In-Depth Stats

Indian Test Captaincy Records (Most Wins, Runs as Captain, Overseas Wins)

The first cricketer to lead a Indian Test side was CK Nayudu, during India’s first ever Test match against England in 1932. Since then, India have played under 33 Test captains with Ajinkya Rahane being the latest.

According to the current Indian captaincy stats table, Virat Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain as he went past of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 27 Test wins in 2019.

Virat is also the Indian captain with most overseas Test wins, went past Sourav Ganguly’s mark of 11, in the same year.

Here we are with a statistical overview of Indian captaincy record in Test, comparing the current Test captain Virat Kohli’s captaincy stats with the other legendary Indian captains – Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin & MS Dhoni.

After named as the captain of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli & his team has been more confident and upfront on their task to continue being the No.1 Test team.

The fact ‘Virat being the only Indian captain to have 50+ win%, considering the captains with 40+ Test matches as captain’ says much about the start Virat has had in his captaincy career. And he has got way more to go.

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Indian Test Captaincy Tecord

Starting with the list of Indian captains with their Captaincy stats:

Indian Test Captaincy Record

PLAYERMATCHES AS CAPTAINWONLOSTDRAWNTIEDWIN%OVERSEAS WINS
Virat Kohli68401711058.8216
MS Dhoni602718150456
Sourav Ganguly49211315042.8511
Mohammad Azharuddin47141419029.783
Sunil Gavaskar479830019.143
Nawab of Pataudi4091912022.52
Kapil Dev344722111.762
Rahul Dravid2586110325
Sachin Tendulkar2549120160
Bishan Singh Bedi2261112027.273

There is enough evidence for Virat’s success as captain in the longer format. But, does it make him the best ever Indian Test captain yet? 

Maybe not. It is not fair to compare players of different eras. The likes of Sourav and MSD captained completely different teams, in aspects of experience.

It is true that this Virat’s team started to built up in MSD’s time. Most of the leading players in this team came into picture under MSD; even Virat. And, Ganguly is the one, who installed faith and braveness in the Indian Test camp. 

dhoni vs ganguly
MS Dhoni with S Ganguly

Still, Virat has done well captaining the team, especially the Indian fast bowling under Virat is exceptional.

Now, let’s do a statistical comparison on Virat’s numbers against the likes of other Indian captains.

Before that, you should also read onto this most viewed answer on Quora for the question: What is the difference between Dhoni & Kohli Captaincy Style? to understand why it is not fair to compare the styles of both these successful captains.

Most Runs as Indian Captain in Test cricket

Most Runs as Indian Captain in Test Cricket

PLAYERMATCHES AS CAPTAININNINGSRUNS100s50sAVERAGE
Virat Kohli681135864201854.4
MS Dhoni6096345452440.64
Sunil Gavaskar47743449111450.72
Mohammad Azharuddin476828569943.94
Sourav Ganguly4975256151337.66
N Pataudi4073242451334.14
Sachin Tendulkar254320547751.35
Rahul Dravid2545173641044.51
Kapil Dev344813643831.72

Virat Kohli is already topping the list as the leading run scorer as Indian captain in Test cricket.

MS Dhoni despite being played as captain in most of the matches on the list (check the table above), he played mostly at No.7 position in tests whereas others in the list have the advantage of playing at top 4.

Sunil Gavaskar and Mohd Azharuddin are the others on the list with the decent total runs of 3449 and 2856 respectively.

The highest score for an Indian captain is scored by Virat Kohli – 254* against South Africa in 2019 at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. Virat also tops the first three position in the table of highest Test score by an Indian captain.

Virat Kohli 200
Virat celebrating his Maiden Test Double Century

Virat also holds the world record for the Most 200s in Test cricket as captain – 7.

MSD’s 224 against Australia in 2014 at Chepauk, is the only Indian incident of a wicket-keeper/captain scoring a 200; also the highest Test score by any WK/Captain. The only other player to do this is Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim.

Virat also holds the record for the most Test centuries by an Indian captain, and ranks second overall behind Graeme Smith, who has scored 25 Test hundreds as captain. Virat, so far, has 20 Test centuries playing as captain.



Indian Captain with the Highest Winning Percentage

World Test Championship

Let’s say the debate for the most successful captain in Test can be analyzed out with the attribute of win percentage.

With Win% in focus, Virat has already passed his past compatriots already, with a mighty lead.  Check the table above.

Next, comes the Captain Cool, MS Dhoni at 45% and the Dada, S Ganguly at 42.85%. Don’t forget Dhoni was also bearing the responsibility of being the Wicket Keeper too, in all 3 formats.



Indian Test Captains with Most Overseas Test Wins

Winning Tests in overseas has always been the way Indian captains are looked upon.

To me, the best thing being an Indian captain is to win Tests in other countries, which I believe Virat and his team is taking into the next level.

Keeping that in mind, Sourav Ganguly was the first Indian Captain to record more than 10 Test Victories outside India. Check the table above.

Virat Kohli now has more Overseas Test wins as Indian captain than Sourav.

India under MS Dhoni won 6 Test matches outside India.

Outside Asia, Virat has got 8 Test wins, and leading the list. Followed by Sourav, who had 6 victories in non-Asian countries, and Dhoni 4.

Most Successful Captains after the first 23 Tests!

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I added this table to show how good a start Virat Kohli has achieved as Test captain. He is up there only behind the great Steve Waugh and his team of early 2000s. Also you can find out Virat’s ODI Captaincy record here.

Check the Test Captains record after their first 23 tests.

most wins after 23 Tests

Youngest & Oldest Indian Test Captains

The youngest Indian captain to lead an Indian side in a Test match was Nawab of Pataudi Jr at his age of 21 years 77 days. It was against West Indies at Kensington Oval in 1962. India lost that game by an innings and 30 runs.

Here’s a table of the youngest cricketers to lead Indian Test side.

CAPTAINAGEOPPOSITIONYEARVENUEMATCH RESULT
Nawab of Pataudi Jr21 years 77 daysWest Indies1962Kensington OvalLOST BY AN INNS AND 30 RUNS
Sachin Tendulkar23 years 169 daysAustralia1996Arun Jaitley StadiumWON BY 7 WICKETS
Kapil Dev24 years 48 daysWest Indies1983Sabina ParkLOST BY 4 WICKETS
Ravi Shastri25 years 229 daysWest Indies1988MA Chidambaram StadiumWON BY 255 RUNS
Youngest Indian Test Captains

On the other hand, Mulvantrai Mankad, at his age of 41 years and 284 days, holds the record for the oldest Indian captain to lead an Indian side. Another Indian captain who captained the side after his age of 40 was Lala Amarnath. His last captained game was against Pakistan in 1952. He was 41 years and 92 days then.

Since 2000s, Anil Kumble holds the cap for the oldest Indian captain in this century. His last Test match as captain happened when he was 38 years and 12 days, against Australia in 2008.

Finally, if you want to go through individual achievements of MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly as Captains, you can find them here and here.

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One thought on “Indian Test Captaincy Records (Most Wins, Runs as Captain, Overseas Wins)

  • Kohli should have 8 overseas wins 5 in Sri Lanka 2 in West Indies and 1 in bangladesh.i wonder why everyone is saying 7

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