Top 10 Most Successful Skippers in Cricket
In this article, we are going to evaluate who the most successful skipper in cricket is and look at the achievements of the nine next most successful skippers in international cricket.
Ricky Ponting of Australia leads the list of the 10 most successful skippers in cricket, followed by some other legendary names of international cricket. We have ranked them by the number of international matches won. Wherever the number of matches won is the same, we have ranked the players based on the winning percentage.
Skipper in Cricket: Who Is He?
A skipper of a cricket team can be compared to a captain of a ship. He must think on his feet and make spot decisions according to the current circumstances. He takes the blame for anything that goes wrong in the running of the team. And when the team sinks, the skipper sinks with it. So, it stands to reason that the success of any skipper in cricket must be equated with the success of the team he leads.
The success of the team depends on the correctness of the captain’s decisions and his ability to read the game and outguess the rival captain. It goes without saying that the skipper must be one of the best players of the side and be able to lead by example. A successful player will find it easier to inspire his teammates to do better. Often the difference between a team’s victory and defeat is the quality of leadership the captain provides. A captain with a victorious track record will find it easier to command respect from the players he leads. There have been several captains in international cricket with a proven ability to lead teams successfully.
1. Ricky Ponting
Between 2002 and 2012, Ponting led Australia to 208 international victories in 324 matches for a winning percentage of 64.19. In 230 ODIs as captain, he registered 165 wins and 51 losses. In 77 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 36 wins and 12 losses. He led Australia in 17 T20Is, winning 7 and losing 10. He led the ODI team in three world cups, of which Australia won two. Though other Australian captains had won ODI world cups, they had never won the Champions Trophy. Ponting became the first to achieve the feat. In fact, he captained the side during 4 Champions Trophy tournaments winning two of them, a world record. Additionally, Ponting captained Australia in 2 World T20 tournaments. Among his achievements as captain, Ponting boasted a 34-match winning streak in ODIs. In Tests, Ponting held the dubious record of three separate Ashes series losses to England while becoming only the second to register 5-0 win in the Ashes.
2. MS Dhoni
Dhoni led India in all three formats of cricket between 2007 and 2017 and registered 178 international victories in 301 matches as skipper for a winning percentage of 59.13. India won 110 matches and lost 74 in 200 ODIs on Dhoni’s watch. Dhoni was the first non-Australian captain to lead his side to 100 ODI wins. He skippered India in 60 Test matches with 27 wins and 18 losses to show for his effort. He also led India in 72 T20Is, winning 41 and losing 28. On his watch, India won the World T20 trophy in 2007, the Asia Cup in 2010, the Champions Trophy in 2013 and the ICC World Cup in 2015. On Dhoni’s watch, India reached the number one spot in the ICC Test rankings for the first time ever. He also holds the record for captaining the most ODI matches as a wicket-keeper. Dhoni holds the record for leading a side to the most T20I wins.
3. Graeme Smith
Smith-led South Africa enjoyed 163 international victories between 2003 and 2011 in 286 Test and ODI matches with a winning percentage of 56.99. In 150 ODIs as captain, he registered 92 wins and 51 losses. In 109 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 53 wins and 29 losses. He also led South Africa in 27 T20Is, winning 18 and losing 9. Smith set several records as South Africa’s Test captain. He holds the world record for the most wins in Tests (53). He is the only skipper to have led a team in more than 100 Test matches. He scored the most centuries (15) by a captain in victorious Test matches.
4. Allan Border
Under Border’s captaincy, Australia registered 139 international victories in 271 matches for a winning percentage of 51.29. In 178 ODIs as captain, he registered 107 wins and 67 losses. In 93 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 32 wins and 22 losses. He set a world record for the most consecutive Test matches (93) as captain. Border reluctantly took up the job of captaining Australia in the mid-eighties, following Kim Hughes’s resignation. He went on to rebuild an Australian side that was weakened in the post-Packer years. On his watch, Australia won the ODI World Cup in 1987.
5. Stephen Fleming
Fleming was captain of New Zealand between 1996 and 2006, when they won 128 international victories in 303 matches, giving Stephen a winning percentage of 42.24. In 218 ODIs as captain, he registered 98 wins and 106 losses. In 80 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 28 wins and 27 losses. He also led New Zealand in 5 T20Is, winning 2 and losing 2. Fleming’s record as skipper in the most ODIs (218) is yet to be broken.
6. Hansie Cronje
Between the years 1993 and 2000, Cronje captained South Africa in 191 Test matches as well as ODIs to record 126 international victories, earning a winning percentage of 65.96. In 138 ODIs as captain, he registered 99 wins and 35 losses. In 53 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 27 wins and 11 losses. Cronje set a world record, skippering 130 consecutive ODI games as captain. To date, no other captain has led an ODI team in over 100 consecutive games.
7. Steve Waugh
Waugh captained Australia in 163 international matches, including Tests and ODIs, between 1997 and 2004. They won 108 of those matches, giving Waugh an overall winning percentage of 66.25. In 106 ODIs as captain, he registered 67 wins and 35 losses. In 57 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 41 wins and 9 losses. He became the second Australian skipper, since Allan Border in 1987, to lead his side to an ODI world cup title in 1999. Waugh set a record for the most consecutive Test victories (16), beating the previous record of 11 set by Clive Lloyd at the helm of the West Indies.
8. Mohammad Azharuddin
On Azharuddin’s watch, between 1989 and 1999, India enjoyed 104 international victories in 221 matches, translating into a winning percentage of 47.05. In 174 ODIs as captain, Azhar registered 90 wins and 76 losses. In 47 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 14 wins and 14 losses. When he retired from the game, he held the Indian record for the most ODI victories as captain, a record that has since been broken by MS Dhoni. He also set a record for the most Test wins by an Indian skipper, a number since overperformed, first by Sourav Ganguly and later by Virat Kohli.
9. Mahela Jayawardena
Jayawardena skippered Sri Lanka to 101 international wins in 186 matches between 2004 and 2013 for a winning percentage of 54.30. In 129 ODIs as captain, he registered 71 wins and 49 losses. In 38 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 18 wins and 12 losses. He also led South Africa in 19 T20Is, winning 12 and losing 6. Following his performance in the ICC World T20 tournament in 2012, the ICC named Mahela captain of the Team of the Tournament. During the ODI World Cup in 2007, Jayawardena scored 548 runs, setting a record for the most runs in a single world cup as skipper, a record since broken by New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.
10. Arjuna Ranatunga
Sri Lanka won 101 international victories in 249 matches between 1988 and 1999, giving the skipper a winning percentage of 40.56. In 193 ODIs as captain, he registered 89 wins and 95 losses. In 56 Test matches as captain, he led his side to 12 wins and 19 losses. Arjuna accomplished his greatest record as Sri Lankan skipper when he led the side to their maiden ODI world cup title in 1996. In January 1999, Ranatunga set a record for the most ODI matches won as captain (85), a record that was broken later the same year by India’s Mohammad Azharuddin. On Ranatunga’s watch, Sri Lanka became the first team to chase down a 300-plus target in ODIs when they chased down a target of 313 against Zimbabwe during the 1992 ODI World Cup with three wickets and four balls to spare.
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