team loses a match. It is his responsibility to take all the reactions, may it be positive or negative. Here are Successful Cricket Captains.

10. Arjuna Ranatunga

highest rated cricket captains

Arjuna Ranatunga is one of the Best Cricket Captains

In the 10 place on our list of the most successful cricket captains, with most wins in the Tests, ODI and T20I, is former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga. He played for the national team from 1982 to 2000, and led the team in 249 matches between 1988 and 1999. During this time, Ranatunga helped in winning 101 matches, including the 1996 World Cup. He hit a win percentage of 40.56. He was nicknamed Captain Cool for his temperament and is credited for bringing the spotlight on Sri Lanka.

Arjuna Ranatunga Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 1989-1999 56 12 19 25 21.42%
ODI 1988-1999 193 89 95 1 48.37%
Overall 1988-1999 249 101 114 26 40.56%

9. Mahela Jayawardene

best captain of world

Mahela Jayawardene is one of the Best Captains in Cricket World

Another incredibly successful cricket captains of Sri Lanka is Mahela, who led the team between 2004 and 2013 during his international career between 1997 and 2015. During his career, he achieved a win percentage of 54.3, having led his team to gain victory 101 times in 186 matches; this win percentage puts him ahead of Ranatunga. Jayawardene helped Sri Lanka do amazingly well Cricket World Cup 2017, Cricket World Cup 2011, ICC World Twenty20 2009 and ICC World Twenty20 2012 as the captain.

Mahela Jayawardene Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 2006-2013 38 18 12 8 47.36%
ODI 2004-2013 129 71 49 1 59.09%
Overall 2004-2013 186 101 67 10 54.30%

8. Mohammad Azharuddin

world best captain in cricket history

Mohammad Azharuddin is one of the Best Captains in Cricket History

A cricketer riddled in many controversies, both on and off the field, former Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin’s success cannot be taken away from him, despite his lifelong BCCI ban. He is one of the most successful cricket captains, based on the number of victories, having won 104 out of 221 matches during his captaincy from 1990 to 1999. He represented India from 1984 to 2000. The victories helped him achieve a win percentage of 47.05 as the captain of the Indian team.

Mohammad Azharuddin Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 1990-1999 47 14 14 19 29.78%
ODI 1990-1999 174 90 76 2 54.16%
Overall 1990-1999 221 104 90 21 47.05%

7. Steve Waugh

best captain in cricket history

Steve Waugh has one of the Best Captaincy Records in Cricket

Aussie legend Steve Waugh played for his nation from 1985 to 2004, and is an ICC Cricket Hall of Fame player. He played as the captain for his team between 1997 and 2004. During this time, Sri Lanka played 163 matches under his captaincy, and won in 108 of them, including World Cup 1999. Waugh thus hit an incredible win rate of 66.25 percent, making him, quite rightfully, one of the best captains in the world, including Test, One Day International and Twenty-20 International cricket.

Steve Waugh Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 1999-2004 57 41 9 7 71.92%
ODI 1997-2002 106 67 35 3 65.23%
Overall 1997-2004 163 108 44 10 66.25%

6. Hansie Cronje

most winning captain in world

Hansie Cronje is one of the Best Cricket Captains of All Time

The former leader of the Proteas, Hansie Cronje, might have been banned for life from the world of cricket because of match-fixing scandals, but he was posthumously voted as 11th greatest South African, two years after he died in a plane crash in 2002. He started playing in 1992, becoming the captain of the South African team in 1997, and ending his tenure as the captain with his cricketing career in 2000. During this time, he achieved a win percentage of 65.96, winning 126 out of 191 matches.

Hansie Cronje Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 1994-2000 53 27 11 15 50.94%
ODI 1994-2000 138 99 35 1 73.70%
Overall 1994-2000 191 126 46 16 65.96%

5. Stephen Fleming

highest winning captain

Stephen Fleming has one of the Best Captaincy Records

Former cricketer Stephen Fleming is a celebrated player and a noteworthy captain of New Zealand national team. He represented his national side from 1994 to 2009. Fleming was the winning captain of ICC KnockOut Trophy 2000, the only ICC trophy of the country till date. He was also the first captain for his country in the world’s historic first Twenty20 International. Between 1997 and 2007, he led his team to win 128 out of 303 matches, with a win rate of 42.24. He made a miraculous captaincy stats not only just for his nation but also among the whole world.

Stephen Fleming Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 1997-2006 80 28 27 25 35.00%
ODI 1997-2007 218 98 106 1 48.04%
Overall 1997-2007 303 128 135 26 42.24%

4. Allan Border

most successful cricket captain of all time

Allan Border is widely regarded as one of the Greatest Cricket Captains

Baggy Greens legend Allan Border started playing for Australia in 1978 and received captaincy of the team in 1984. The role he played till the end of his career in 1994, when he retired as his country’s most capped player. He also retired as the highest run-scorer in both ODI and Test at that time. During his tenure as the captain, this sports legend helped his team amass 139 victories in 271 matches, reaching a win percentage of 51.29. One of the best left-handed batsmen of all time, Captain Grumpy, has appeared in the second highest number of test matches as the captain.

Allan Border Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 1984-1994 93 32 22 38 34.40%
ODI 1985-1994 178 107 67 1 61.42%
Overall 1984-1994 271 139 89 39 51.29%

3. Graeme Smith

most successful captain in cricket history

Graeme Smith is one of the Greatest Captains in Cricket History

The left-handed batsman and occasional off-break bowler Graeme Smith is a former cricketer of South Africa. He represented the team in all formats of cricket, between 2002 and 2014, and received the captaincy a year into his career, performing the responsibility till the end of it. Under his leadership, South Africa played 286 matches and won in 163 of them. With his national squad, he had a win percentage of 56.99, making him one of the noted captains of his country. Without any doubt, Smith is one of the most successful captains in the world, based on the number of wins.

Graeme Smith Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 2003-2014 109 53 29 27 48.62%
ODI 2003-2011 150 92 51 1 64.23%
Overall 2003-2014 286 163 89 28 56.99%

2. MS Dhoni

most successful captain in all format of cricket

MS Dhoni is one of the Best Captains of the Indian Cricket History

Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined the Indian team in 2004, and although he has resigned from Test cricket recently, he is still going strong in the rest of the formats. He captained the team in all formats from 2007 to 2016, and led the team in a composed way. Leading the team in 331 games, he tops the list of captains with most matches. One of the greatest wicketkeeper-batsmen, Dhoni, helped India win 178 of them during his tenure. His achievements include World Twenty20 2007, Asia Cup 2010, World Cup 2011 and Champions Trophy 2013. He led the Indian team with a winning rate of 53.77 during his time.

MS Dhoni Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 2008-2014 60 27 18 15 45.00%
ODI 2007-2016 199 110 74 4 59.57%
Overall 2007-2016 331 178 120 19 53.77%

1. Ricky Ponting

world best cricket captain

Ricky Ponting is the best cricket captain of all time

Leading the list of the most successful captains with the highest number of wins is former cricketer Ricky Ponting, who represented Australia from 1995 to 2012. One of the greatest cricketers of all time, Ponting, served as the captain from 2002 to 2012. During his tenure as the captain, he led Australia to a massive 220 victories. His career success includes two World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007. He hit an incredible win rate of 67.90. The period of his captaincy is regarded as the golden era for the Australia national cricket team.

Ricky Ponting Captaincy Record:

Format Captaincy Span Matches Wins Lost Draws Winning Percentage
Test 2004-2010 77 48 16 13 62.33%
ODI 2002-2012 230 165 51 2 76.14%
Overall 2002-2012 324 220 77 15 67.90%

Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time | Special Mentions

It is to be remembered that we have named the most successful captains based on the number of wins they have led their teams to. The number of matches they played in obviously has a huge part to play in it. There was a time when Test matches were not that frequent. The ODIs came much later. And T20I was completely out of the picture. The captains of that era built great teams and led confidently. Captains like Richie Benaud (Australia, 1958-1964), Gary Sobers (West Indies, 1965-1972), etc. had a class of their own.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (India, 1962-1971/1974-1975) may have captained and won in a small number of matches, but he is still regarded as the greatest captain of the country, a title some fans want to give to Sourav Ganguly (India, 1999-2005) who built a powerful, confident, and go-getter team. Yesteryear captains like Clive Lloyd (West Indies, 1974-1985), Mike Brearley (England, 1977-1981) played matches that no one can forget.

Who among the above Successful Cricket Captains are your favourite captains? Or, do you want to see some other names on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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