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5 Most Successful ODI Captains

ODI cricket is one of the most exciting formats of the game that has seen plenty of players grow into absolute legends. The first ODI was played between Australia and Team England

on 5th January, 1971. Half a century later, more than 4000 one-day internationals have been played so far, which includes 12 ODI World Cups and other world championships too.

Cricket is a team sport in which the captain plays a huge role in how a team functions. There have been many amazing captains across different nations who have led their respective teams to titles and glory. But who have been the most successful captains in the history of ODI cricket? Read on to find out.

5. MS Dhoni (India)

Record as Captain

Matches: 200 | Wins: 110 | Losses: 74 | Tie/NR: 5/11 | Win% 58.2

MS Dhoni remains the only captain to date to win all three white-ball ICC trophies – ODI World Cup, the Champions Trophy and the T20 World Cup. Cricket has always been the most popular sport in India but it lacked a proper leader. The arrival of Dhoni completely changed that. Before him, Sourav Ganguly was a good captain but India still wasn’t able to win ICC trophies under his leadership.

Once Dhoni took over, Team India won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, became ODI World Champions after 28 years in 2011. India then also won the Champions Trophy in 2013 and qualified for the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup under him.

In all, Dhoni captained India in 200 ODIs during which, India won 110 matches, a win percentage of 58.2. Dhoni retired from ODI cricket in 2020 as one of the best finishers the game has ever seen.

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4. Allan Border (Australia)

Record as Captain

 Matches: 178 | Wins: 107 | Losses: 67 | Tie/NR: 1/3 | Win% 61.1

Australia’s first World Cup winning captain in 1987, Allan Border changed the landscape of Australia cricket team and paved the way for the others to follow in his footsteps. Overall, Border captained Australia in 178 ODIs, winning 107 matches, a win percentage of 61.1, making him one of the most ODI successful captains Australia have ever had.

Border was first made captain during the 1984-85 season. Cricket was always a popular sport in Australia but only after Border took over, it became a household name. The team went into the 1987 ODI World Cup with little expectations, but they proved everyone wrong by beating arch-rivals England in the final by 7 runs. The win helped Border achieve cult status in Australian cricket history.

3. Graeme Smith (South Africa)

Record as Captain

 Matches: 150 | Wins: 92 | Losses: 51 | Tie/NR: 1/6 | Win% 63.8

Graeme Smith can be identified as one of the most inspirational captains to take the cricket field. He took over as South Africa’s youngest ever captain, at the age of 22, amidst match-fixing allegations and transformed the side into a world-class unit. He captained South Africa in 150 ODIs, out of which the team won 92 matches, and lost 51, a win percentage of 63.8.

Smith was first made captain in Test cricket and soon took over across formats. The team showed remarkable improvement once Smith took over and secured wins all over the cricketing world. He is also credited for making players like Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn into successful cricketers.

2. Hansie Cronje (South Africa)

Record as Captain

 Matches: 138 | Wins: 99 | Losses: 36 | Tie/NR: 0/3 | Win% 73.3

The late Hansie Cronje lost a lot of his reputation due to his involvement in the match-fixing scandal but he remains one of the most successful captains to ever lead an ODI team. As the captain of the South Africa team, Cronje achieved 99 wins in 138 matches, a win percentage of 73.3%. He is the most successful captain for South Africa in ODI cricket and was a key component in helping the side get back to its feet in the mid-nineties.

Cronje is the only player to play in 100+ consecutive ODI matches as captain. While South Africa did not win an ICC World Cup title under Cronje, they scaled heights very few teams have managed. Cronje passed away in a plane crash in 2002.

1. Ricky Ponting (Australia)

Record as Captain

 Matches: 230 | Wins: 165 | Losses: 51 | Tie/NR: 2/12 | Win% 75.6

Ricky Ponting has been one of the successful and influential captains the game has ever seen. He took Australian cricket to heights that only a few captains can dream of. Ponting led Australia in 230 ODIs, won 165 matches and lost only 51 matches. A winning percentage of 75.6 is unprecedented and a feat that might not be achieved ever again.

Ponting holds the record of captaining the most matches for a single side in ODIs. Aside from Clive Lloyd, he is the only captain to have led his side to 2 ODI Cricket World Cup (2003 and 2007) wins.

There are a lot more influential captains that have changed the fate of their sides. Arjuna Ranatunga from Sri Lanka, Clive Lloyd of the West Indies, and Stephen Fleming from New Zealand were extremely impressive as the captain of their respective sides. Over the years, there have been many such successful leaders in ODI cricket. Who according to you is the most inspirational captain in the current time?

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