Top 10 Best Cricket Captains of All Time with statistics and more

“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power,” somebody truthfully said once. In cricket, there have been hundreds of players but only a few proved to be leaders. More than cricketing skills, such players showed a vision to their teams and planned campaigns to take on the world. Today, we talk about them – the top 10 best cricket captains of all time and pay tribute to them for their contributions. Before viewing the table below, we want you to guess the best cricket captain in the world today. Did you guess it right? Leave a comment at the bottom of this article and let us know whether you agree with our list or not, and if not, what would your list look like? Also, the list is ordered in descending order from the least to the best scorer in the list of Top 10 cricket captains of all time with statistics and more. The list is frequently updated so that you get back to the right names every time 😀

Top 10 Best Cricket Captains of All TimeTeam
10. Virat KohliIndia
9. Stephen FlemingNew Zealand
8. Allan BorderAustralia
7. Hansie CronjeSouth Africa
6. Steve WaughAustralia
5. Michael ClarkeAustralia
4. Clive Lloyd West Indies
3. Ricky PontingAustralia
2. Graeme SmithSouth Africa
1. Mahendra Singh DhoniIndia
Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Best Cricket Captains of All Time

10. Virat Kohli

Best Cricket Captains Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

Test Captaincy: Back in 2014, when India toured Australia, MS Dhoni couldn’t be a part of the squad for the first Test match. As a result, Virat Kohli got the opportunity to lead the national side in Test for the first time. Scoring 114 runs in India’s first innings, Kohli entered the honorary list of Indian cricketers with a century in their Test captaincy debut. In the second innings, Kohli again secured a ton. Kohli’s sensational performance led to a draw in the next match, at the conclusion of which, MS Dhoni retired from Test captaincy, bestowing the reins to Kohli.

In the third match, now as a permanent captain of the Test team, Kohli scored 147 runs, making him the first Test captain in history to score three centuries in three consecutive innings. In 2015, however, Kohli’s form had sloped down and many believed it to be a result of the captaincy pressure. Staying true to his indisputable character, Kohli made a comeback, posting his 11th Test hundred in the August tour of Sri Lanka. Though Sri Lanka won the first match, India recorded a come-from-behind series win with 2-1.

Having cemented his post, Kohli introduced a match-winning spirit in the Test-playing India team. Consequently, India attained a mammoth reputation in Test cricket after white-washing New Zealand in October 2016. For 42 months, the longest in Indian and the third-longest in International Test history, Kohli-led India retained the top spot in the ICC Test rankings.

Virat Kohli Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
2014 – present603614102.576023.33
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: The first Kohli-led ODI series was in July 2013, against Zimbabwe, wherein the very first match he struck 115 off 108 deliveries. It was a series win of 5-0. As a star batsman, he won matches for his side and showed positive signs of becoming one of the best cricket captains of all time. By 2017, Kohli’s stature had grown to a world-class top-ranking batsman, having performed exceptionally well in all formats.

Leading by example, Kohli got a chance to strengthen his stand as a captain in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. He took his young team to the finals but failed to lift the trophy. Nonetheless, throughout the tournament Kohli showcased marvelous batting class, the best being the 96* knock in the semi-finals. Additionally, he had dismissed his critics who claimed Kohli couldn’t bear the task of captaincy with top-class batsmanship. While Kohli recorded his best feat in 2017 –  most runs (8,888), best average (55.55), and highest number of centuries (31) for any batsman when completing 200 ODIs, he was also adjudged the captain of World XI by ICC.

When the biggest task in his ODI captaincy career came, Kohli was firm and did his best. In the 2019 World Cup, Kohli amassed 442 runs with an average over 55. However, due to some tactical blunders relating to middle-order mess in the semi-finals, Kohli had to stall his dream of a world cup trophy.

Virat Kohli ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2013 – present9564271270.10
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

T20 Captaincy: The Indian run machine is never behind in leading his national side in the International Twenty20. Adding to being an Indian Premier League star, Kohli has also maintained his top class in T20I, exhibiting some stroke-filled batting while making records such as – the fastest batsman to reach 3000 runs in T20I. Having captained the side 45 times, Virat Kohli is by far one of the most accomplished leaders worldwide. There is no speck of doubt as to why he stands among the top 10 best cricket captains of all time.

Virat Kohli T20 Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2017 – present4527142265.11
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

9. Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming captain
Stephen Fleming

Test Captaincy: Tall, sturdy, and determined, Stephen Fleming, the former Kiwi skipper, is a story to be told to all the leaders worldwide. His sheer leadership potential, turned a young batch of rookies into a formidable side that every cricketing team saw as a boulder obstructing the road to world domination. Spotlight showered on his overalls when Fleming debuted in 1994, against India, and coming to bat at No. 5, he scored a remarkable 92. Although only 1463 runs off 23 Tests for the following three years came off his willow, Fleming looked inclined to take up the big job. In February 1997, in a Test match against England, Fleming earned the opportunity to lead his side, making him the youngest Test captain in New Zealand’s history at 23 years of age.

For the next 18 months, Fleming-led New Zealand scaled peaks one after another. Winning series against Zimbabwe, India, and facing a tough side under Arjuna Ranatunga, Fleming established himself with exceptional captaincy credentials. A time came when Fleming fell injured and tried his way back at the helm. Many critics vouched for Dion Nash, but the selectors showed their faith in Fleming. Their decision paid off, as Fleming’s Kiwis posted victories in almost all frontiers.

In fact, the topic is still brought up in cricket talks that Fleming truly showed off his leadership capabilities when he extracted the best out of the meager talent pool. In September 2000, Stephen Fleming became New Zealand’s most successful Test captain with 12 wins. 

Stephen Fleming Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
1997-2006802827251.033533.75
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: Stephen Fleming fared well as New Zealand’s longest-serving captain for a decade, ending in 2007. Being the only captain to have ever lifted an ICC trophy (i.e. the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy), Fleming showed the cricketing world that one doesn’t need a highly accomplished team to put up a strong fight. 

With numerous drawbacks, the Kiwis persisted under Fleming’s strong will, who began to build thunderous innings with his bat to lead by example. While matching the likes of Andrew Strauss and Martin Crowe in the longest format, Fleming showcased his best innings in ODI, while playing in the 2003 World Cup against the hosts South Africa. He earned his side a 9-wicket victory, thanks to his innings of 134 – considered one of the best knocks in World Cup history. Even today, he remains the 2nd highest scorer in the list of New Zealanders, with 7172 and 8007 runs in Tests and ODIs respectively.

Also, as a matter of fact, Stephen Fleming skippered his side for 218 ODI matches, which is a world record of leading 2nd most number of ODI matches, behind Ricky Ponting’s 230.

Stephen Fleming ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
1997-20072189810611348.04
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

8. Allan Border

Allan Border Best Captain
Allan Border

Test Captaincy: Those were tumultuous times for Australia as a captain had tearfully resigned, after losing the 2nd match in an ongoing Test series against the world’s best West Indies. Came in, a skipper with limited experience and much reluctance for the post, to lead the Australian side for the third Test, which they eventually lost – making it the sixth consecutive defeat to the West Indies. His name, Allan Border aka AB came to fame.

Australian Cricket Team, a side with great heritage but astonishing mediocrity at the time Border took the reins of captaincy. Alone and unforgiving, Border stood out with his bat against the greats in the days of World Series Cricket. Often seen batting alongside tail-enders, Border brought up a last-man-standing fight in several excruciating matches. Australia could only scrape victories in a one-off Test against Sri Lanka during the toughest of years and a three-Test matches series against neighboring New Zealand. The exodus of Denis Lillee, Greg Chapell, and Rod Marsh, meant greater hardships lay before Border. Though stifled in the clutches of constant defeat, Border persisted with an indefatigable approach and secured 3663 runs in a steady span, averaging 56.81, including 12 centuries. 

Known for rebuilding the Australian side from scratch, Allan Border played 156 Test matches, a world record until Steve Waugh surpassed it. While mentoring a team of young chaps, Border unfurled class performances and that eventually led him to become the first batsman to cross 11,000 Test runs. 

Allan Border Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
1984-94933222381.4534.423.65
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: Twists and turns, while Border played until his last breaths in Tests, his performance in One-Day cricket was far less attractive. He averaged 30 in the 273 matches he played and scored only three centuries in his entire ODI career. Nonetheless, the 50-over Cricket World Cup of 1987 became a significant milestone in Border’s captaincy career.

After defeating Pakistan in the Semi-finals, Australia landed in the finals against their arch-enemy England. This was the second time that Australians were playing the World Cup finals, previously it had taken place against West Indies in 1975, which the latter had smoothly managed to win. Now, Led by their regular captain Border, Aussies looked confident to take on the Ashes rivals. Border won the toss and elected to bat first. Australia posted a good score of 253, on the back of David Boon’s essential 75 off 125 deliveries.

England gave a considerable reply, but Australia’s economical bowling stopped the Englishmen from scoring 17 runs off the last over. The nail-biting match resulted in Australia’s victory and Border’s men became the first Aussies to lift the World Cup trophy. This historic moment re-fueled an essence of greatness into the side and eventually produced legends who went on to own the next two decades in the world of cricket.

Allan Border ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
1985-94178107671361.42
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

7. Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje Best Captain
Hansie Cronje

Test Captaincy: Wessel Johannes “Hansie” Cronje was a South African international cricketer, who later became the South African national cricket team captain in the 1990s. After he passed away in a tragic plane crash in 2002, Cronje was voted the 11th greatest South African in 2004 despite having been banned from cricket for life due to his role in a match-fixing scandal. 

Cronje made his Test debut against the West Indies in 1992. His form proved dynamic at this stage, paving way for his maiden century against India, which eventually led to South Africa’s first Test victory since admission. Cronje became the second-youngest Test captain after Murray Bisset. It was when he led his side in the final Test of 1992-93 series against Australia, however, they lost making it a bad start for Cronje’s captaincy. 

As a permanent captain, however, Cronje maintained a grip over home victories. As a capable leader, he was able to recast the South Africa national team as a worthy Test-playing international team. 

Hansie Cronje Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
1994-2000532711152.4550.9420.75
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: Cronje was a One-day cricket royal. His ODI performance in 1991/92 earned him a call-up for the 1992 World Cup. After all, he averaged 61.40 throughout the prior season. As a permanent captain, though, he failed to take the team beyond the quarter-finals in the prime tournament. In the series matches, Cronje outperformed several of his counterparts in other teams, and his winning ratio over 73 lays evidence to that fact. Hansie Cronje, an exceptional all-rounder, left his mark on the world of cricket, before losing his life to an unfortunate event. 

ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
1994-200013899351373.70
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

6. Steve Waugh

Steve Waugh Best Captain
Steve Waugh

Test Captaincy: Stephen Roger Waugh is a former Australian cricketer who led his side from 1997 to 2004. He was a right-handed batsman and bowled at a medium pace. He is best remembered for his leadership role in fifteen of the sixteen consecutive Test wins that Australia historically recorded at the time. Waugh, therefore, became the most successful Test captain in history with 41 victories at a winning ratio of 71.92 percent. 

As an efficient Test player, Waugh took the charge to score steadily in the Test season of 1997-98. Playing against good-going South Africa and New Zealand, Waugh registered over 80 in three of the total six Tests played. His sensational performance resulted in two series wins for Australia. 

The only obstacle blocking Australia from becoming the champ among Test-playing nations was West Indies. But when Mark Taylor retired at the end of 1998-99, Waugh stepped in to get hold of the reins of Test captaincy. West Indies premier batsman Brian Lara was creating a hubbub for the Aussies, who had expected to get an easy series win, during the Caribbean tour. In a charismatic show of leadership, Waugh decided to drop their strike spinner Shane Warne for the last Test. It so happened that despite Lara’s third consecutive century, Aussies won the final Test and retained the Frank Well Trophy 2-2. Thereon, the Australian side strode as the Test titans and Waugh, their chief. 

Steve Waugh Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
1999-20045741974.5571.9215.78
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: Ranking 6th among the best cricket captains of all time is not an easy feat to achieve. That being said, Waugh had his fair share of difficulties at the start of his ODI captaincy. Waugh was selected captain after Australia’s failure to make it into the Tri-nations Tournament in the 1996-97 season. When Waugh arrived, he needed to prepare his team for the 1999 Cricket World Cup and it felt like an unlikely road ahead. 

Waugh had to team up with youngsters to take on the world, which was brimming with cricketing talents. The most arduous task was to find a strong opening partner for Mark Waugh, the captain’s brother. When the round-robin matches commenced, Aussies suffered under brutal bad form. Waugh’s own performance had dipped. He had to face the embarrassment of the ducks in the first six innings. With an air of relief came the 45* from Waugh’s willow at last, and Australia somehow qualified for finals ahead of the Kiwis. 

The strugglers of the tournament recovered from bad form to beat Pakistan in the finals. Gilchrist’s fifty and Warne’s four-wicket haul ensured Australian victory at the 1999 World Cup, proving Waugh’s vitality as an ODI captain. 

Steve Waugh ODI Captain Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
1997-200210667353165.23
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

5. Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke Best Captain
Michael Clarke

Test Captaincy:

Well-known to the cricket world for his sheer talent and perseverance is Michael Clarke. Now a cricket commentator, the retired Aussie had first emerged in the golden days of Australian cricket. Showing greater potential than his compatriots, Clarke made sure to refine his batting skills as well as to lead with distinction. 

Post the 2011 World Cup, Ricky Ponting stepped down and Michael Clarke took over as permanent captain of the Australian Cricket Team. Clarke scored a marvelous ton against the Proteas that year, getting recognized among the best Test performances of 2011 by ESPNCricinfo. Next year in January, playing a home series against India, Clarke amassed a triple century, the first since 2003 when Matthew Hayden achieved the feat. With consistent performance and leading-from-the-front attitude, Clarke earned himself the prestigious title of captain of World XI by ICC, two years in a row. 

Then came a shock to Clarke’s captaincy. In 2013, Australia faced the worst-ever series defeat against India in Test history. The first 4-0 whitewash for Australia since 1969 came to bite Clarke in the back. His teammates expressed feelings of aversion towards leadership. Nonetheless, Clarke persevered. He rose to the occasion and led his side to whitewash the arch-rivals England in the 2013-14 Ashes series. Clarke led the team to snatch away No.1 Test rankings from South Africa to atone for his failures. To accomplish this, Clarke batted with a fractured shoulder and scored 161* in the third Test. 

Michael Clarke Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
2004-1047241671.5051.0634.04
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: Already proving as to why he appears 5th in the list of best cricket captains of all time, Clarke has more notable achievements priding himself. In One Day International, he secured his highest career total of 130 against India in the year 2007. Although he had to face tumultuous years post attaining the full-time captaincy, Clarke made sure to leave his mark right before his retirement. Crossing every hurdle with a sturdy attitude, Australia entered the World Cup 2015. In the finals against the blistering co-hosts, New Zealand, the Aussies easily chased down a total of 183 in 33.1 overs. And guess who held up the mantle for them? It was none other than Michael Clarke, who scored 74 crucial runs to set winning innings for the team. Isn’t that called leading from the front?

Michael Clarke ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2008-157450210370.42
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

T20 Captaincy: Maybe the only reason Clarke persevered through all odds was his inherent skill to never miss opportunities. On 5 December 2007, Clarke made his first stint as a captain against the Kiwis. By 2009, he took charge of the T20 side full time. However, in 2011, on receiving the charge of Test and ODI captaincy, Clarke decided to step down to focus better on the longer formats. His decision proved instrumental, as he was able to reincarnate the Australian Cricket Team, both in the Ashes and the ODI World Cup.

Michael Clarke T20 Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2007-10181241173.52
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

4. Clive Lloyd

Clive Lloyd Best Captain
Clive Lloyd

Test Captaincy: Standing tall and powerful at number four among the best cricket captains is none other than Clive Lloyd – the Big C of the legendary West Indies cricket team. In 1966, Clive made a deserving debut against the Indian team, after playing years of domestic cricket. The Guyanese, middle-order batsman was one of the most formidable ball-hitter in the 70s and 80s. As a consistent batsman, Clive scored 7,515 runs in his Test career at an average of 46.67. A notable achievement of 70 sixes makes him rank fourteenth in the list of players with the highest number of sixes in Test cricket.

The responsibility of carrying forward the excellent team fell on Clive’s shoulders eight years after his debut, in 1974. A task to which he dedicated his life. Clive’s leadership oversaw the rise of West Indies to the peak of cricket world domination. During his tenure, West Indies recorded 27 successive matches without defeat, which included eleven successive wins. In those times, West Indies reigned like indisputable champs and now you know why. A heartful credit must go to the 4th best cricket captain in the world.

Clive Lloyd Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
1974-85743612263.0048.6416.21
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: Victories translate into legacies as time passes by. The same happened for Clive Lloyd, who was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009 and was recently knighted in the 2020 New Year Honors for his services to cricket. After all, Clive captained West Indies in three world cups, winning two of them and finishing as runners-up in the last one. In the 1975 World Cup, West Indies was in trouble in the finals against the Aussies. Clive walked in when the side was down 3 wickets for 50 runs. Rising to the occasion, Clive secured his first limited-overs century and this helped him win by 17 runs. That’s what made him an impeccable leader and a confident cricketer.

Clive Lloyd ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
1975-858464181177.71
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

3. Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting Best Captain
Ricky Ponting

Test Captaincy: A right-handed, top-order specialist batsman and an exceptional captain – these are the tags that go along former Aussie cricket Ricky Ponting. Considered among the best batsmen of the modern era, alongside Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, Ponting was named “Cricketer of the Decade 2000.” As a Test batsman, he achieved the highest rating (in fifty years) in 2006, which was later surpassed by Steve Smith in 2017. Ponting made such tremendous strides in his Test career that today he’s among the rare four to have scored beyond 13,000 runs in the longest format.

Now, coming to the part as to why he ranks third among the top 10 best cricket captains of all time. Statistically, between 2004 to 2010, Ponting led his side to 48 victories in 77 matches, which is too good by any measure. More so, Ponting is the only player in history to be involved in 100 Test victories. He made his 168th appearance, matching another legend Steve Waugh, in his last Test against South Africa in 2012. No wonder, the Punter received the Allan Border Medal a record four times during his career!

Ricky Ponting Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
2004-10774816133.0062.3320.77
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: The Test format was not enough, for world domination meant beating cricketing teams in a more happening 50-50 format. And when Ponting came to the fore, the world knew somebody had stepped in to rule. Training well under Steve Waugh, he strode into the limelight, building a glorious empire adorned with two World Cups and two Champions Trophies. Charged-up like lions, the Aussies ferociously won matches after matches. They played so much and won so much that by the end of his career, Ponting had become the only captain to lead in 230 ODI matches. And that too, with the highest winning ratio in the world. So now you know, why Punter is among the best cricket captains of all time.

Ricky Ponting ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2002-122301655121276.14
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

T20 Captaincy: By the time T20 as a format made its appearance, Ponting had grown weary after years of consistent performance and astute captaincy. The T20 didn’t suit him very well, so he withdrew from the format early on and kept his eye on the 2011 World Cup and the 2010-11 Ashes. When both the campaigns resulted in defeat, Ponting wisely took the decision to step down and eventually retire from world cricket to start coaching younger talents which could ensure a glorious future for the Aussies, just like he did. Ponting was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in the year 2018, and he currently serves as an Australian cricket coach and commentator.

Ricky Ponting T20 Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2005-09177100041.17
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

2. Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith Best Captain
Graeme Smith

Test Captaincy: The youngest captain in South Africa cricket history is Graeme Smith. He was only 22 when he took over from Shaun Pollock. What followed over the next decade left the world stupendous. The 2nd best cricket captain of all time holds the record for being the only captain to lead his side in over 100 Test matches. Smith played in all formats and opened for the Proteas, along with Herschelle Gibbs. The duo was considered the most iconic opening partner of their age. Together, they hold a record of three opening partnerships with more than 300 runs. Individually, Smith holds the record of scoring the highest runs (259) by a foreigner at the Lord’s stadium. This feat came during South Africa’s tour of England in 2003.

Known for his decisive approach and motivating style of captaincy, Smith was recognized as the best Test captain of the era. In fact, he is the only Test captain to date to accomplish 50+ victories in the longest format. To talk of records, there’s another which might fascinate you – Smith holds the most number of centuries (15) to his name as captain in Test wins. There’s also an interesting record held by Smith as captain. In 2003, 2008, and 2012, three English captains – Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan, and Andrew Strauss ended their careers as Test cricket captains. Reason being, England’s failure to beat the Proteas led by Graeme Smith. Yes, that was the stature of this formidable figure in cricketing history.

Graeme Smith Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
2003-141095329271.8248.6226.6
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: South Africa was the leading rival to the world-dominating Australia in the decade 2000. The Proteas XI were no less compared to the Aussies, and Smith knew this well. Through the years, Smith challenged the yellow side and their matches brought a different sensation to the world of cricket. The historic rivalry of Australia and England had witnessed a halt when Smith-led Proteas made strides all over the place, winning series at home and away.

The ICC World Cup has eluded South Africa ever since 1998. Hansie Cronje, Shaun Pollok and then Graeme Smith, all the made their best efforts, but couldn’t clinch the trophy. Nonetheless, Smith went as far as any captain could and showed what he was capable of. After a long cricketing career, Smith finally retired as one of the most successful captains in the sport’s history.

Graeme Smith ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2003-1115092511664.23
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

T20 Captaincy: In the shortest format, Smith had a short and successful run. Backed by the most athletic set of players in the world, Smith-led Proteas took the 20-over games by a storm. While they batted stupendously, bowled marvelously, they showcased fielding abilities of the highest standard and that is exactly what led to South Africa’s rise in the T20 format under Smith. With a winning percentage of higher than average in all the formats, Graeme Smiths finds himself ranked the 2nd best cricket captain of all time.

Graeme Smith T20 Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2005-10271890066.66
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Best Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Test Captaincy: The Bahubali of Indian cricket, the Thalaiva, MSD, and several other nicknames embrace the greatest captain of all time – Mahendra Singh Dhoni! Well-known for his explosive batting style and masterful wicket-keeping, Dhoni emerged as a true leader of his time, succeeding Sourav Ganguly. Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar once said, “Dhoni is the best captain I have played under.” And remember the master blaster had played over twenty years of cricket, under some of the recognized captains of the 90s and 2000s.

More such compliments on Dhoni’s captaincy showered in as he took charge of the Indian side. It was in the year 2008 that Dhoni became the Test captain amidst numerous controversies. Nonetheless, he rose to the occasion and led the team to series wins against West Indies and New Zealand. In 2009, under Dhoni’s incredible leadership India attained the ICC Test No.1 Ranking for the first time, and history was made. But more was yet to follow. Though Dhoni captained the Indian side in the Test format for the least number of matches among all formats, he still managed to earn the team three Border-Gavaskar Trophies – in 2008, 2010, and 2013. Moreover, Dhoni was named the captain for ICC World Text XI in the years 2008, 2010, and 2013.

However, the greatest moment in Tests for India, among all these achievements, arrived at last in the year 2013. India under Dhoni’s leadership became the first team in forty years to whitewash the world heavyweights, the Australians. A year later, with much success in his ambit, Dhoni left the charge of the Test team in 2014.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni Test Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostDrawW/LWin%Lose%
2008-14602718151.54530
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

ODI Captaincy: “Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd! India lift the World Cup after 28 years!” These words from Ravi Shastri still echo in our ears when we think of the finals night of the 2011 World Cup. The dream of a generation came true that night. While all the members of the team are celebrated till this day, one man in every essence sealed his name in the history book of cricket, that one man was Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Arguably, the best cricket captain of all time, Dhoni took the Indian team to new heights and introduced to the world a new style of cricketing. More than balls and runs, cricket became a sport of strategy, and all thanks to the former Indian captain who saw the game in a very distinct light. South Africa Cricket coach Gary Kirsten once proudly noted Dhoni’s leadership skills in a single sentence – “I would go to war with Dhoni by my side.” That is the great glory of our Mahi, who retired from all forms of international cricket in 2020.

Let’s briefly look at some of his achievements as captain of the Indian team. As captain, Dhoni led India to win the 2011 ICC World Cup, 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and two Asia Cups. Other than being named the ICC Player of the Year twice, the government of India bestowed upon Dhoni the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhushan. While the Indian Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel to Dhoni in 2011.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni ODI Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2007-182001107451159.52
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

T20 Captaincy: A true fan will never forget where Mahi started off. The long-haired ball-basher from Jharkhand was soon to become the captain of the Indian team for the inaugural T20 World Cup. Accompanied by a young team, the high-spirited Mahi seemed almost ready to prove his worth and so he did. He took the young team to the finals and met the arch-rivals Pakistan. Buff and ready-to-win Pak played really well that day, but they didn’t stand a match to the young men in blue.

In the last over of the match, Dhoni showed his mastery of the game, something he would go on to show for the years to come, and handed the ball to Joginder Sharma. The third ball of the last match was lofted to the sky by Misbah-ul-Haq’s paddle-sweep and a catch landed in Sreesanth’s closed palms, and India lifted the first T20 World Cup trophy. A magical evening raised the hopes of a generation, long wishing to be leaders in the gentlemen’s game. He gave the generation those hopes, he abided by his promises, and as a worthy leader, Dhoni made Indian cricket a force to be reckoned with. Also note, Dhoni stands as the captain who has led his side in the highest number of T20 international matches.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni T20 Captaincy Statistics

ExperienceMatchesWonLostTiedNo ResultWin%
2007-167241281259.28
SOURCE: ESPNCricinfo

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the greatest captain of all time?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the greatest captain of all time. He is the only captain to have ever won all the ICC trophies. Best known for his match strategies, Dhoni excelled at keeping his calm in the most strenuous of moments. He won his side the inaugural T20 World Cup, the 2011 ICC World Cup, and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. The successes achieved by Dhoni as a captain still remain unmatched in the realm of cricket.

Who is the No. 1 captain in the world?

MSD, better known as Dhoni is the No.1 captain in the world. When he started as a cricketer, many expected him to continue as a lower-order hard-hitting batsman until Ganguly trusted him with the leadership role. Dhoni was chosen to lead the Indian side in the inaugural T20 World Cup, winning which propelled Dhoni to take charge of the team full time. Dhoni delivered his promises and led the team to win laurels at the international level. From winning the Border-Gavaskar trophy thrice, making the side No.1 in Tests to winning all the ICC trophies in the short formats, Dhoni contributed like no other cricket captain in the world.

Who is better, captain Dhoni or Ponting?

Ricky Ponting, without a doubt, is the best Australian captain of all time, surpassing the likes of Alan Border and Steve Waugh. The reason being his tactful style of play which opened the gates to a golden era for Australian cricket. Having won two consecutive World Cups and leading the side in the most number of ODI matches ever, with a formidable winning ratio, is what makes Ponting an ideal captain. However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a better captain than Ponting, not only because he won all the major trophies for his side but also because he built a team from scratch and made it a force to be reckoned with.

Who is king of the IPL?

Rohit Sharma is the king of IPL. In the world of franchise cricket, the Indian Premier League has the loudest voice. In that annual festival of T20 cricket, Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians has recorded five victories, more than any other IPL team by a large margin. Rohit’s able captaincy coupled with Pollard power and Pandya brothers’ prowess has led the Ambani-owned franchise to become the dominators of the league.

Is Kohli a good captain?

Virat Kohli is a good captain, there is no question about that. In fact, in the present day, there’s no one who could match his abilities either as a batsman or captain. While there are challenges in the forms of Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan, nobody stands close to the current Indian captain. His style of play and overall winning ratio makes him feature among the top 10 best cricket captains of all time.

Who is the best fielder in the world?

Jonty Rhodes is considered the best fielder in the world of all time. As for present-day contenders, there are many. Suresh Raina, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf-du-Plessis are some of the best fielders in the world right now. The T20 format of cricket has substantially contributed to the fielding aspect of the sport. Luckily, the upcoming generation pretty well knows that if batting and bowling fail, good fielding can save the day.

Who is the king of cricket?

Virat Kohli is the king of cricket. The current captain, a top-order batsman of the Indian cricket team is considered one of the ablest players in the world. Often seen as a role model to his generation, Virat Kohli has brought a high-spirit consistency to the overall sport. Players, coaches, and former captains worldwide claim him to be the best of the best, the ultimate cricketer of the modern generation.

Who is the Yorker King?

After Lasith Malinga, Dale Steyn, and Jasprit Bumrah, if there’s one bowler who’s recently been called the yorker king of cricket then it’s T. Natrajan. An exceptional talent from the Southern parts of India, Natrajan has shown the world what it means to bowl in the death overs. His economical bowling at the exact length, that too consistently, is what makes him the yorker king as of today.

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Debojeet Chakravarty

I'm a first year grad student and have been exposed to the world of writing for over two years now. Though I'm new to the professional field of writing, I'm confident of finding myself in a suitable position that complements my style, very soon enough.

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