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Most Successful Captains in Cricket History


Captains play a key role in their team’s success. Without an astound leader, there certainly won’t be a winning team. Hence a captain’s mentality and abilities are very important for the success of the team.

There have been a lot of marvelous personalities that have captained various cricketing nations over the years. In this list, we would be looking at 10 of those ” Wonder-Men ” who have led their teams like a lion on a battlefield. Hence, without any further ado, let’s look at ten of the most influential captains of all time:

List of Most Successful Captains in Cricket History:-

1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni- Only Skipper to win ICC Trophy Across All Formats

We start this list off with arguably the most successful captain in cricket history! Mahendra Singh Dhoni took over the reins of the Indian national team before the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and he instantly brought Silverware home!

From then on, would go on and establish himself as one of the best Finishers and Captains of all time, ultimately helping India win the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 as well. Hence, there is no doubt in the fact that MSD is the greatest Captain of all time!

Captaincy Tenure2007-2018
Number of matches Captained (All formats)332
Win percentage53.61%
Claim to Fame  Won the 2007 T20 World CupWon the 2011 World CupWon the 2013 Champions TrophyWon the ICC Test Mace (Rank 1), etc.

2. Ricky Ponting- Australia’s Most successful Test captain

Another all-time great who could claim to be on the top of this list is Ricky Ponting! The Australian Captain is easily one of the most successful captains in cricket history and this is proved by his winning percentage as a captain.

Ricky Ponting’s Australian side was ruthless! Between 2003 and 2009, the team hardly lost a single game, they won two World Cups, and two Champions Trophies and were on top of the ICC Test Rankings as well.

Captaincy Tenure2002-2012
Number of matches Captained (All formats)324
Win percentage67.9 %
Claim to FameWon 2x ICC Cricket World Cups (2003,2007)Won ICC Champions Trophy Twice (2006, 2009), etc.  

3. Clive Lloyd- All-Time Best West Indies Skipper

The Third most successful captain in cricket history according to us is Clive Lloyd. Having made his debut in 1966, Lloyd had a long career spanning 20 years.

In this, the West Indian would go on to create history by becoming the first captain to lift the World Cup title in 1975. He would then repeat the feat once again by lifting the trophy in 1979. Under his tenure, the West Indies were one of the best teams in cricket. Hence he surely deserves to be third on our all-time list!

NationWest Indies
Captaincy Tenure1974-1985
Number of matches Captained (All formats)158
Win percentage63.29%
Claim to FameFirst Captain to win the World CupWon the Cricket World Cup Twice (1975, 1979), etc.

4. Allan Border- Best Australian skipper and led them to maiden World Cup Trophy

Another Australian captain on our list is Allan Border. Following their disappointment in the World Cups, the cricket board made Allan Border the captain in 1984. The Batsman would take Australian cricket to newer heights and remained the captain until his retirement in 1994.

In his tenure, Allan Border led the Australian team to their first World Cup success in 1987. This started a winning trend and a shift in mindset that brought forth a new and consistent generation of Australian cricketers in the following years.

Captaincy Tenure1984-1994
Number of matches Captained (All formats)271
Win percentage51.29%
Claim to FameTrendsetters in Australian CricketWon the Cricket World Cup 1987, etc.

5. Arjuna Ranatunga- Best Sri Lankan Captain

Arjuna Ranatunga scripted history in 1996 as he led the minnows, Sri Lanka, to an unexpected World Cup victory in 1996! This instantly cemented Ranatunga’s legacy as one of the best captains of all time.

The Sri Lankan cricketer brought forth a new generation of cricketers that would make Sri Lanka one of the best cricket-playing nations in the near future. He remained the captain of the side until 1999 before stepping down and giving the keys to success to the next generation.

NationSri Lanka
Captaincy Tenure1988-1999
Number of matches Captained (All formats)249
Win percentage40.56%
Claim to FameThe biggest cricket personality from Sri LankaWon the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996, etc.

6. Imran Khan- Best Captain to play for Pakistan

“Kaptaan” as he is fondly known in Pakistan helped transform the nation into one of the cricketing giants that it is known today. Imran Khan is arguably one of the best captains in Pakistan’s history as he set the groundwork for today’s generation.

Imran Khan helped Pakistan win their first-ever test-series win and a few years later, he followed this by leading his nation to the World Cup victory in 1992. Hence this secured his place as one of the most successful captains in cricket history!

Captaincy Tenure1982-1992
Number of matches Captained (All formats)187
Win percentage47.59%
Claim to FameTrendsetters in Pakistan CricketWon the Cricket World Cup 1992, etc.

7. Graeme Smith- Best South African Skipper

Having become the captain of South Africa in 2002, Graeme Smith is one of the youngest players to ever captain a national side. Smith was quite influential and led the team for more than a decade.

In this period, South Africa had become one of the best national teams in the game. This status was solidified by the fact that the Proteas were the best-ranked test nation in the world. To add to this, Graeme Smith still holds the record for winning the most Test Matches as a captain, having won 53 of 109!

NationSouth Africa
Captaincy Tenure2003-2014
Number of matches Captained (All formats)286
Win percentage56.99%
Claim to FameMost wins as a Test Captain Won the ICC Test Mace with South Africa (Rank 1 in Tests), etc.

8. Hansie Cronje- Best Captain to lead South Africa between 1994-2000

Another South African who makes our list is the influential Hansie Cronje. His win percentage certainly made him one of the most successful captains in World Cricket. To add to this, he helped his team win the first-ever Champions Trophy Tournament.

However, match-fixing allegations ruined his career and he was removed from captaincy and also banned from cricket. Hansie Cronje would die in 2002 in a fatal plane crash.

NameHansie Cronje
NationSouth Africa
Captaincy Tenure1994-2000
Number of matches Captained (All formats)191
Win percentage65.96%
Claim to FameSecond highest win percentage as a captain ICC Champions Trophy 1996 winner

9. Kapil Dev- First Skipper to make India World Champions

Another “underdog” who features in our list of the most successful captains in cricket history is Kapil Dev! The all-rounder made a country dream that had absolutely no hope of the sport. Fast forward to 2022, India is arguably the best cricketing nation in the world.

Kapil Dev created history by making India win the 1983 World Cup when no one gave them a chance. Sadly, he remained the captain for only 5 years and left his post following an underwhelming 1987 World Cup.

Captaincy Tenure1982-1987
Number of matches Captained (All formats)108
Win percentage39.81%
Claim to FameTrend Setter in Indian CricketWon the Cricket World Cup 1983, etc.

10. Virat Kohli- Best Skipper of India with highest winning percentage

We end this list with one of the biggest names in the World Cup currently, Virat Kohli. The former Indian captain inherited a world-class team from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and managed to make it even better.

Virat Kohli led the team between 2013 and 2022 and had a magnificent 63.38 winning percentage. The only drawback of his reign was the fact that he could not win an ICC trophy in the Limited over format.

Captaincy Tenure2013-2022
Number of matches Captained (All formats)213
Win percentage63.38%
Claim to FameHighest Winning % Among Indian CaptainsMost Successful Test Captain in Indian Cricket

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