Top 10 Popular Cricket Captain In The World All Time

The best cricket captain in the world is former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, who not only kept his team’s win percentage high but also won every ICC trophy there was to win.

Top 10 Popular Cricket Captain In The World All Time
Subhayan Dutta

Written by: Subhayan Dutta

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-10-03

Ricky Ponting leads the list of the top 10 best captains of cricket in the world and is followed by the popular likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Allan Border and more. Let’s have a look.

Best Captain in the World (Cricket): Top 10 List

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1. Ricky Ponting | 220 wins in 324 matches as captain

While many discredit Ricky Ponting’s captaincy prowess owing to the star-studded team that he had inherited, not many would be able to handle a dressing room filled with talents and egos for 10 years across all three formats of the game. Not only did Australia win the 2003 and 2007 ODI World Cups, but Australia also won the 2006 and 2009 ICC Champions Trophy under Ponting’s leadership. He would also take Australia to an unbeaten run of 22 Test matches, from September 2005 to January 2008.

2. MS Dhoni | 178 wins in 332 matches

MS Dhoni with 2011 World Cup Trophy.jpeg

The best captain of the last decade, MS Dhoni was like a breath of fresh air for India cricket. The cricket-crazy nation always had talent that needed direction and trophies, which was precisely what Dhoni provided. After leading a nascent team to the 2007 World T20 title, Dhoni would fulfil dreams of the millions by lifting the 2011 ODI World Cup trophy. He followed that with a 2013 ICC Champions Trophy title by beating hosts England in their backyard. Labelled ‘Captain Cool” for his ability to remain composed under the worst of situations, Dhoni is the best-ever captain to lead the Indian team.

3. Virat Kohli | 135 wins in 213 matches

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Virat Kohli succeeding MS Dhoni was written in the stars and he filled those shoes in the best way possible. Kohli got his chance to lead India first in 2014 when Dhoni relinquished his Test captaincy, and he made that spot his own. Under Kohli, the Indian team became the no.1 Test side from seventh, a run during which time the team never lost a home Test series. Though Kohli couldn’t win any ICC trophy, he was the fourth-most successful ODI captain and second-most successful T20I captain of India.

4. Eoin Morgan | 118 wins in 198 matches

Eoin Morgan England ODI Captain.jpeg

Very few captains on this list could be credited with ushering in a new era for their nation and Eoin Morgan is one of them. Morgan was handed the limited-overs captaincy in a hurry after Alastair Cook was sacked for poor form. It resulted in England’s poor 2015 World Cup outing but Morgan used it to change their team’s approach at a fundamental level. He preferred IPL over English county as it had more exposure to white ball cricket and chose a team with an aggressive approach regardless of the outcome. The result was the 2019 World Cup title in England’s cabinet. It was also under him that England started crossing the threshold of 400 runs frequently in the ODI format.

5. Graeme Smith | 163 wins in 286 matches

Graeme Smith South Africa Test Captain.jpeg

Like Ponting, Graeme Smith was another player who was blessed with a star-studded side but unfortunately, he couldn’t land a single ICC trophy. Taking over the reins from Shaun Pollock in 2003, Smith captained South Africa for 11 years and held the highest win percentage (48.62%) in Test cricket, after winning 53 of the 109 Tests they played. Smith would captain South Africa in the 2007 and 2011 ODI World Cups, failing to reach the final both times, despite having a 61% win percentage as ODI captain. Eventually, Smith was succeeded by AB de Villiers.

6.  Allan Border | 139 wins in 271 matches

Allan Border Australia Test Captain.jpeg

One of the most stubborn batsmen to ever play the game of cricket, it was Allan Border’s attitude that aided his captaincy skills from 1984 to 1994. He took over the leadership role from Kim Hughes with his form remaining unwavering amidst the pressure. Border would lead Australia to a World Cup title in 1987. However, more than the ICC trophy, Border is remembered for dragging Australia out of a historical low to place them atop world cricket.
 

7. Arjuna Ranatunga | 101 wins in 249 matches

Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka Test Captain.jpeg

One of the more unorthodox-looking leaders of the 1990s, Arjuna Ranatunga is remembered for two things - delivering Sri Lanka the 1996 ODI World Cup against every possible odd and standing by spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in the initial stages that laid the foundation for the greatest bowler in cricket history. A vocal leader who never shied away from controversies, Ranatunga is credited for putting Sri Lanka cricket on the world map.
 

8. Sourav Ganguly | 97 wins in 196 matches

Sourav Ganguly India ODI Captain.jpeg

Like Border, Ganguly was handed the captaincy in the worst of times. The Indian team’s perception was reeling under a match-fixing expose in 2000 and Mohammad Azharuddin was sacked from the leadership role. But while others expected Ganguly to merely hold the fort, he used this chance to build a team that started winning Test matches away - a rare occurrence for India then. Ganguly’s captaincy led India to the 2003 World Cup final and he would regularly stand up to the fearsome Australian team of the early 2000s. Dhoni’s success as a captain is largely credited to the team that Ganguly built, and the former would hand Ganguly the captaincy hat for the last day of his final Test. Ganguly also led India to the 2003 ICC Champions Trophy.

9. Stephen Fleming | 128 wins in 303 matches

Stephen Fleming New Zealand ODI Captain.jpeg

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One of the finest batsmen of his generation, Stephen Fleming was the only New Zealand skipper to win an ODI prize when he led the Kiwis to the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy. It was New Zealand’s only ICC Trophy until 2019 when Kane Williamson won the World Test championship by beating India. One of the longest-serving captains in world cricket, Fleming led New Zealand in 303 matches across 10 years and won Test series against the likes of India, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and more. He was also one of the first-ever T20I captains when New Zealand faced Australia in 2005.

10. Mohammad Azharuddin | 104 wins in 221 matches

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Easily the most stylish and near-perfect batsman India has ever produced, the emergence of Mohammad Azharuddin had seemingly made India a superpower in world cricket. He was handed over the captaincy from Krishnamachari Srikkanth in 1989 and Azharuddin would exploit the batting-friendly pitches on home soil to the maximum against the strongest of opponents. He led India in 174 ODIs and won 90 of them, a record that was later broken by Dhoni in 2014.

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Subhayan Dutta

Subhayan Dutta

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.

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