Best Cricket Captains Of All-Time

Eoin Morgan and MS Dhoni are two of the best limited-overs cricket captains of all-time. Both have won an ICC Cricket World Cup.

Best Cricket Captains Ever

Captaincy is a difficult job. One has to think about their own game and the game of 10 others in their team. Tactics. And then there are the off-field issues associated with leadership. The best cricket captains of all-time have dealt with all of these points admirably and have led their side to success.

The cricket captain with the most wins is not necessarily the best captain though. The one who can gain the most out of their side is. Top cricket captains currently include the likes of Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli.

But, who are the best cricket captains of all-time?

Number (1-3)

India’s cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni poses with the Man of the match and the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy near the Gateway of India during a photo call at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on April 3, 2011. India won the Cricket World Cup for the first time since 1983 with a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka on April 2. AFP PHOTO/ Punit PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

MS Dhoni

Arguably the best ODI and T20 captain in cricket history. MS Dhoni has been responsible for India’s best period in white-ball cricket ever.

India won the 2007 World T20, 2011 Cricket World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy under his captaincy. He is a very calm and composed captain and doesn’t wilt under pressure.

Like Taylor, tactically very smart, MS Dhoni massively improved the players that he had and gave each one a set role.

Imran Khan

The greatest captain in Pakistan’s history and perhaps one of the finest of all-time.

Imran Khan was cut from a different cloth. His side were underdogs in the 1992 Cricket World Cup, but against the odds they won the tournament. “Cornered tigers” as he called them, Pakistan were a fantastic side under Imran Khan in both tests and ODIs.

Mark Taylor

A man whom Shane Warne describes as “The best captain that I ever played under.”

Mark Taylor was responsible for the rise in Australian Cricket in the mid 1990s. He took over the good work started by Allan Border previously and took his team to the summit. They beat the world champions (by reputation) West Indies in their own backyard in 1995 – a series win which kick started their dominance.

Taylor was a tactically shrewd captain. He believed in the resources that he had available and always got the best out of his players. Perhaps Australia’s best cricket captain in the modern era.

MS Dhoni, Imran Khan and Mark Taylor are numbers (1-3) on our list of “best cricket captains of all-time.”


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Number (4-6)

Graeme Smith is one of the best cricket captains of all-time. He is the most successful South African and test captain.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – MARCH 01: Graeme Smith of South Africa and Michael Clarke of Australia look on during the coin toss before the third test match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands cricket ground on March 1, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Graeme Smith

The only test captain to lead his side in over 100 games, Smith was the driving force behind South Africa’s success between 2006 and 2015. He built up a fabulous test side that only lost two test series in almost a decade – both at home to Australia.

His 53 wins are also the most by any captain in test history. Rather than a tactical captain, Graeme Smith was more of a leader by example. He often scored big centuries in the fourth innings to haul his side to victory.

Edgbaston 2008 and Perth 2008 being prime examples. Both led to South Africa’s first test series win in England and Australia post readmission.

Michael Clarke

A captain that many wouldn’t place on this list perhaps.

Michael Clarke was a very underrated captain. He managed to get the best out of a declining Australian Cricket Team. He was very very aggressive with his field placings – best illustrated during his 4-0 loss in India.

Sure, it backfired that time but more often than not it paid off. He felt he had to do such things on that tour because the opposition were off a much higher quality in those conditions.

A 5-0 Ashes victory in 2013/14, a 2-1 win in South Africa in 2014 and the 2015 Cricket World Cup triumph just go to show how well Clarke did as Australian captain. He made it clear from ball one that he was looking to win.

Ricky Ponting

Australia’s best limited-overs captain, Ricky Ponting was the superstar that oversaw two Cricket World Cup wins – 2003 and 2007.

He was a strong leader and personality. Ponting decided that aggressive captaincy was the best way forward and wanted his team to always play on the front foot. Ponting was the player who decided to stick with Andrew Symonds, knowing that he had match-winning abilities.

He was rewarded for this at the 2003 Cricket World Cup, in which Symonds saved Australia against Pakistan.

Graeme Smith, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting are numbers (4-6) on our list of “best cricket captains of all-time.”


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Number (7-10)

KOLKATA, WEST BENGAL – APRIL 03: Darren Sammy, Captain of the West Indies celebrates victory during the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 Final match between England and West Indies at Eden Gardens on April 3, 2016 in Kolkata, India. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Arjuna Ranatunga

Ranatunga helped Sri Lanka remain reasonably competitive in test matches abroad and even win some, despite not having enough quality. Examples include the 1989 tour to Australia and the 1998 tour of England.

His biggest prize though was winning the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Despite the pressure of chasing in a final, he backed his strength and decided to go against the norm and it paid off.

Darren Sammy

A left-field pick based purely on his T20 credentials.

Darren Sammy won two T20 World Cups as captain of the West Indies Cricket Team. One of his greatest strengths was his ability to handle and manage big name players such as Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwyane Bravo.

He was a very calm captain as pretty much all others have been on this list.

Eoin Morgan

The man who revolutionised England’s white-ball cricket.

Eoin Morgan took over from the shambles of 2015 and built his own ODI side. He put together a team full of potential talent and nurtured them to bring the best out of them. Along with the coaching staff, he allowed the players to play with freedom, knowing that they would not be dropped.

His efforts helped England win the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Mike Brearley 

His man-management skills were second-to-none. Mike Brearley had a poor record as a batsmen in international cricket but he managed to get the best out of his team. Rod Marsh described him as “Having a degree in people.”

Brearley inspired Botham to perform at his best in the 1981 Ashes and turned the series around with his captaincy. He also has a fantastic Ashes record as captain of England.

Arjuna Ranatunga, Darren Sammy, Eoin Morgan and Mike Brearley are numbers (7-10) on our list of “best cricket captains of all-time.”



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