Being at the helm of national affairs is a huge responsibility and a matter of pride. Cricket is no exception.

Being a long-time captain speaks volumes about a player’s capability of leading their teams to success. However, captaining a national-level cricket team sans any breaks takes a special kind of dedication and mental fortitude - a very rare trait.

Here’s a list of players who have captained their respective sides in most consecutive ODI cricket matches.

Hansie Cronje, South Africa - 130 matches 

South Africa’s Hansie Cronje captained 130 One Day Internationals consecutively from December 1994 to March 2000. While his term as the Protea skipper ended under unfortunate circumstances, Cronje managed to etch South Africa’s name at the top of this record list.

Cronje’s first match of this captaincy streak was just two years after his debut in April 1992. Cronje's final game as the captain of the South African team was on March 30, 2000, which was also his final ODI, but his streak ended on March 27th. Shauk Pollock captained one game in between. 

Mohammad Azharuddin, India - 98 matches

Mohammad Azharuddin is one of India’s most iconic captains and led the country in 98 consecutive ODI matches between December 1991 and May 1996. 

The first game of Azharuddin’s memorable streak was a thrilling tie that is still spoken about till date, a low scoring match against West Indies. While India scored only 126 in the first innings of the fifty-over game, they also restricted the Windies to the same score, forcing a draw. 

His last match of the 98-game streak was against England in Manchester, which resulted in a four-wicket loss for the visitors. Azharuddin played in the Indian Blues until June 2000, his last ODI. 

Shaun Pollock, South Africa - 89

South African great Shaun Pollock appears high up on this list. Between April 2000 and March 2003, Pollock captained 89 consecutive ODIs for South Africa. 

The first match of this streak was an ODI against Australia in Durban, where South Africa reigned supreme. On March 3, 2003, he captained the last game of this streak. It came against Sri Lanka and ended in a tie via the Duckworth Lewis method. 

Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka - 85

One of Sri Lanka’s most loved captains, Mahela Jayawardene, captained the national team for 85 matches on the trot between March 2006 and February 2009. 

In the second ODI of Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, Jayawardene started this streak that would go on to be etched in the record books. He took over from Marvan Atapattu and although he got out for a duck in that game, it was the start of a long reign as the Lankan captaincy.

The final game of the streak was the final ODI during India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2009, where the hosts posted a 68-run win. 

Alistair Campbell, Zimbabwe - 76

Zimbabwe’s Alistair Campbell has captained the most consecutive ODIs for his team and sits fifth on the international list with 76 back-to-back games at the helm. The former Zimbabwe captain took up the skipper’s mantle in every ODI his team played between August 1996 and October 1999.

The first match of this streak was against Australia at Colombo in the Singer World Series between the two mentioned teams, India and hosts Sri Lanka. It ended in a massive 125-run loss for Zimbabwe.

The final game of this streak was played against Australia as well, this time at Harare. However, the result remained similar - a nine-wicket disappointing loss for Zimbabwe. 

Most consecutive matches as captain in ODIs



No. of matches


Hansie Cronje

South Africa


Dec 1994 - Mar 2000

Mohammed Azharuddin



Dec 1991 - May 1996

Shaun Pollock

South Africa


Apr 2000 - Mar 2003

Mahela Jayawardene

Sri Lanka


Mar 2006 - Feb 2009

Alistair Campbell



Aug 1996 - Oct 1999

Author: Varsha Badrinath

Featured photo: AFP / ETIENNE ROTHBART