Top 10 most successful ODI captains in history

International cricket has seen astute captains, ice-cool captains, captains who were great man managers, inspirational leaders, and even young captains who tasted a tremendous level of success as captains in ODI cricket. From Ricky Ponting to Graeme Smith to Arjuna Ranatunga to MS Dhoni, we have seen leaders on the field and then as batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders, leading from the front. Without being also-rans, the aforementioned quartet and at least a handful of others boast distinguished captaincy records that they will be proud of and no doubt are a benchmark for the captains of today and tomorrow.

And, here’s a look at the captains who have won the most and highest number of One-Day International matches and bagged major titles and brought laurels to their countries.

List of captains with most ODI wins and highest winning percentage

ODI captain Period of captaincy Matches as captain Won Lost Win/loss percentage Titles won and achievements
Ricky Ponting


2002-12 230 165 51 71.73/22.17% Two ICC Cricket World Cups (2003 and 2007), two ICC Champions Trophies (2006 and 2009)
Hansie Cronje

South Africa

1994-2000 138 99 35 71.73/25.36% ICC Knockout 1998 winner
Sir Vivian Richards

West Indies

1980-91 105 67 36 63.80/34.28% He captained the West Indies in more than 100 ODIs
Steve Waugh


1997-2002 106 67 35 63.20/33.01% ICC Cricket World Cup 1999
Graeme Smith

South Africa

2003-11 150 92 51 61.33/34.00% Youngest South African captain (22 years and 82 days)
Wasim Akram


1993-2000 109 66 41 60.55/37.61% Led Pakistan to the final of 1999 Cricket World Cup
Allan Border


1985-94 178 107 67 60.11/37.64% 1987 World Cup winning captain
AB de Villiers

South Africa

2012-17 103 59 39 57.28/37.86% Third-highest win percentage for a South African captain in ODIs
Sanath Jayasuriya


1998-2003 118 66 47 55.93/39.83% Srilanka, under the captaincy of the Matara Mauler, were joint winners of the ICC Champions Trophy 2002
MS Dhoni


2007-16 199 110 74 55.27/37.18% Most successful Indian one-day captain who won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and the 2013 Champions Trophy

From the table above, what we can deduce is that Ponting’s ODI captaincy record is head and shoulders above those of his counterparts’s—in every way—whether they were his contemporaries or captains before the Tasmanian became Australia’s one-day captain in 2002. The Tasmanian also has the highest number of ODI wins and winning percentage. Most successful ODI captains have been identified by their win percentage, with the criteria being a minimum of 100 ODIs as captain for their national team.


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