Most ODI Wins as a Captain
ODI cricket started in 1971 and many cricketers have graced this format being captains. Captains have a bigger role to play as the format shortens. So, ODIs require more attention and application from captains. Here’s the list of the top 10 ODI captains of all time.
- RT Ponting (AUS/ICC) – 165 Wins
- MS Dhoni (INDIA) – 110 Wins
- AR Border (AUS) – 107 Wins
- Hansie Cronje (SA) – 99 Wins
- SP Fleming (NZ) – 98 Wins
- GC Smith (Afr/SA) – 92 Wins
- M Azharuddin (INDIA) – 90 Wins
- A Ranatunga (SL) – 89 Wins
- SC Ganguly (Asia/INDIA) – 76 Wins
- Imran Khan (PAK) – 75 Wins
The list is topped by none other than Ricky Pointing who captained Australia in their golden era. The list contains 3 Indian captains, 2 each from Australia and South Africa and one captain each from New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The list is full of subcontinent captains with 5 of them included in the list. There are some captains whose tenure started and ended in the 20th century such as Border, Cronje, Azharuddin, Ranatunga and Imran Khan. Then there are some 21st-century greats like Ponting, Dhoni and Smith.
Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.
- 1. RT Ponting (AUS/ICC) – 165 Wins
- 2. MS Dhoni (INDIA) – 110 Wins
- 3. AR Border (AUS) – 107 Wins
- 4. Hansie Cronje (SA) – 99 Wins
- 5. SP Fleming (NZ) – 98 Wins
- 6. GC Smith (Afr/SA) – 92 Wins
- 7. M Azharuddin (INDIA) – 90 Wins
- 8. A Ranatunga (SL) – 89 Wins
- 9. SC Ganguly (Asia/INDIA) – 76 Wins
- 10. Imran Khan (PAK) – 75 Wins
1. RT Ponting (AUS/ICC) – 165 Wins
Australian captain Ricky Ponting tops the list with 165 wins in ODIs. He captained Australia in the period from 2002 to 2012. He captained them in 230 ODI matches and managed to win 76.14% of the matches – the highest winning percentage on this list. As a captain, Ponting was fortunate enough to win two consecutive world cups, 2003 in South Africa and 2007 in West Indies. The team he captained contained some of the greatest Australian players such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist to name a few. He will always be regarded as the greatest captain of one of the greatest ODI teams ever.
2. MS Dhoni (INDIA) – 110 Wins
Legendary Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is second on the list of the most ODI wins for a captain. India won 110 ODIs under his captaincy in the 11-year-long period from 2007 to 2018. Back then, MD Dhoni captained India in exactly 200 ODIs and managed to win close to 60% of matches. India also lost 74 ODIs during his tenure which brings the winning percentage down a bit. Still, he was at the helm in the most ODIs for India and won the most ODIs as well.
The highest point came when India lifted the ODI World Cup in 2011 under his captaincy after 28 years. He himself was named the Man of the Match in the finals. He is regarded as the calmest, composed and most cunning captain to ever lead a team in ODIs.
3. AR Border (AUS) – 107 Wins
Another Australian is placed third on the list of the most successful ODI captains – Allan Border. He captained Australia for close to a decade, from 1985 to 1994. The number of ODIs played was a little smaller during that time. He captained Australia in 178 ODIs and won 107 of them. The winning percentage of 61.42 is the fourth-highest among the participants of this list. Australia weren’t as strong then as it was during the Ricky Ponting era. They also lost 67 ODIs under his captainship. Border’s best moment in ODIs came in 1987 when he captained Australia to a world cup win. That kind of triggered the Australian dominance in ODI cricket.
4. Hansie Cronje (SA) – 99 Wins
The first South African on this list is Hansie Cronje. He captained South Africa for about 6 years from 1994 to 2000. In this relatively shorter period, he captained South Africa in 138 ODIs and won 99 of them. That makes it a winning percentage of 73.7 – the second-highest on this list. South Africa reached the semifinal of the 1999 World Cup under his captaincy, but heartbreakingly got evicted after a tie in that game. The match-fixing saga in 2000 had him retire from cricket. Many believed he would have won more for South Africa had he continued playing.
5. SP Fleming (NZ) – 98 Wins
The elegant left-hander batsman and the first Kiwi on this list is Stephen Fleming. He captained New Zealand for a decade, from 1997 to 2007. During this period, he captained New Zealand in 218 matches, becoming one of the three captains on this list to captain their teams in 200 or more matches. Out of those 218 ODIs, New Zealand won 98 matches, giving Stephen Fleming a winning percentage of 48.04, the lowest winning percentage among the participants of this list. New Zealand lost 106 ODIs under his captaincy, more than the number they won with him at the helm.
6. GC Smith (Afr/SA) – 92 Wins
Placed 6th, Graeme Smith is the second South African to feature on the list of the most successful ODI captains. He captained South Africa for about 8 years from 2003 to 2011. South Africa played exactly 150 ODIs under Graeme Smith’s captaincy and won 92 of them. This gives him a winning percentage of 64.23% – third-highest on this list, only behind Ponting and Cronje. South Africa lost just 51 ODIs under his captaincy – joint-lowest among the captains on this list. Just like it was when Cronje was at the helm, South Africa failed to win an ODI world event during Smith’s captaincy period.
7. M Azharuddin (INDIA) – 90 Wins
The second Indian captain on the list is Mohammad Azharuddin, placed 7th. He was the one who guided the Indian team after the era of Kapil Dev. He captained India for about a decade from 1990 to 1999. He captained India in 174 ODIs – second-highest after MS Dhoni – and won 90 ODIs. With defeats in 76 ODIs, his winning percentage comes to about 54.16% – slightly lower than MS Dhoni’s. He captained India in two world cups, in the World Cup 1992 and 1996. India went as far as semifinals in the 1996 World Cup at home but could not go any further. Azharuddin’s career was cut short due to a match-fixing scandal at the end of the 20th century.
8. A Ranatunga (SL) – 89 Wins
Placed 8th we have the first and only Sri Lankan on this list in the form of Arjuna Ranatunga. He has been the only captain from Sri Lanka to be able to win the ODI World Cup back in 1996. After him, Sri Lanka reached the finals of the World Cup 2007 and 2011, but could not get over the line. Ranatunga captained Sri Lanka from 1988 to 1999 – the longest-standing ODI captain for Sri Lanka. Under his captaincy, Sri Lanka played 193 ODIs – fourth-highest on this list – and won 89 ODIs. They also lost 95 ODIs under his captaincy, giving him the winning percentage of 48.37 – second-lowest on this list. His peak period came closer to the end of his career when he completely changed the composition of the Sri Lankan team to go all the way to the 1996 ODI World Cup played in the subcontinent. No doubt, he is one of the greatest leaders team Sri Lanka have ever had.
9. SC Ganguly (Asia/INDIA) – 76 Wins
Sourav Ganguly is placed 9th on the list of the most successful ODI captains and is the third Indian to be included in the list. He captained India just for 6 years from 1999 to 2005. India was going through a tough phase when Ganguly took over. Not only did he weather the storm but he also managed to start a new era in Indian cricket. He captained India in 147 ODIs and won 76 of them. He also lost 66 ODIs during his captaincy, giving him a winning percentage of 53.52. India reached the finals of the 2003 World Cup under his captaincy but could not get over the line. Sourav Ganguly is regarded as the captain who taught India to win away from home.
10. Imran Khan (PAK) – 75 Wins
Last but not least, we have a legendary all-rounder from Pakistan, Imran Khan. He captained Pakistan from 1982 to 1992. His last ODI as a captain was the World Cup 1992 final which Pakistan won defeating England. He captained Pakistan in 139 ODI matches – second-lowest on this list – winning 75 ODIs. He also lost 59 ODIs giving him a winning percentage of close to 56%.
The 1992 ODI World Cup has been considered the highest point in his career where he managed to inspire Pakistan to the world cup glory. Pakistan, at one point, were on the verge of being eliminated in the league stage itself. But with some luck, they managed to hold on under Imran Khan’s leadership and the rest is history. Imran Khan is also credited with dicovering such precious gems like Wasim Akram and Inzamam ul Haq.
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