They are a squad containing some talented players, but the West Indies haven’t always combined well as a team. Leading them has been a difficult task at times, but here are the players who have skippered the Windies more successfully than others.
Who is the Most Successful West Indies Captain?
Clive Lloyd is the most successful captain of the West Indies cricket team. A prolific left handed batsman, Lloyd led the side as they won the first ever men’s World Cups in 1975 and 1979.
He skippered the team in both tests and ODIs for a long period of time. In 74 tests and 84 One Day Internationals over 11 years, Lloyd led the Windies to exactly 100 victories.
Top 8 West Indies Cricket Captains
Clive Lloyd led the West Indies from 1974 to 1985 and the team became a serious force in world cricket during that time. He had some serious talent at his disposal, but it was the battery of fast bowlers that made the Windies such fearsome opponents.
They would also field some world class batsman and the skipper was a prolific run scorer across his international career. In Clive Lloyd, the team had a highly respected captain who won 77.71% of his games in charge. That’s an impressive return and one that makes him the best West Indian skipper of all time.
He was an important member of the side under Clive Lloyd and, as a captain, Viv Richards would continue the good work of his predecessor. As one of the best batsmen in the world, Richards still had a role to play with the bat and his sheer weight of runs helped get the team over the line at times.
The new skipper also had those exceptional fast bowlers and they helped Viv Richards to earn an excellent win ratio of 65.04%. He won 27 of his 50 tests, along with 67 of 105 One Day Internationals.
After Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes enjoyed very brief spells as captain before Richie Richardson took over on a more regular basis. He was in charge for 11 games in two formats from 1991 to 1996, and he restored calm to the side as the Windies continued to be a force in the game.
Richardson was another exceptionally talented batsman who would score more than 12,000 international runs. As skipper of the West Indies, he won 11 of his 24 tests, losing six times.
Richie Richardson had a better record in ODIs with 46 victories in 87 games, leading to an impressive overall win percentage of 55.88%.
He’s one of the West Indies’ most recent captains and I’m a little surprised that Jason Holder isn’t still in the job. He’s an effective bowler, and we shouldn’t forget that he has also scored a test double century.
Holder led the Windies in 37 test matches between 2017 and 2021. The team won 11, they lost 21 and there were five draws. In the limited overs arena, Holder skippered in 88 ODIs and three T20is. He lost all of his Twenty20 matches but won 26 of those 88 One Day Internationals.
Prolific left handed batter Brian Lara was another man who liked to lead from the front. He still holds the records for the highest scores in tests and first class cricket, and those runs were vital in making the West Indies an ongoing force in world cricket.
As he struggled to keep the team competitive, Lara led the West Indies in 47 test matches and 125 ODIs. His record of just ten test wins is a modest one, but the Trinidadian fared better in One Day Internationals, winning 59 of those 125 games.
He may have held the West Indies’ captaincy for a brief period of time, but Frank Worrell earned one of the best win-loss ratios in test match history. We will largely remember him as one of the ‘three Ws’ and, along with Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes, Worrell helped to build one of the most formidable international batting line ups in the 1960s.
He took over the captaincy of the team in 1960 after Gerry Alexander had left the role. We know that there were fewer test matches in those days, but it’s still surprising to learn that Frank Worrell skippered for just 15 games between 1960 and 1963.
With a strong team to support him, Worrell enjoyed victories in nine of those tests. There were also three draws and three defeats.
Sir Garfield Sobers
Many still think of Garry Sobers as the world’s best all-rounder. There are some other contenders but, as a batsman, bowler and captain, he’s surely the best all-round cricketer to come out of the West Indies.
Sobers inherited the captaincy of the national team in 1964 when Frank Worrell left the role. In a time when test matches were the sole focus of international cricket sides, he led the team in 39 of those games up until the New Zealand series of 1971/72.
The West Indies won just nine of those 39 games which is a modest return for any skipper. The team were, however, tough to beat and suffered just 10 defeats during Sobers’ tenure. The remaining 20 games were all drawn.
For many, Carl Hooper may have seemed a strange choice as captain when he took over from Brian Lara as the ODI captain in 1997. A useful all-rounder, he had quite a laid back approach to the game and never seemed completely certain of his place in the side.
Hooper would also take over from Jimmy Adams as the Windies’ test match captain in 2000. In the red ball format, results were mixed. Hooper would avoid defeat in 50% of his 22 tests, but he only won four of those with seven draws.
Things were a little better in One Day Internationals. Carl Hooper skippered in 49 ODIs between 1997 and 2003 and the West Indies won 23 of those games. There were 24 defeats and two games were declared as ‘no results.’
I have a lot of admiration for the current West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite and he nearly made it onto this list. He scores important runs as skipper and the side seem to respect him, but the results aren’t quite good enough, particularly against the stronger nations.
Among the players who have made it into this round up, I’m not surprised to see Clive Lloyd in first place. He was a great leader of a talented team of individuals who were the best in the world in both formats from around 1975 to 1985.
Lloyd has been a tough act to follow but others, most notably Viv Richards, have also taken on the captaincy role with some success. In general, it’s been fascinating to assess these records and to see how the skippers rank.
The challenge, as always, is for others to join them. Kraigg Brathwaite is doing a decent job in tests, while the limited overs roles have been shared around in recent years. Can any of the current crop of players make the West Indies a force in world cricket once again?