The 5 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All time

Cricket is the second most loved and followed sport after football, considering the number of fans. It is a sport where the captains play a critical role. To become successful captains, they have to develop strategies tactics and, use their intelligence on the field and take responsibility on their shoulders to drive the team to glory and accept criticism during team failures.

The Captain or Skipper is the face of the entire team, making him the torchbearer and the decision-maker while leading the squad as the whole. A skipper must guide the team to display their best game on-field individually and share success with everyone involved in achieving the milestone.

Cricket had had some uniquely skilled captains over the years, who had led their team well at the big stage and performed individually well in crunch situations when it mattered the most. Here is a list of the top 5 most successful cricket captains of all time.

5. Stephen Fleming – New Zealand

Former New Zealand cricketer and noteworthy captain Stephen Fleming was a fantastic player for his national side from 1994 to 2009. Fleming took charge of the group as a 23-year-old in 1997 and captained his troops successfully. Fleming led his team to win 128 out of 303 matches. Although he never had great talented players in his team, he still competed well against the top sides of his time. Stephen led New Zealand 218 times in ODIs, the second-most by a captain only behind Ricky Ponting (230).

He was the winning captain of ICC KnockOut Trophy 2000, the only ICC trophy won by the Kiwis to date. He was also the first captain for the Kiwis in the world’s historic first Twenty20 International. Shane Warne, the legendary bowler and Ex-Captain for the Aussies, once said Fleming was the best captain in world cricket.

He made miraculous captaincy stats and was a captain who led the team towards numerous victories. Fleming was Truly an active mind and courageous to fight any trouble. He is the current coach for three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings.

Stephen Fleming Captaincy Record:

In Tests:  80 matches, 28 wins, 27 losses, 25 draws and 35.00 win percentage.

In ODIs: 218 matches, 98 wins, 106 losses, one tie, and 48.04 win percentage

Overall: 303 matches,128 wins, 135 losses, 26 draws/ties, 42.24 win percentage.

4. Graeme Smith – South Africa

Without any doubt, Graeme Smith is a former Proteas skipper and is among the most successful cricket captains in the world, accounting for the number of wins. He holds the world record of most Tests as skipper, 109, and also most wins as skipper in tests, 53.

As a player, he is a left-handed batsman and occasional off-break bowler. Smith represented the team in all formats of cricket between 2002 and 2014. He received the role of captaincy at the young age of 22 and only had played 8 Tests then, which was very early in his career.

Under his leadership, South Africa played 286 matches and won 163 of them, with a fabulous win percentage of 56.99. Smith was an opening batsman and led the team from the front and scored a total of 8,659 runs, the most runs by a captain in Tests.

Graeme Smith Captaincy Record:

In Tests: 109 matches, 53 wins, 29 losses, 27 draws, and 48.62 win percentage.

In ODIs:150 matches, 92 wins, 51 losses, one tie, and 64.23 win percentage

Overall: 286 matches, 163 wins, 89 losses, 28 draws/ ties, and 56.99 win percentage.

3. Steve Waugh – Australia

Steve is One of the Most Succesful Cricket Captains of All time

Legendary former Australian skipper Steve Waugh is arguably the most successful cricket captain of the modern era and regarded as the most poised captain in cricket.

Steve Waugh has achieved several feats during his leadership tenure between 1997-2002; he led the Australian cricket team to lift the World Cup trophy in 1999. He captained Aussies in 41 wins in 57 Test matches, with a world-record winning percentage of 71.92. Under Waugh’sWaugh’s leadership, Australia went from being an outstanding team to one of the fiercest and all-time great ones.

As a batsman, he became only the third player to touch 10,000 Test runs. Steve Waugh was also inducted into  The ICC Hall of Fame and considered the most successful test captain in history. He had revolutionized the Australian team and started the aggressive approach of the Aussies.

Steve Waugh Captaincy Record:

In Tests: 57 matches, 41 wins, 9 losses, 7 draws, and 71.92 win percentage. 

In ODIs: 106 matches, 67 wins, 35 losses, three ties, and 65.23 win percentage

Overall: 163 matches, 108 wins, 44 losses, 10 draws/ties, and 66.25 win percentage

2. Ricky Ponting – Australia

Pointing is One of The Most Succesful Cricket Captains of All time

Ricky Ponting is the real example of a captain who leads from the front with the bat. Ponting always performed well and took his team out of difficult situations whenever he came out to bat, and he went by the ideals of let the bat do the talking.

Ponting will always be remembered as the captain of the most dominant Aussie side ever. On the paper lineup, they had the likes of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Michael Bevan, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, and Ponting would tremble any opposition side’s confidence on any day.

They recorded an unbeatable winning streak in 2003 as well as the 2007 World Cup. He also led Australia to the No.1 rank in all formats and two back to back ICC Champions trophy victories in 2006 and 2009.  The former Australian skipper is undoubtedly one of the most successful cricket captains with the highest number of wins.

He is also one of the greatest cricketers of all time; during his tenure as the captain between 2002 to 2012, Ponting led Australia to a massive 220 victories, 48 Test wins, and 165 ODI wins in 324 matches. Australia once went on a 16 games unbeaten streak under his leadership between Dec. 26, 2005, and Jan. 2, 2008.

The Aussies won two ICC World Cups under his captaincy in 2003 and 2007 and were remarked as the golden era of the Australian Cricket team. He is also one of the most classical and elegant batsmen ever and scored 8,497 runs at a steady average of 42.91 in ODIs. In tests, he has notched 6,542 runs at an average of 51.51.

Ricky Ponting Captaincy Record:

In Tests: 77 matches, 48 wins, 16 losses, 13 draws, and 62.33 win percentage 

In ODIs 230 matches, 165 wins, 51 losses, two ties, 76.14 win percentage.

Overall: 324 matches, 220 wins, 77 losses, 15 draws/ ties, and 67.90 win percentage

1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – India

MS Dhoni is the Most Succesful Cricket Captains of All time

This beautiful game has seen many captains throughout the years, but arguably no one better than MS Dhoni. His tactical mindset and instant analysis of match situations and knowledge far more valuable than books about the game have inspired and set a benchmark for future captains. Captain Cool came and just conquered the sport with his unpredictability, self-belief, and calmness.

Dhoni is unarguably the greatest and the most successful cricket captain of all time; he distinguishes himself from other great captains with his unique feat of being the only skipper to win all three ICC trophies. Mahi’s most admired trait was leading from the front when the most senior players struggled. MSD showed he was destined for greatness when he won the inaugural T20 World Cup with a relatively inexperienced Indian lineup and just months after being appointed as the captain.

He had played several captain’s Innings, whether it be the 2011 World Cup final, where he successfully chased the target when wickets were falling, or when the team needed to finish an innings in big matches. All cricket pundits always admire MS Dhoni’s calm and relaxed approach to captaincy. Dhoni has always supported the upliftment of young talents over senior players; he revolutionized and nurtured match-winners for the future of Indian Cricket. 

He also raised the bar of fitness in the Indian team, resulting in the team’s enhanced fielding efforts and helped India reach the No.1 rank in all formats. Under his leadership, India won 178 matches with a winning rate of 53.61%, and it is commendable that Dhoni achieved these numbers with a weak bowling lineup compared to other top teams.

Dhoni retired from the longest format in 2014 due to overseas failures. Still, He remained to captain India in the limited-overs format until 2016, where he gave up captaincy to nurture and guide Virat Kohli to handle the burden of captaincy.

MS Dhoni Captaincy Record:

In Tests: 60 matches, 27 wins, 18 losses, 15 draws, 45.00 win Percentage. 

In ODIS: 200 matches, 110 wins, 74 losses, five ties, 59.52 win percentage.

In T20Is: 72 matches, 41 wins, 28 losses, three ties, 59.52 win percentage

Overall: 332 matches, 178 wins, 120 losses, 23 ties, 59.52 win percentage