“There was a legacy before I came in, and it was my job to take the baton, hold it tight, and run like hell,” said the legendary Sir Vivian Richards, who captained his team to victory in the 1979 World Cup, having also played in the 1975 tournament. Being a cricket captain involves constant scrutiny, something that other players might not experience as intensely. However, a leader must absorb everything that comes their way, whether it’s criticism or praise.

This narrative is common to all cricket captains throughout history. Many cricketers have had the honor of leading their country and have achieved remarkable records. Here, we explore the top 10 cricket captains of all time.

Most Successful Cricket Captains

Top 10 Cricket Captains in The World All Time

Debating the best cricket captain is a fascinating topic indeed! Here’s the details of top cricket captains known for their impact and what makes them great:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India)

MS Dhoni stands out as the most successful captain in cricket history. Known as ‘Captain Cool,’ Dhoni boasts an impressive career that every captain dreams of.

He has secured every ICC trophy, including the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017. Under Dhoni’s leadership, the team played 332 matches across all formats, winning 178 of them.


Ricky Ponting (Australia)

Australian legend Ricky Ponting ranks among the most successful captains in cricket history. Over nearly 12 years of captaincy, Ponting led his team to four ICC titles.

As the right-handed batsman spearheaded the most dominant side of the era, he secured two ICC World Cups in 2003 and 2007 and two Champions Trophies in 2006 and 2009. These achievements solidify Ponting’s status as one of Australia’s greatest captains.


Stephen Fleming (New Zealand)

Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming stands out as one of the most successful leaders in cricket. Fleming led his team to their only ICC trophy, the Knockout Trophy, in 2000.

He also captained New Zealand to victory in their first-ever T20 international against Australia. Over his 303 matches as captain, Fleming secured 128 wins for his team, cementing his place among cricket’s greats.


Graeme Smith (South Africa)

South African Graeme Smith is one of the country’s most esteemed captains. Smith holds the record for scoring the most runs as South Africa’s captain.

Although he didn’t secure an ICC trophy, he consistently kept his team competitive in various series, both at home and abroad. Between 2003 and 2014, Smith captained his team in 286 matches, achieving an impressive 163 wins.


Allan Border (Australia)

Former Australian player Allan Border, known for his wit, charisma, and lion-hearted nature, achieved phenomenal success as a captain. Border played a crucial role in revitalizing Australian cricket in the 1980s, leading an exceptionally strong team.

Throughout his tenure, Border captained 271 matches and secured 139 victories, cementing his legacy in cricket history.


Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka)

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga is celebrated as one of his country’s most prolific captains. Leading the World Cup-winning team in 1996, Ranatunga’s captaincy laid a strong foundation for Sri Lankan cricket.

He captained his side in nearly 250 matches, securing victory in 104 of them. Ranatunga, a left-handed batsman, is widely regarded as one of the finest cricketers in Sri Lankan history.


Mohammad Azharuddin (India)

Mohammad Azharuddin emerged as one of India’s most controversial yet successful captains. Despite being in the limelight for various reasons, Azharuddin is often underrated as a captain. Over his nearly 9-year tenure, he led the team in 221 matches, securing victories in 104 of them.


Virat Kohli (India)

Some may believe that good batsmen excel only in scoring runs. However, Virat Kohli, known as the ‘run-machine,’ had broader ambitions. Following in the footsteps of Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli took up the captaincy in 2014 during a test series against Australia, succeeding Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Kohli immediately proved his mettle by becoming the second-highest run-scorer in the series. Despite not securing victory, he displayed bold and fearless leadership. Kohli led his team in 213 matches across all formats, securing victory in 135 of them.


Eoin Morgan (England)

Eoin Morgan stands out as one of the most memorable captains of his era. Originally representing Ireland, Morgan shifted his focus to leading Team England in 2010. Known for his exceptional range-hitting abilities, Morgan quickly became a favorite to lead the English side.

His crowning achievement came in 2019 when he captained England to a thrilling World Cup victory. Primarily leading the team in limited-overs formats, Morgan boasted a remarkable record of 118 wins out of 198 matches he captained.


Sourav Ganguly (India)

Sourav Ganguly, the composed Indian all-rounder, emerged as a pivotal cricket captain during his tenure from 1999 to 2005. He took charge of a team amid turbulent times marked by match-fixing controversies that had shaken fan confidence in the sport.

Ganguly wholeheartedly embraced the responsibilities, revitalizing the team and nurturing young talent. His notable achievements include leading India to a runner-up finish at the 2003 World Cup and clinching the Natwest Tri-Series in 2002. Across all formats, Ganguly captained his team in 196 matches, securing victory in 97 of them.


List of World Best Captain in Cricket History

NameCountryYears as CaptainMatches as CaptainWonLostWin %
MS DhoniIndia2007-201833217912053.92%
Ricky PontingAustralia2002-201232422010467.90%
Stephen FlemingNew Zealand1997-200730312813542.24%
Graeme SmithSouth Africa2003-20142861638956.96%
Allan BorderAustralia1984-19942711398951.29%
Arjuna RanatungaSri Lanka1989-199924910111440.56%
Mohd AzharuddinIndia1990-19992211049147.06%
Virat KohliIndia2013-20222131376064.32%
Sourav GangulyIndia2000-2005196977949.49%

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