The Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of all Time!

Leading from the front is never easy. Today we discuss and rank the best of the best leaders in the sport of cricket in our top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time list. Read on…

Cricket is the world’s most complex and tiring game. A single person can never conquer this sport. It’s a game of 11 players in a team.

A pack of wolves fights against another one. And every pack needs a commander to lead them in the war. In this game, a commander is the captain of the team. It is the grit of a leader that contains all 11 players in a team.

The whole pack, plans, actions revolve around that one guy. If he wins, he gets the credit but when the team loses, all kinds of blame surrounds him. It is not a job of the faint-hearted.

But some nations are blessed to have or had captains who were able to uplift their game and name.

Any captain is as good as his team but to put them in one frame and propel everyone to give their cent-per cent is strenuous. Read on to find our pick for the top 10 captains in the world of all time.

Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time!

Here’s our list of the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time:

RankNameCareer
1.Mahendra Singh Dhoni2004-2019
2.Ricky Ponting1995-2012
3.Kapil Dev1978-1994
4.Clive Lloyd1966-1985
5.Steve Waugh1985-2002
6.Eoin Morgan2009-
7.Imran Khan1972-1992
8.Kane Williamson2010-
9.Sourav Ganguly1996-2008
10.Brendon McCullum2004-2016

10. Brendon McCullum

Kicking off our list of the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time is Brendon McCullum. Lovingly called “Baz” was one of the most fearless and influencing personalities.

Brendon Mccullum: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time!
Credits: Espn

His fitness was such that his buildup looked like a professional boxer. He had jaw-dropping power in his arm like that of “Thor”.

McCullum got the captaincy of New Zealand in 2012. His start as a leader wasn’t a good one as NZ lost the first after Test series as 0-3 from South Africa. But his belief to bring a change and make it a unique team was promising.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
BB McCullum (NZ)2008-20161216047191.2749.5838.84

His attack with the bat at the top of the order was something that formed the base for the whole team. His tremendous performance and leadership in the 2015 ICC World Cup led NZ to their first final ever.

His knock of 77 runs from just 25 balls against England in that tournament was remarkable. But his 59 runs off 26 balls in the Semifinal that too, in the first 6 overs proved to be too good for South Africans as NZ entered their first finals.

In 2016, he smashed the fastest ever Test hundred in just 54 balls in his last match before retirement.

Within his captaincy, NZ became a favourite contender of tournaments from an underdog tag. He shaped his brand of cricket that was inculcated by the whole team. NZ will forever be grateful for his contributions.

NameBrendon McCullum
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)101/260/71
Career2004-16
Runs in ODI6083
Runs in Tests6453
Runs in T202140
Total Runs14676
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)38.64/30.41/35.67
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)64.6/96.37/136.22

9. Sourav Ganguly

Some people take birth with a destiny ahead of them. Sourav Ganguly’s destiny was to change Indian cricket entirely. He made a team out of his instincts and he backed his players as a brother does.

Sourav Ganguly: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: IndiaToday

If you were a cricketer, you always wanted to play under his leadership because the kind of support you get from him is unmatchable.

As a classical left-hander, he smashed a fine hundred on his debut against England at Lords registering his name on the honours board. In the late 1990s, when India was shattered with some names being involved in fixing, it was not easy for anyone to step forward as a leader.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
S Ganguly (India)1999-200519697790151.2249.4840.3

But Sourav emerged and changed everything for Indian cricket for good. He made his team backed by his pure instincts. Under his leadership, India started fighting well in away Test tours.

His iconic Shirt-off swirl after winning the Natwest Final against England took the World by storm. He placed India as a new cricket power. His leadership took India to the finals of the 2003 World Cup.

His controversial saga with the coach Greg Chapell in 2006-07 proved to be his downfall. He made his return in 2008 only to bid his farewell from cricket. But before that, Dada led India towards the path of glory.

NameSourav Ganguly
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)113/311/-
Career1996-2008
Runs in ODI11363
Runs in Tests7212
Runs in T20
Total Runs18575
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)42.18/40.73/-
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)51.26/73.71/-

8. Kane Williamson

There is one more captain cool other than MS Dhoni. Kane Williamson is currently, the most respected captain in the World. His calmness is next to that of a monk. His god-like generous gestures are enough to make you praise him.

Kane Williamson: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time!
Credits: TheHindu

He got the New Zealand captaincy in 2016 after the retirement of Brendon McCullum. He had a good team behind but the task was not that easy. In the very first year, he led NZ to the semifinals of the 2016 T20I World Cup.

Kane’s calm demeanour and patient approach slowly started to fulfil the team’s desire. In the 2019 ODI WC, he swivelled every other team to reach the finals but were defeated by “The Barest of All Margins” by England in boundary count.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
KS Williamson (NZ)2012-20211638665271.3252.7639.87

That loss was disheartening but Kane was seen smiling. It takes a lot of courage to remain calm and hopeful in that kind of situation. But he reached the pinnacle of success by winning the World Test Championship 2018-21.

In his captaincy, Williamson has been able to transform a small cricketing nation into a Test Superpower. As a batsman, he is a member of the current “Fab Four”.

He still has a lot of years ahead of him. Considering his abilities, NZ will be the happiest team in the world right now. For now, he is enjoying his time with the Test mace and there are many to come.

NameKane Williamson
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)85/151/67
Career2010-
Runs in ODI6174
Runs in Tests7230
Runs in T201805
Total Runs15209
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)53.96/47.49/31.67
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)51.76/81.76/124.91

7. Imran Khan

Imran Khan was probably the most cunning and sharpest mind on the field of cricket in his era. Along with the dangerous skill with the ball, he had some good hands with the bat too. But he attained greatness while captaining the Pakistan team.

Imran Khan: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: GeoSuper

After coming into the Pakistan team in 1976, he established himself as one of the fastest flowers of his time. He captained the side in 1987 WC but later announced retirement due to loss in the tournament.

Though he returned to the team after being requested by the then Pakistan Prime Minister. He kept working hard. In the 1992 WC, Imran led the Pakistan team to their first-ever World Cup triumph after defeating England in the final.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
Imran Khan (Pakistan)1982-199218789671261.3247.5935.82

He was a front runner in the team with his swing, reverse swing and pace. He was a match-winner with the bat too.

He retired soon after the 1992 WC but that was not the end of his leadership skills. He entered into the politics of the nation and became the Prime Minister in 2018. Imran khan’s influencing powers are still intact after all these years.

NameImran Khan
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)88/175/-
Career1972-92
Runs in ODI3807
Runs in Tests3709
Runs in T20
Total Runs7516
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)37.69/33.41/-
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)57.79/72.75/-
Wickets in ODI182
Wickets in Tests362
Wickets in T20
Total Wickets544
Economy (Tests/ODI/T20I)2.66/3.9/-
Average (Tests/ODI/T20I)22.81/26.62/.

6. Eoin Morgan

Next up on our list of the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time is Eoin Morgan. Morgan is one of those players who have had unorthodox starts and stories. He made his debut for Ireland in 2006 but he was destined to play for England.

Eoin Morgan: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: Arysports

His cunning and fierce thinking power and presence of mind took him to new heights in his career.

He became captain of England in 2015 just two months after the World Cup after Alastair Cook was removed. He led the team in the 2015 WC but it turned out to be the worst nightmare for English fans.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
Eoin Morgan (England)2011-202118811164401.7359.0434.04

They were out in the group phase after getting an “upset” defeat by Bangladesh. After that Tournament, Morgan applied every one of his tactics and plans to revive the team. He changed the way they used to play.

Their only form to play now was attack, attack and attack. By 2019, he transformed the team into the most fearsome side in the World. Under his leadership, England won the 2019 WC with a stunning performance throughout the tournament.

He is a slaughter with the bat in his hands. He has a record of most number of sixes in a single knock. He still has a lot of cricket in him but has already become a great captain to be remembered forever.

NameEoin Morgan
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)16/246/107
Career2009-
Runs in ODI7701
Runs in Tests700
Runs in T202360
Total Runs10761
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)30.43/39.49/28.78
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)54.77/91.25/138.25

5. Steve Waugh

Steve Waugh was the toughest player to play against. He was one of those captains who got into the opposition’s minds and forced their faces into the rubble. He was the epitome of grit and determination. His mental toughness was remarkable.

Steve Waugh: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: Dawn

Waugh made his debut in 1985 vs India but it took some years to get established in the already strong Australian side. His surge as a batsman started in 1993. He became a fatal batsman before becoming the captain of Australia in 1997.

He led the team in the 1999 World Cup. He played his greatest ODI innings in this WC against South Africa where he smashed 120 runs in 110 balls in a close encounter. He won Australia the 1999 WC trophy.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
Steve Waugh (Australia)1997-200416310844372.4566.2526.99

In tests, Waugh had won 41 Tests out of 57 games which is quite remarkable. He led Australia to 15 consecutive Test wins.

He retired in 2002 transferring his captaincy to Ricky Ponting who later turned out to be another great. Steve Waugh took Australia to a point from where it can not be conquered.

He was undisputedly the greatest captain ever, earning him a spot on our list of the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time.

NameSteve Waugh
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)168/325/-
Career1985-2002
Runs in ODI7569
Runs in Tests10927
Runs in T20
Total Runs18496
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)50.59/32.62/-
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)48.65/75.91/-

4. Clive Lloyd

Clive Lloyd was a British-Guyanese cricketer who played for West Indies. He was the greatest captain in West Indies cricket history. He built a war-like team with one of the fiercest bowlers of all time. He put all of them together and conquer the world like no other.

Clive Lloyd: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: ICC

Sir Clive Lloyd made his debut in 1966 for the West Indies against India. As a captain, he led the fearsome team to the consecutive World Cup winners in 1975 and 1979. In 1983, he again led WI to the finals of the tournament but got defeated by Indians.

As a left-handed batsman, Lloyd was a forceful act with the willow in his hands. Once he went 26 straight matches without defeats and won 11 of them. He put up a team that was feared the most in the history of cricket. 

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
Clive Lloyd (West Indies)1974-1985158100301263.3363.2918.98

He retired in 1985 against Pakistan in MCG but before that, he glorified the West Indian team at the World stage. Watching the current situation of WI in cricket, they would want someone like Clive Lloyd to play for them again.

NameClive Lloyd
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)110/87/-
Career1966-85
Runs in ODI1977
Runs in Tests7515
Runs in T20
Total Runs9492
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)46.68/39.54/-
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)100.35/81.22/-

3. Kapil Dev

If you ever think of how this game became so popular in India, a face always pops up automatically. Kapil Dev was the one who once moulded this sport into the genes of Indians. 

Kapil Dev: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: Zeenews

Kapil Dev made his debut in 1978 against Pakistan. After five years, he was given the leadership of the Indian team. India wasn’t a contender to win the 1983 World Cup.

Indian veterans say that they went to that tournament as if they were going on some picnic tour. But one man was not like that. The Indian Captain had something else on his mind. Kapil Dev, solely motivated the whole team to give everything in that World Cup.

Player Span MatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
Kapil Dev (India)1982-198710843401221.0739.8137.03

Eventually, he led India to its first-ever WC win. It brought a revolution in Indian cricket. Youth became eager to take this game under their belt.

He was the greatest all-rounder and captain to ever play for India. He retired in 1994 with more than 5000 runs and over 400 wickets in tests.

NameKapil Dev
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)131/225/-
Career1978-94
Runs in ODI3783
Runs in Tests5248
Runs in T20
Total Runs9031
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)31.05/23.79/-
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)94.76/95.07/-
Wickets in ODI253
Wickets in Tests434
Wickets in T20
Total Wickets687
Economy (Tests/ODI/T20I)2.78/3.72/-
Average (Tests/ODI/T20I)63.92/44.28/-

2. Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting was the most effective captain in the World who led Australia on their dream journey to conquer every milestone. He was the guy with a typical Australian aggressive attitude. His attacking behaviour was shown in both, his game and behaviour.

Ricky Ponting: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: Crictracker

Ponting took over as captain from Steve Waugh in 2002. He was already ascertained as a lethal batsman for Australia. Ponting led his team to consecutive World Cup wins in 2003 and 2007.

He also led the Aussies to 21 consecutive ODI wins in 2003. With many greats in the team, he made them invincible throughout his captaincy period. The mighty Aussies won two Champions trophies under his captaincy while they reached the semifinals in two of these tournaments.

Player SpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss%
R Ponting (Australia)2002-2012324220772132.8567.923.76

In the 2011 WC, he led the team to the Quarter Final where they lost to India. Ponting made a century in his last match in World Cups. He is, probably the greatest Aussie captain ever.

NameRicky Ponting
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)168/375/17
Career1995-2012
Runs in ODI13704
Runs in Tests13378
Runs in T20401
Total Runs27483
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)51.85/42.04/28.64
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)58.72/80.39/132.78

1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Who would have thought that a boy with long and stylish hair will become the greatest personality to ever play cricket. MS Dhoni was one of those guys whose career backstory had been unique.

Ms Dhoni: Top 10 Most Successful Cricket Captains of All Time
Credits: ICC

In childhood, he used to do the goalkeeping for his school football team but he was foredoomed to play Cricket. From a TTE in Railways to making his way in the Indian team is quite fathomable.

He made his debut in 2004 against Bangladesh. He took up the captaincy of senior-less India in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. Dhoni led that unseasoned core to the World triumph that India needed more than anyone after being eliminated at the group stage in the 2007 ODI WC.

PlayerSpanMatWonLostTiedDrawW/LWin%Loss %
MS Dhoni (India)2007-20183321781206151.4853.6136.14

Mahi revived the downfall of Indian cricket. He led a fitness revolution in the team that wasn’t a thing before. 4 years later, he took India to their greatest glory when India won the 2011 World Cup after 28 years.

Soon after 2 years, he won India the 2013 Champions Trophy with a young team. He helped India for years through his finishing abilities with the bat. Dhoni was the most remarkable wicket-keeper behind the wickets.

He retired in 2019 but by then, he gave India everything it needed. He made winning look so easy that it has become a difficulty for others to maintain up to his records.

Dhoni is the most influential personality in the Indian diaspora, making him our number one pick for the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time!

NameM.S. Dhoni
Matches (Tests/Odi/T20i)90/350/98
Career2004-2019
Runs in ODI10773
Runs in Tests4876
Runs in T204669
Total Runs20318
Average (Tests/Odi/T20i)38.09/50.58/37.6
Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)59.12/87.56/126.13

Conclusion

These were the top 10 most successful cricket captains of all time . There have been some other captains who made this game more interesting. Honorable mentions: Virat Kohli, Faf Du Plessis, Mahela Jayawardena, Graeme Smith.There are leaders currently, who will be in one of these lists in future.

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