12 Best Cricket Captains of all Time

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Before we explore the best captains in cricket, did you know that people created cricket in the 16th century?

Firstly, cricket was started as an adult game in 1600, and shortly after that was profoundly known as the “boys game.” Moreover, in the 2nd half of the 17th century, the English started creating teams, and by the end, people widely played cricket in many countries. 

Ricky Thomas Ponting (Source: Facebook)
Ricky Thomas Ponting (Source: Facebook)

Therefore, from the 17th century to the current scenario, we have had several cricketers who have made history in their field.

In this article, we will discuss the greatest captains in cricket and their legacy.

15 Best Captains in Cricket

But, before we discuss each player individually, let’s look at the overview of the list. The information has been gathered from Wikipedia

Name of the Players Country
1. Ricky Ponting Australia
2. MS Dhoni India
3. Stephen Fleming New Zealand
4. Graeme Smith South Africa
5. Allan Border Australia
6. Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka
7. Mohammad Azharuddin India
8. Virat Kohli India
9. Sourav Ganguly India
10. Hansie Cronje South Africa
11. Imran Khan Pakistan
12. Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka
13. Eoin Morgan England
14. Brian Lara Trinidad
15. William Porterfield Ireland

15. William Porterfield

  • Country: Northern Ireland
  • Bowling: Right-arm off-break
  • Role: Opening batsman

William Thomas Stuart Porterfield is a professional cricket player from Northern Ireland and former team captain of Ireland. His batting style is left-handed with right-arm off-break blowing. 

Similarly, he is known as one of the greatest cricketers of Ireland and a strong captain. William displayed his strength in the Afghanistan T20l 2017, where he scored 1000 runs. It was the first time for an Irish player to display such an outcome. 

Moreover, William was made the team captain of Ireland in 2018, and his first match as a leader was with Pakistan. The same year he was one of the recipients of the Cricket Ireland central contract.

Furthermore, in 2019 he scored his 50th win as a team captain and obtained his solo record of 4,000 runs. As a result, he was awarded his second and full-time central contract in 2020 with Cricket Ireland.

14. Brian Lara

  • Country: Trinidad
  • Bowling: Right-arm leg break
  • Role: Batsman

Brian Charles Lara is a former international cricket player who is considered the greatest batsman in history. He has succeeded in acing the test batting many times and is a multi-record holder. Also, Brian holds the record for the most score in first-class cricket. 

Similarly, he has a record for the highest runs in a test match with 28 runs. Brian made his breakthrough in 1978, when he scored 498 runs, creating a worldwide record. 

Finally, with his captainship, he won several matches, which earned him the name of “The Prince.” In addition, Brian was an honored member of the Order of Australia and was placed in the ICC’s Hall of Fame. 

13. Eoin Morgan

  • Country: England
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Role: Batsman

The next best captain in cricket on our list is Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan. He is the captain of the England team who led his team to their first win in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. 

He is also the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders and London Spirit. In May 2021, during the ODI and T20l matches,  Eoin scored the all-time leading run and most-capped. Moreover, he also recorded the fastest fifty in ODI and the highest sixes in the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Additionally, he is also the first cricket player from England to play in 100 T20ls and the 57th as team captain.

As of 2019 statistics, he has played for 16 tests (England), 233 (ODI), and 81 (T20ls). Overall, he has a record of 700 test runs, 7348 ODIs, and 1810 runs in the T20l. 

Also, read Top 10 Funniest Moments in History of Cricket.

12. Mahela Jayawardene

  • Country: Sri Lanka 
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Batsman

A Sri Lankan cricket team captain, Mahela Jayawardene, full name Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene, is the best captain team Srilanka has ever had. After retiring as a professional cricket player, he started working as a cricket coach. 

The 5ft 8 inches batsman of Sri Lanka made his debut in 1997 and 1998 for ODI. Moreover, Mahela is one of the recipients of the highest partnership in First Class Cricket ever, along with Kumar Sangakkara, his teammate.

Mahela scored 624 runs in the 1st test match of Sri Lanka against South Africa, and overall he has played 652 matches internationally. He is the 1st Sri Lankan player and captain to score over 10,000 runs (in ODI). 

He has scored 374 test scores which remains the highest record ever by a right-handed batsman. Currently, Jayawardene is the Chairman of the Sri Lankan National Sports Council

11. Imran Khan

  • Country: Pakistan
  • Batting: Right-handed batsman 
  • Bowling: Right-arm fast 
  • Role: All-rounder

The current prime minister of Pakistan was a former international cricket player and captain of the national team. Khan led his team to a 1992 Cricket World Cup win. 

Imran Khan (Source: Commons Wikimedia)
Imran Khan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Only at the age of 18 did Khan make his international debut in a match against England. Khan was made the team captain in 1982 and retired in 1992. He is known as an all-rounder who recorded 3807 runs and 362 wickets. 

Finally, Khan is also instated in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and was the Man of the Series in a match with West India in the 1980s, where he achieved 23 wickets.

10. Hansie Cronje

  • Country: South Africa 
  • Batting: Right-handed 
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: All-rounder 

Hansie Cronje, full name Wessel Johannes Cronje, is a South African international cricket player and their national team captain. In 2004, Cronje was nominated as the 11th greatest South African.

At the age of 18, Cronje made his debut in a match against Transcall and turned heads all around. Then, in the 1992 World Cup, he displayed all his greatest potential as a captain and gained love globally. 

Similarly, as a South African national team captain, he recorded 27 test wins and 11 losses. In the One Day International Team, Cronje succeeded in swimming 99 games out of 138. Having 99 wins, Hansie stands as the captain with the most victories in history.

Lastly, he also holds the record for most wins in a row by a captain in ODI matches with 130 wins.

9. Sourav Ganguly

  • Country: India
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Bastman 

Sourav Chandidas Ganguly is an Indian former cricket captain of the Indian national team. In India, he is lovingly known as the Maharaja (King) of Indian Cricket.

Similarly, as a professional cricketer, he established himself as one of the greatest batsmen in history. Ganguly was also known as the God of the Offside because of his refined stroke play. 

During the match with England, he won the Man of the Match award, and in the 1999 World Cup, he scored 318 runs with Rahul Dravid. Ganguly was announced the team captain in 2000 and led the team to the 2003 World Cup finals. 

Furthermore, he currently holds the record for the 8th highest run-scorer in ODI and is considered the greatest ODI batsman. He is also the third player in cricket history to score 10000 runs.

8. Virat Kohli

  • Country: India 
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Top-order batsman 

At present, Virat Kohli is the captain of the Indian national team and plays for Delhi in India’s domestic matches. The current captain of team India is known as one of the greatest batsmen of this time. 

Moreover, in the 2008 Under-19 WC, he led the team to win and, after a few months, made his debut in ODI. Additionally, Kohli also won the 2011 Cricket World Cup and made his Test debut the same year.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

Significantly, Virat was ranked number one in ICC rankings in 2013 and won the Man of Tournament in ICC World Twenty20 in 2014 and 2016. Moreover, he has won several awards like ICC test player of the year, ODI team of the year, and ICC Men’s ODI cricketer of the decade.

For this reason, he was also named the CNN-News18 Indian of the year in 2018.

7. Mohammad Azharuddin

  • Country: India
  • Batting: Right-handed batsman 
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Batsman

Mohammad Azharuddin is a former Indian cricket player and captain of the national team. As a cricketer, he has played 99 tests matches and 334 A One Day International (ODI).

Azharuddin was known for his refined wrist strokeplay and elegant batting technique. Mohammad has led his team to 90 ODI wins and 14 test wins. In his career, he has scored 6215 runs with 22 100s. 

Currently, he serves as the working President of the Telangana Pradesh Congress.

6. Arjuna Ranatunga

  • Country: Sri Lanka 
  • Batting: Left-hand 
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Batsman

Deshamanya Arjuna Ranatunga is a former Sri Lankan captain of the national cricket team. He led his team to a 1993 Cricket World Cup win and was an integral part of bringing the Sri Lankan team to rise.

He was known as one of the heavy-weight players ever to play an international game. In a match against Zimbabwe, he scored 313 runs, making ODI history in the 1992 World Cup. 

Overall, he was the main reason for the betterment of the Sri Lankan team and the brain behind their strategies and teamwork.

Without a doubt, Arjuna is a remarkable captain who represented Sri Lanka at the international level in 93 tests and 239 ODIs.

5. Allan Border

  • Country: Australia
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Bowling: Slow left-arm orthodox
  • Role: Middle-order batsman

Allan Robert Border is a former Australian national team cricket player and was captain for several years. During his professional cricket career, he has played over 150 test matches. 

He created a record for most test matches with 156 but was later broken. Allan has crossed 11,474 test runs and hit 27 centuries in his professional career. 

Unquestionably, he is Australia’s most capped player and is included in the ICC Cricket Hall of fame. Moreover, he was also named Q150’s sports legend. 

4. Graeme Smith

  • Country: South Africa
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm off-break
  • Role: Batsman

The next batsman on our list of the best captains in cricket history is Graeme Craig Smith. Smith is a retired South African cricket player and captain. He was given the captainship in 2003 and sustained the position until his retirement. 

Craig is known as one of the best captains of all time at the young age of 22, and he was named the South African cricket team captain. In addition, he is profound for being the most capped captain with 107 in a match with England. 

In addition, he recorded double centuries, one of them being 259 at Lord’s, the most incredible score ever by a foreign cricketer. 

3. Stephen Fleming

  • Country: New Zealand 
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Batsman

Stephen Paul Fleming is a retired New Zealand cricket player and coach. Currently, he is the head of the Chennai Super Kings, an IPL team. 

Clearly, he is known as one of the best New Zealand batsmen because of his strategic thinking and leading abilities. Also, with 111 Test appearances, he is the 2nd most capped player.

Furthermore, he is the longest-working captain and the most successful, who led the team to 28 wins. 

Indeed, Paul is the victorious captain of the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy, which stands as New Zealand’s only ICC award.

2. MS Dhoni

  • Country: India
  • Batting: Right-handed 
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Wicket-keeper batsman 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the well-known and respected cricket players and captains of the Indian national team. He has led India in several national and international games from 2007 to 2017. 

Similarly, he is the only cricket captain to bag all the ICC awards, namely ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions, and ICC World Twenty20. 

Moreover, in cricket history, Dhoni is known for his highest run score of 10000 plays runs. Also, he is the only captain who led the team to sweep the Australian team in a test series.

Finally, Time magazine named Dhoni the Most Influential Person of 2011. 

1. Ricky Ponting

  • Country: Australia 
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium 
  • Role: Batsman 

Ricky Thomas Ponting is a former cricket player and captain of the Australian team.

Similarly, in international cricket,  Thomas is the most successful team captain who has won over 220 games. Ricky has a 68% win rating and is the greatest batsman of his era. 

Best Captain in Cricket Ricky Ponting
Best Captain in Cricket Ricky Ponting

Moreover, he is the 2nd cricket player with the most international centuries and the highest-rated batsman in over 50 years. 

Lastly, Ponting has led Australia to their 2nd Ashes win, 2007 Cricket World Cup, and ICC Champions. 


All the players mentioned have done a marvelous job leading their team and fully deserve to be on the list of our best captains in cricket. So, did your favorite team captain make it to the list?

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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