A skipper’s job is to keep the team together and if any player doesn’t perform well the captain is held responsible. Any team’s performance depends upon the captain’s on and off-field decision-making. The cricketing world has witnessed some of the finest captains whose fearless and clever decision-making made them famous personalities in cricket circles.
Their approach towards a particular situation made them come out stronger during challenging situations which made them more popular. These captains took some bold decisions during their careers helping their teams register some famous wins. The captains that we are about to mention in our list were popular due to their style of guiding their juniors during pressure situations and their coordinating well with the seniors.
Every captain had a different style of operating but they were successful and effective in their decision-making skills. The skippers that we are about to discuss approached different situations as per the playing conditions thus making them popular amongst the masses. We take a look at the 10 most popular cricket captains of all time.
#10 Eoin Morgan
Morgan played a significant role in shaping the future of the three lions in the limited-overs and the shorter formats. England was knocked out of the 2015 limited overs World Cup after losing to Bangladesh. The former skipper coordinated well with the England & Wales Cricket Board to make alterations, and the results are pretty visible. Under Morgan, the English cricket team established a fearless brand of cricket, laying the foundation for the nation’s success in the next few years.
England struggled against the big teams in White Ball cricket, but Morgan’s bold and clever decision-making to bring changes in the squad got positive results. The left-hander captained England in 64 T20Is, winning 37 of those. In 124 ODIs as captain, the Irish won 74 ODIs. Under his captaincy, England won the 2019 ICC World Cup.
#9 Brendon McCullum
McCullum changed the concept of batting in the limited-overs and T20Is format with his destructive play. In addition, the wicket-keeper batsman changed Kiwi cricket as captain. Although the former skipper was successful in Test matches as a skipper, his captaincy reached another level in ODIs. Under his captaincy, New Zealand made it to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup finals – one of the finest achievement in NZ cricket history.
He led the team with aggression and intensity. In 31 Test matches as captain, McCullum won 11 games, lost nine, and drew 11. The right-hander possesses a 37.93 % winning ratio which is the best by any Kiwi skipper. In ODIs, his winning ratio is 59.43% in 56 games as skipper, which is also the highest by any New Zealand captain.
#8 Kapil Dev
During the 1970s and 1980s West Indies cricket team dominated the cricketing world. Still, since the arrival of Kapil Dev, the Indian team has become a lot more competitive and could challenge the Caribbean side. Under Kapil Dev’s leadership, India won its first-ever World Cup in 1983 in England when no one ever gave India a chance. His knock of an unbeaten 175 in the ’83 WC match against Zimbabwe is one of the best knocks ever played by a skipper in ODI cricket.
‘The Haryana Hurricane,’ as he was fondly remembered during his playing career, played a significant role in shaping India’s cricketing outlook. His never say die attitude united the nation. The all-rounder captained the team when most Test matches ended with no results. Kapil also has bowled the best-ever bowling figures by a captain in Test cricket.
In 34 Test matches as skipper, Kapil Dev won 4 Test matches, lost seven games, and 22 were of no results. In 74 ODIs, he won 39 games, lost 33, and 2 ended in ties. His win percentage in ODIs was impressive during that time at 54.16%.
#7 Arjuna Ranatunga
Ranatunga will be remembered as one of the finest Sri Lankan captains and a lovely human being. He took over the leadership when his country faced war-like situations at home. The left-hander took Sri Lankan cricket to another level, giving players like Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Aravinda De Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, and Kumar Sangakkara.
Under his captaincy, Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup, and before the start of the tournament, no one thought about this. His clever and bold decision-making brought desired results. Ranatunga is a fine human being helping the needy with financial help. In 56 Test matches as captain, he has won only 12 games. Even though this makes him one of the most failed Test captains in history, his ODI record speaks about the quality of his leadership. In 193 ODIs as captain, Ranatunga won 89 games.
#6 Sourav Ganguly
“The Prince of Kolkata,” as he is fondly called, was responsible for laying the foundation of India’s 2011 World Cup title. The former skipper made courageous decisions on and off the field that might have looked awkward during that time but yielded positive results.
Ganguly took over the captaincy when Indian cricket was haunted by match-fixing, and any other player would have rejected to take over the captaincy. However, the former skipper was bold enough to take responsibility and build a team for the future. Under his leadership, India began to win overseas and registered an impressive win against the touring Australian side in 2001. In his 49 Test matches as skipper, Ganguly won 21 Tests and lost 13. And in his 146 ODIs as chief, the left-hander won 76. Please find here a detailed analysis of his captaincy.
#5 Imran Khan
The former all-rounder inspired a generation of Pakistani cricketers during the 1980s and 1990s. The former skipper’s charismatic leadership took Pakistani cricket to newer heights. Moreover, he had the ability to bring the best out of an ordinary player. His fighting spirit was his biggest strength, combined with his ability to make quick decisions on and off the field.
Easily one of all time great fast bowlers of Pakistani cricket and captain of our all-time greatest XI of Pakistan cricket, Imran was quite popular due to his charming looks, especially amongst female cricket fans. In 48 Test matches as captain, Imran Khan won 14 Tests, lost 8, and 22 ended in draws. In 139 ODIs as captain, Imran Khan won 77 ODIs and lost 57. Imran Khan will be remembered as one of Pakistan’s finest captains.
#4 Clive Lloyd
Arguably one of the greatest and finest Cricketers and human beings, West Indies cricket has ever been produced. Lloyd would be remembered as one of the most successful captains in West Indies cricket, making him a popular leader. The left-hander was known for his charismatic batting and fearless leadership.
Under his captaincy, West Indies won two consecutive world cups in 1975 and 1979. The former skipper won 27 Test matches as captain, including 11 consecutive ones. He is also the second player to have more than ten innings victories in Test cricket under his captaincy.
In 84 ODIs as captain, Lloyd won 64 matches. West Indies dominated the cricketing world during his leadership. His winning percentage as an ODI skipper is 77.71%.
#3 Ricky Ponting
“Punter,” as he is fondly called, brought in an aggressive brand of cricket in the Australian set-up. Australia won two World Cups under his captaincy in 2003 and 2007. The right-hander was known for his quick on-field decision making thus making him the most formidable competitor. After the retirement of Steve Waugh, Ponting took the momentum forward, thus highlighting why this Australian outfit deserves to be the best. Ponting learned a lot under the captaincy of Steve Waugh, and when it was his turn to lead the side, Punter didn’t disappoint. He ended his records-rich captaincy stint as the leading run-scorer in ODI as captain.
His bowling changes brought positive results, and his ability to back his bowlers highlighted his man management. In 77 Tests as skipper, Ponting won 48 games, lost 13, and drew 13. His win percentage in Tests is 62.33%. In 230 ODIs as skipper, Ponting won 165 games; his win percentage in the limited overs format is 76.14%. He is also the only player to be part of 100+ Test wins.
#2 Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh will not only be remembered as one of the best captains in cricketing history but also as one of the best human beings to play the game. The former skipper would be remembered for his never say die attitude and as a player with loads of mental strength. Waugh led Australia to a win in the 1999 World Cup, but he was responsible for laying a foundation for the future by creating a group of talented players.
The senior Waugh brother was famous for his charitable works and good looks, but as a captain, he took Australia to newer heights from where the team produced champion players.
In 57 Tests as skipper, the right-hander won 41 matches. He captained Australia in 106 ODI matches, winning 67 games. Waugh was a clever operator when it came to his field positioning. He will surely be remembered as one of the most respectable figures. He also has the best win percentage as a captain in the popularly known Ashes tournaments.
#1 Mahendra Singh Dhoni
“Captain Cool,” as he was popularly called, MS Dhoni added a new element to the Indian team’s set-up, whether it was his batting, captaincy, or field positions. The wicket-keeper batsman was one of those rare skippers who didn’t lose his cool even during pressure situations, making him a respectable sportsman. He had this ability to bring the best out of an ordinary player, but above all, his out-of-the-box on-field decision-making made him a prudent operator.
His batting and wicketkeeping stats made him famous, but his ability to absorb the pressure without showing nervousness was highly appreciated. Under his captaincy, India won the T20 World Cup in 2007 and a limited-overs World Cup in 2011. Dhoni captained India in 331 games (ODIs& T20Is), winning 178. Billions across the globe loved his calm nature.