Cricket is a game in which captain’s decisions are essential for the team. Each cricket team has eleven players, including batters, bowlers, and all-rounders, but the captain’s role is undisputed. A Successful team has a successful captain who takes critical decisions at any time of the game.
Any Successful cricket captain’s job began right at the start of the game when he had to decide whether to bat or bowl after the outcome of the toss. He makes this decision after reading the pitch, whether it is batting and bowling friendly. Then, he consults with his team management to select the playing XI according to pitch. How many bowlers and batters should play in the team is an important decision that a successful captain takes right before the match.
Similarly, during the match, he takes important decisions regarding setting the field according to the situation of the game. As we all know, there are numerous variations in a cricket match, including powerplay. Therefore, a successful captain decides the fielding plan according to these variations and overs.
Aside from decisions made on the field, he makes many decisions in discussion with team management. Before the match, his team management decides on a big strategic plan to win the game. A successful captain always listens to his team management and players. His on-field decisions play an important role in winning or losing a match.
Most cricket fans judge a captain’s success based on his number of victories and win percentage. Some fans follow the view that a number of wins play an important role in knowing a successful captain. While some have a view that win percentage plays an important role in knowing the most successful captain. Don’t worry; we will explore both of these metrics to know who was the most successful captain in cricket history. Now, we will have a look at the list of the top 10 most successful captains across all formats of cricket.
Top 10 Best Cricket Captains – Overall
Ricky Poting – 67 Winning Percentage
Australian cricket reached its cornerstones between 2002 and 2012, and a skipper like Ricky Ponting deserves credit for those achievements. He played an important role in making the Australian cricket team one of the best cricket teams of that era. His dedication, competitiveness, and leadership qualities allowed the Australian team to achieve the highest ranking in all formats of the game.
Ricky Ponting has the highest win percentage of any captain in cricket history (67%) across all formats. He has the most number of wins 220 out of 324 matches in all formats of the game. Furthermore, he has the highest win-loss ratio of 2.85, the highest among all cricket captains.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Ricky Ponting|
|Highest Win %||67|
|Most Number of Wins||220|
|Matches Played as Captain||324|
|Highest Win-Loss Ratio||2.85|
He is not only in bilateral series but also has a solid captaincy record in ODI World Cup. He captained Australia in 2003, 2007, and 2011 World Cups. Under his captaincy, Australia won 26 world cup matches out of 29 with an outstanding win rate of 89. No other captain in history comes close to Ricky Ponting’s world cup stats.
Read More: Most successful captain in ODI
MS Dhoni – 53 Winning Percentage
MS Dhoni was the man who took Indian cricket from nothingness to popularity. He will be recalled for his positive contributions to Indian cricket. India attained the top spot in test cricket under MS Dhoni captaincy for the first time.
MS Dhoni won 178 out of 332 matches with a win rate of 53 across all game formats and became most successful captain in India. Regarding the number of wins, he ranked at number 02 after Ricky Ponting.
MS Dhoni’s most achievement as a captain came in 2011 when India won the ODI World Cup for the first time in 28 years.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||MS Dhoni|
|Matches Played as Captain||332|
MS Dhoni was not only a leader but also a devoted individual. He developed a lot of players throughout his time as captain. He continued Sourav Ganguly’s legacy and produced numerous legendary players. Virat Kohli was one of them who later became India’s most successful test captain.
MS Dhoni led India in the 2011 and 2015 ODI World Cup. He captained India in 34 World Cup matches, winning 16 and losing 16. His win percentage in World Cup matches is 50.
Stephen Fleming – 42 Winning Percentage
Stephen Fleming is one of the most uncontroversial captains in cricket history. He took the New Zealand team to new heights in test and ODI cricket. In all formats, he won 128 out of 303 matches with a win percentage of 42.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Stephen Fleming|
|Matches Played as Captain||303|
Stephan was not only a good captain but also one of the best left-hand batters of cricket. He assisted his team in chasing and winning the majority of ODI matches. He left such an impression that other New Zealand captains, such as Kane Williamson, followed in his footsteps.
Stephen Fleming was a very passionate captain of his era. His commitment and understanding of the game have never been in doubt. This makes him one of the best captains in cricket history.
His bilateral series record will tell us about the best era of New Zealand cricket. He was very successful in the ODI world cup and trophies. Now, we will look at his ODI World Cup stats as follows.
Stephen Fleming’s win percentage of 59 shows that he was among the most successful ODI World Cup captains. He jointly holds the record with MS Dhoni in terms of winning the most world cup matches. He won 16 out of 27 World Cup matches.
Graeme Smith – 46 Winning Percentage
What a leader, what a man, Graeme Smith was full of cricket spirit. At a time when South Africa was in crisis, Smith made his way up the ladder to take charge of the situation. He was assigned captain in his teenage and proved his worth by guiding South Africa to the top of the cricketing world.
He received a lot of negative comments for his big ICC Tournaments captaincy performance. However, he never choked in world cup cricket, but instead, the rest of the team. Regardless of the criticism he received, we cannot deny that he was one of the best test cricket captains in history.
In all formats, he won 163 out of 286 matches and ranked at the number 03 position after MS Dhoni and Ricky Ponting. His win percentage in all formats of cricket is 56, while his loss percentage is 31.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Graeme Smith|
|Matches Played as Captain||286|
In terms of win percentage, he is second best South African captain after WJ Cronje.
After all, we can’t overlook his strategic and field placement abilities during the game. When batting first and chasing the target, he frequently made a contribution to South Africa’s victory. This is the reason he is still acknowledged as South Africa’s best captain of this century.
Now, we will look at his World Cup Stats when he led the South African team.
Allan Border – 56 Winning Percentage
Before Ricky Ponting, there was Steve Waugh, and before Steve Waugh, there was Allan Border. He was the one who really made an impact on Australian cricket history. Prior to Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, he was Australia’s most successful captain.
Allan Border managed his captaincy through his batting. He was an aggressive batter who helped Australia to win several matches as captain.
In all formats, he won 139 out of 271 matches with a win percentage of 51. One of the best things about his captaincy record is his loss percentage which is only 32. This is one of the lowest loss percentages among the greatest cricket captains.
He was a very successful Ashes captain, winning 03 out of the 05 Ashes series played in his era. His success was the main reason he was given a lot of Australian sports awards of his time.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Allan Border|
|Matches Played as Captain||271|
Australia won the 1987 World Cup under his leadership. This was the first-ever ODI World Cup win for Australian cricket, and all credit goes to Allan Border for his leadership role. Now, We will see how Australia played under his leadership in World Cup matches.
His stats show that he was one of the best World Cup captains before 2000. His win percentage in World Cup was 68 which was the highest at that time.
Arjuna Ranatunga – 40 Winning Percentage
The 1996 World Cup hero, a captain who contributed to the growth of cricket in Sri Lanka. From 1988 to 1999, he led Sri Lanka and helped the country set numerous records. He transformed the Sri Lanka team from a hopeless, frequently beaten team into a competitive, productive unit.
One of the worst weaknesses of the Sri Lankan team was his batting, and scoring high runs was a real challenge. But Arjuna transformed his struggling side into one of the best-scoring teams of his era. The most famous chase he led his team on was a total of 313 runs chased against Zimbabwe in the 1992 ODI World Cup.
In all formats, Arjuna won 101 matches out of 249 matches. His win percentage was 40, and his loss percentage was 45. Although he could not achieve the highest win percentage, his impact was greater than his percentage.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Arjuna Ranatunga|
|Matches Played as Captain||249|
His World Cup stats as captain show he was one of the best captains of his era. He won the 1996 ODI World Cup for his team and was the key performer of his team in this World Cup.
He won 08 out of 11 World Cup matches in his era with a win percentage of 72.
Whether or not Arjuna was successful, one thing is certain: he was one of the best captains cricket has ever produced.
Virat Kohli – 63 Winning Percentage
India has had many successful captains, but Virat Kohli is the one who took Indian cricket to a higher level. India had a lot of success during his captaincy, and one of the main reasons was his leadership from the front. He led from the front and had a lot of success during this time period.
Read More: Virat Kohli Captaincy in ODI
In all formats, he won 135 out of 213 total matches played. His win percentage of 63 is one of the best among successful Indian captains. His lost percentage is 28, which is the lowest among the successful captains.
Team India achieved test ranking number one for the longest period of time under his leadership.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Virat Kohli|
|Matches Played as Captain||213|
Apart from his best performance as a captain in test cricket, he was also one of the best captains in Asian history. His number of wins is the highest among Asian test captains. Now, we will look at his World Cup stats.
Read More: Virat Kohli captaincy record in test
Virat Kohli led team India in 09 ODI matches, winning 07 out of 09 matches. His win percentage was 77 in World Cup. Despite having a very successful captaincy record in test cricket, he was very unlucky to win any ODI world cup for India.
Read More: Virat Kohli captaincy record in t20
Steve Waugh – 66 Winning Percentage
Following the departure of Allan Border, Australia sought another captain with strong leadership potential. Steve Waugh was the man who best carried on Allan Border’s legacy. Under his captaincy, Australia performed very consistently, especially against tough opposition.
In all game formats, he won 108 out of 163 matches. His win percentage was 66, while the loss percentage was 26.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Steve Waugh|
|Matches Played as Captain||163|
Steve Waugh won the 1999 ODI World Cup for Australia. This was the second ODI World Cup win after 1987 under Allan Border’s leadership.
In the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Australia won 07 out of a total of 10 matches played under the captaincy of Steve Waugh. Despite losing three matches, Australia still won the World Cup trophy. Steve Waugh was the captain who was the icon performer for Australia in the 1999 World Cup.
Brian Lara – 40 Winning Percentage
Most cricket fans are familiar with Brian Lara’s greatest batting ability. However, his ability as a captain cannot be overlooked. In fact, he was one of cricket’s greatest captains. He took West Indian cricket to new heights that were missing since the Sir Viv Richards era.
In all formats of the game, he won 69 out of 172 matches with a win percentage of 40. His loss percentage as a captain was recorded as 49.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Brian Lara|
|Matches Played as Captain||172|
Brian Lara led the West Indian team in the 1999 and 2007 World Cups. He could not win any World Cup title for his team as a captain. But his overall World Cup stats are as follows;
Brian Lara was the last well-known West Indian cricket icon. He was a true legend of cricket with the bat and as a captain. He still has a massive fan following all around the world. Due to this superb cricket career, he has given received various cricket awards from all across the world.
Imran Khan – 47 Winning Percentage
Imran Khan was a great captain during his time. He was an aggressive captain of his time who preferred to attack with force. Even after retiring from cricket, he remains one of the world’s most famous people. One of the biggest reasons for his fame was winning the 1992 ODI cricket World Cup for Pakistan. This was the first-ever World Cup for Pakistan. It propelled Pakistani cricket to unprecedented levels, which only a few captains were able to enjoy.
He won 89 matches out of 87 across all formats of the game. Khan had a win percentage of 47 in all formats and a loss percentage of 35.
|All Formats Captaincy Records||Imran Khan|
|Matches Played as Captain||187|
Out of the 22 World Cup games Imran captained for Pakistan, 14 were wins. He led Pakistan in the 1983, 1987, and 1992 World Cups. The first two World Cups were a failure for Imran. Therefore, he decided to quit cricket. His fans were never happy with his retriment decision. Khan was called back and requested by then-Pakistani President Zia ul Haq. He joined his team again and prepared for the 1992 World Cup. He won this World Cup and became an icon of cricket in Pakistan. His popularity grew to the next level even though he beat all the celebrities of his era.
Ricky Ponting and MS Dhoni are the best captains in the world. Both of them have the highest winning percentage and titles.
MS Dhoni is the only captain with every ICC trophy: ICC World Cup, champions trophy, and ICC t20 world cup.
Ricky Poting is the number 1 captain in ICC. He has won the most number of matches in all formats.