Leadership plays an important role in the success of a team in any sport, including cricket, and getting to lead their country is arguably the most important achievement in a cricketer’s career.

Ever since the first game of cricket back in the 19th century, we have witnessed some of the finest masterminds of the game, who, through their class and genius, captained their national teams to great heights.

Even though the position is filled with pressure and responsibility, some players have fulfilled these duties with flying colours and have taken their team to the next level.

From MS Dhoni to Allan Border, here’s the list of the best captains in the world.

Ricky Ponting | 220 wins in 324 matches

Former Australian cricket team captain Ricky Ponting is statistically the best captain in the world, winning 220 out of 324 matches, which is a whopping 67.9 per cent.

Ponting led Australia to two consecutive 50-over World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007, in addition to twin Champions Trophy wins in 2006 and 2009.

Known for his aggression on the field, Ponting is the leading scorer in ODIs and Tests for Australia, scoring 10,000+ runs in each discipline. Moreover, he is the only player to win more than 100 test matches.

MS Dhoni | 178 wins in 332 matches

Former Team India skipper MS Dhoni is next on the list of best captains in the world, with an overall win percentage of 53.61 across formats, winning 178 of the 332 matches while leading his team.

Nicknamed “Thala”, he guided the Indian cricket team to its most successful phase between 2007 and 2018, where he captained his side to three ICC trophies, namely T20 World Cup 2007, World Cup 2011, Champions Trophy 2013.

Interestingly, under his leadership in 2009, Team India attained the best Test cricket ranking of No. 1 for the first time in their history.

Graeme Smith | 163 wins in 286 matches

Former South African opener Graeme Smith is also among the best captains in the world, winning 163 out of the 286 matches he led his side in. 

Graeme Smith became the Proteas’ youngest-ever captain when he was given the role at the age of 22, with an experience of just eight Test matches. 

Under his leadership, South Africa got recognised as one of the best touring teams. He holds the record of being the only captain to play over 100 Test matches and register the highest number of wins in Test matches as a captain with 53 victories.

The major highlights of his glittering career are the two double centuries that he smashed in back-to-back Tests against England at Edgbaston and Lord’s during the South Africa Tour of England in 2003. 

Allan Border | 139 wins in 271 games

With 139 wins in 271 games, Allan Border is regarded as one of the greatest Australian captains and batters of all time. He too scored more than 15,000 runs in an illustrious career spanning over 15 years

Coming in at a time when Australian cricket was enduring a tough phase after Kim Hughes' resignation as skipper in 1984/85, Border led his team to glory in the 1987 World Cup, followed by Ashes success. 

Allan Border also holds the record for leading a side in the most consecutive Test matches (93) between December 1984 and March 1994. 

Border also holds an astonishing record of being the only player in the history of the game to score 150 runs in each innings of a Test match, when he achieved the feat in the drawn third Test of the Australia tour of Pakistan 1979/80.

Virat Kohli | 135 wins in 213 matches

Along with MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli is the most successful captain the Indian cricket team, with 135 wins in 213 games at an fantastic winning rate of 63.38 per cent.

Kohli captained Team India for the first time in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in December 2014. He scored a century in the first innings of that game, becoming the fourth Indian to score a hundred on test captaincy debut.

The Delhi-born cricketer broke a plethora of records during his stint as national cricket team captain. He currently has 71 international centuries to his name, which is second only to his fellow countryman Sachin Tendulkar, tied with Ricky Ponting.

Best captain in the world

Player Team Matches Won Lost Win Percentage
Ricky Ponting Australia 324 220 77 67.9
MS Dhoni India 332 178 120 54.61
Graeme Smith South Africa 286 163 89 56.99
Allan Border Australia 271 139 89 51.29
Virat Kohli India 213 135 60 63.38
Stephen Fleming New Zealand 303 128 135 42.24
Hansie Cronje South Africa 191 126 46 65.96
Eoin Morgan England 198 118 67 59.59
Steve Waugh Australia 163 108 44 66.25
Mohammad Azharuddin India 221 104 90 47.05