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Top 5: Captains with Most Wins in ODI World Cup

We are officially into the World Cup season, with the 13th edition of the mega event set to begin in a few months in India. England is the defending champion going into the tournament, and we have 6 different champions thus far, with South Africa, Bangladesh, and New Zealand being some of the prominent sides that have not won the World Cup even once.

This year we will have only 10 sides playing the tournament, and to the surprise of many, the 2-time champions West Indies won’t be travelling to India for the World Cup after not being able to qualify during the qualifiers.

Moving on to the article, we have seen the stats on how the different batters fared in each of the World Cups, but how about the captains? Which skipper has found the most success when it comes to the World Cup?

Like any team sport, the leadership aspect is very important in cricket, and more so when it comes to the World Cups. So we have prepared statistical data based on the most successful captains of all time when it comes to the ICC Cricket World Cup, which is held once every 4 years.

There have been at least over 100 skippers from various teams who have led their sides in the World Cup on at least 3 occasions. And here are the top five captains, measured based on the number of matches they have won in the mega event.

Captains With Most Wins in ODI World Cup

PlayerMatchesWonLostWin %No. of Editions as Captain
Ricky Ponting (AUS)2926289.65 3
Stephen Fleming (NZ)27161059.25 3
Clive Lloyd (WI)17 15 288.23 3
MS Dhoni (IND)17 14282.35 2
Imran Khan (PAK)2214863.63 3

Key Insights from the above stats:

4 – The main inference from the stats above is that out of the 5 captains listed here, 4 skippers have led their respective teams to World Cup glory at least one time in their illustrious careers. They are Clive Lloyd (West Indies), the inaugural World Cup (1975) winning skipper, Imran Khan (Pakistan), Ricky Ponting (Australia), and the latest entrant MS Dhoni (India).

3 – Barring MS Dhoni of India, all 4 other captains in the list have led their respective teams 3 different times in the World Cup. Dhoni was the skipper of the Indian team in the 2011 edition where the side won the trophy for the 2nd time in their history and in 2015 where India bowed out in the Semi-finals. Ricky Ponting (2003 -2011) and Clive Llyod (1975-1983) have led their sides in World Cups 3 times each and clinched the same on 2 occasions. Ponting’s Australia won the cup in 2003 and 2007 while West Indies led by Lloyd scripted triumphs in the 1975 and 1979 editions respectively. Imran Khan is the other skipper on the list who has gone on to lead his team Pakistan successfully in a world cup. He did so in 1992 having led the team previously in 1983 and 1987 editions as well.

29 – Ricky Ponting of Australia has to be the most acclaimed and decorated captain in the history of World Cups. He has been at the helm of his side in 3 different world cups winning 2 of them, and also holds the record of most matches captained in a ICC World Cup game. The Aussie legend was the leader of the pack of the Kangaroos in 29 matches which is a record and it is highly unlikely anyone will come close to that achievement.

26 – As expected Ricky Ponting who is the most capped captain in ICC World Cups, is also the most successful one with an astounding 26 wins out of the 29 games he has led the side. With Ponting at the helm of things, Australia has lost only 2 games in World Cups, one vs. Pakistan and the other was the Quarter-final clash against India at the 2011 World Cup. The latter proved to be his last match in World Cups as the Aussies lost out on an opportunity to make it 4 in a row.

16 – Stephen Fleming of New Zealand is the 2nd most successful skipper in World Cups in terms of the number of wins under his belt. He led the side from the 1999 World Cup till his retirement post the 2007 world cup. He has won 16 games as captain of New Zealand having led the side 26 times (2nd most by anyone) but unfortunately couldn’t lift the World Cup even once. Under his leadership, New Zealand progressed to the Semi-Finals of 1999 as well as the 2007 edition of the world cup but couldn’t go further than that losing in the knockout game.

2 – The number of World Cups West Indies and Clive Lloyd as well as Ricky Ponting and his Australian side remained unbeaten. West Indies did so in 1975 & 1979 while Australia repeated the same in the 2003 and 2007 editions.

89.65 – Winning percentage of Ricky Ponting as the captain of the Australian cricket team. This is the highest winning percentage for any captain who has led his respective side in 5 or more world cup games. His record as World Cup skipper is phenomenal and the Aussie team was unbeatable during that era. Only Clive Lloyd comes close to the mark with an equally impressive winning percentage of 88.23 in World Cups.

2 – MS Dhoni, Clive Lloyd, and Ricky Ponting have lost only 2 games as the skippers in the World Cup. The former’s Indian side lost a league game in the 2011 World Cup against South Africa and the next one came in the Semi-final game against Australia in the 2015 World Cup which proved to be his last as a skipper. Llyod as a skipper faced 2 losses in World Cups and both of those came against India in the 1983 World Cup. One was in a league game while the other was in the final game in the same year.

Post this 13th World Cup edition, which promises to be an exciting one in India, will we see any captain make rapid strides to the top of the ladder? And we have to mention that all the sides will be led by a first-time World Cup captain. So it will be an interesting watch.

Read Next: ODI World Cup: The Greatest Five All-Round Performances

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