Top 12 Best Cricket Captains of All Time

Best Cricket Captains of All Time: Cricket, originally introduced as a game for adults in 1600, quickly became known as a “boys’ game.” Teams started forming in the late 17th century, and cricket became widely played in many countries.

In the cricket world, captains hold a special place. They are not just skilled players but also leaders who make important decisions, motivate their teams and leave a lasting impact on the sport’s history. This list looks at 12 cricket captains who have played a significant role in redefining the game.

From Imran Khan’s charismatic playing style to Pat Cummins’ determined leadership, and from MS Dhoni’s unique genius to Ricky Ponting’s unwavering resolve, each captain has a compelling story of cricket mastery and outstanding leadership. Join us as we explore their triumphs, challenges, and the legacy they’ve left behind.


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Who is the Best Cricket Captains of All Time?
Best Cricket Captains of All Time

Best Cricket Captains of All Time

This article focuses on the greatest cricket captains and their lasting impact on the game from the 17th century to the present day.

12. Pat Cummins

  • Country: Australia
  • Role: Bowler

Starting our list of the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” at number 12 is the Australian cricket team captain, Pat Cummins. Pat is a right-arm fast bowler known for his accuracy, line, and length, and is considered one of the greatest Test bowlers ever. He’s also recognized for his batting skills in the lower order.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

Cummins was ranked as the top bowler globally in the ICC Men’s Test Bowling Rankings. He played a crucial role in Australia’s victories in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021-23 ICC World Test Championship, and the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup, where he served as the winning captain.

Pat Cummins started his Test career at 18 in 2011 but faced injuries that kept him out of international cricket until 2015 and Test cricket until 2017. Following the 2018–19 cricket season in Australia, he was honored with the Allan Border Medal for being the best Australian cricketer of the year and was also nominated for the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year in 2019. He officially became Australia’s Test captain in November 2021.

11. Arjuna Ranatunga

  • Country: Sri Lanka
  • Role: batsman

Ranked at number 11 among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Arjuna Ranatunga. He played a crucial role in leading his team to victory in the 1996 Cricket World Cup, contributing significantly to the rise of the Sri Lanka team.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: ICC

Arjuna was recognized as one of the most influential players in international cricket. In a match against Zimbabwe during the 1992 World Cup, his team made history by scoring 313 runs, showcasing exceptional skills in One Day Internationals (ODIs).

His leadership was instrumental in the improvement of the Sri Lankan team, and he was the mastermind behind their strategic plans and teamwork. Arjuna Ranatunga, having represented Sri Lanka in 93 Tests and 239 ODIs, is undoubtedly a remarkable captain at the international level.

10. Sourav Ganguly

  • Country: India
  • Role: Bastmann

Securing the 10th spot among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Sourav Ganguly, affectionately known as the DADA (King) of Indian cricket.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

Ganguly, a cricket legend, earned his reputation as one of the greatest batsmen in history, particularly excelling in sophisticated stroke play on the offside. In 2000, Ganguly was appointed team captain, and under his leadership, India reached the finals of the 2003 World Cup. Holding the record for the eighth-highest run-scorer in One Day Internationals (ODI), Ganguly is widely regarded as the greatest ODI batsman.

Additionally, he is the third player in cricket history to achieve the milestone of scoring 10,000 runs.

9. Eoin Morgan

  • Country: England
  • Role: batsman

Our next outstanding cricket captain is Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan, leading the England team to their historic victory in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

Morgan wears the captain’s hat not only for England but also for the Kolkata Knight Riders and London Spirit. In May 2021, he achieved the all-time leading run and most caps in both ODIs and T20Is. Notably, Morgan holds the records for the fastest fifty in ODIs and the highest six in the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Adding to his accomplishments, Morgan is the first English cricketer to play in 100 T20Is, and he’s the 57th to do so as a team captain. By 2019, his stats include 16 Tests for England, 233 ODIs, and 81 T20Is. Overall, he has impressive records with 700 Test runs, 7348 ODI runs, and 1810 runs in T20Is.

8. Virat Kohli

  • Country: India
  • Role: Top-class batsman

Securing the 8th position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Virat Kohli, the former captain of the Indian team and widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of this era.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

Kohli’s leadership journey began with a victory in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup, and shortly after, he made his ODI debut. He played a pivotal role in India’s triumph in the 2011 Cricket World Cup and made his Test debut the same year.

Virat achieved the number one ranking in the ICC Rankings in 2013 and earned the Man of the Tournament title in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2014 and 2016. His achievements include awards like ICC Test Player of the Year, ODI Team of the Year, and ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade. In 2018, he was named the CNN-News18 Indian of the Year and featured on Time magazine‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Known as one of the most commercially successful athletes, Kohli had estimated earnings of ₹634 crore (US$79 million) in 2022. He was awarded the Player of the Tournament in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023, setting records with 765 runs and three centuries, boasting the highest batting average of 95.62. This marked his third Player of the Tournament award in World Cups (ODI+T20I), following previous wins in the 2014 and 2016 T20 World Cups.

7. Clive Lloyd

Taking the 7th spot among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Clive Lloyd, a cricket legend who captained the West Indies team in three Cricket World Cups. In 1971, he earned recognition as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: ICC

Lloyd’s impressive career spanned 110 Test matches, where he scored a total of 7,515 runs. He became the first West Indian cricketer to appear in 100 Tests and captained in 74 of them, a record yet to be surpassed by any other West Indian cricketer. Lloyd made his Test debut in December 1966 against India in Mumbai, and in his first home Test in Port of Spain against England in January 1968, he scored his first Test century.

Notably, Lloyd set a personal record for the most runs scored in a Test innings (242) against India in Mumbai in 1975. His final Test appearance was against Australia in Brisbane in 1984. In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), he played 87 games for the West Indies, scoring 1977 runs and captaining 81 times. Lloyd’s ODI journey started in September 1973 against England in Leeds, and he played his last ODI on March 6, 1985, against Pakistan in Melbourne.

Clive Lloyd was part of the West Indies team that won the 1975 and 1979 Cricket World Cups. In the 1975 final, he scored a personal record of 102 runs in ODIs, marking the only time he scored a century in an ODI. However, in 1983, he experienced a loss in the World Cup final against outsiders India.

Beyond cricket, Clive Lloyd is a member of the Association of Freemasons. In the 2020 New Year Honors List, he was elevated to the rank of Knight Bachelor, adding another distinction to his illustrious career.

6. Allan Border

  • Country: Australia
  • Role: Middle-order batsman

Securing the 6th position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Allan Border, a former cricketer for the Australian national team who served as captain for several years. His illustrious career included over 150 Test matches.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: ICC

Border set a record for the most Test matches with 156, although this record was later broken. Throughout his professional cricket career, he accumulated an impressive 11,474 Test runs and achieved 27 centuries, showcasing his exceptional batting prowess.

Undoubtedly, Allan Border holds the distinction of being Australia’s most capped player and has been rightfully inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. His contributions to the sport also earned him the title of a Q150 Sports Legend. Allan Border’s impact on Australian cricket and his remarkable achievements continue to solidify his place among the cricketing greats.

5. Stephen Fleming

  • Country: New Zealand
  • Role: Batsman

Securing the 5th position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Stephen Fleming, a retired New Zealand cricketer and coach currently coaching the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: ICC

Fleming is widely recognized as one of New Zealand’s best batsmen, attributed to his strategic thinking and leadership skills. He holds the distinction of being the player with the second-most Test appearances, having played in 111 Test matches.

As the longest-serving captain for New Zealand, Fleming is also the most successful, steering the team to 28 wins. One of his notable achievements is being the winning captain of the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy, which stands as New Zealand’s only ICC award to date. Stephen Fleming’s impact on New Zealand cricket, both as a player and a captain, solidifies his place among the cricketing greats.

4. Graeme Smith

  • Country: South Africa
  • Role: batsman

Securing the 4th position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Graeme Smith, a retired South African cricketer and captain who held the captaincy from 2003 until his retirement.

Source: Instagram

Graeme Smith, recognized as one of the best captains at the young age of 22, was appointed captain of the South African cricket team. His leadership prowess is evident in his record for the most captaincy appearances, totaling 107 games, notably against England.

In addition to his captaincy achievements, Smith showcased his batting excellence by recording double centuries, including an incredible score of 259 at Lord’s. This score stands as the most remarkable achieved by a foreign cricketer at Lord’s, further cementing Graeme Smith’s legacy in the cricketing world.

3. Imran Khan

  • Country: Pakistan
  • Role: all-rounder

Securing the 3rd position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is the great Imran Khan, a former international cricketer and the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Khan’s leadership was instrumental in leading Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

Imran Khan made his international debut at the age of 18 in a game against England. Taking on the role of team captain in 1982, Khan led the national team until his retirement in 1992. Renowned as an exceptional all-rounder, he achieved a remarkable record of 3807 runs and 362 wickets during his cricketing career.

Imran Khan’s contributions to the sport earned him a place in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Notably, he was the man of the series in a match against West Indies in the 1980s, where he took an impressive 23 wickets. Beyond his cricketing achievements, Imran Khan’s legacy extends to his significant political career, having served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

2. MS Dhoni

  • Country: India
  • Role: Wicket-keeper-batsman

Securing the 2nd position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is MS Dhoni, a highly famous and respected cricketer who captained the Indian national team from 2007 to 2017. While many Indian fans disagree with this, Dhoni earns a well-deserved silver medal in our ranking.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

Dhoni’s captaincy is marked by significant achievements, including leading India to victory in various domestic and international matches. Notably, he holds the unique distinction of being the only cricket captain to have secured all ICC awards, encompassing the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy, and ICC World Twenty20.

In cricket history, Dhoni is recognized for his remarkable feat of scoring 10,000 runs, and he stands out as the only captain to lead the Indian team in sweeping a Test series against Australia.

Beyond the cricket field, MS Dhoni’s influence transcends as he was named the Most Influential Person of 2011 by Time Magazine, reflecting the impact he made both in the world of cricket and beyond.

1. Ricky Ponting

  • Country: Australia
  • Role: batsman

Securing the top position among the ”Best Cricket Captains of All Time” is Ricky Ponting, a former cricketer and captain of the Australian team.

Best Cricket Captains of All Time
Source: Instagram

In international cricket, Ponting stands as the most successful team captain, boasting over 220 victories. With an impressive 68% winning percentage, he is hailed as the greatest hitter of his time.

Ponting’s batting prowess is further highlighted by being the second cricketer with the most international centuries and holding the record as the highest-scoring batsman in over 50 years.

His leadership achievements include guiding Australia to their 2nd Ashes victory, the 2007 Cricket World Cup, and triumphs in the ICC Champions Trophy. Ricky Ponting’s contributions to cricket, both as a captain and a batsman, firmly establish him as one of the all-time greats in the sport.

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