One Day International Cricket was introduced at the start of the 1970s. In just over 50 years, we have seen some great teams emerge and they’ve all been led by some exceptional skippers. Here are the most successful captains in ODI cricket history.
Who is the Most Successful ODI Captain?
Based on win percentages over a minimum of 35 games, Clive Lloyd of the West Indies is the most successful captain in the ODI format.
As the leader of the West Indies from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, Lloyd enjoyed a win percentage of 77.71, more than any other skipper in this format.
Top 10 Most Successful ODI Captains – With the Highest Winning Percentage
CH Lloyd (WI)
Clive Lloyd was the captain of the West Indies ODI team from 1975 through to 1985. His win percentage of 77.71 was obtained from 84 total matches and the side won no fewer than 64 of those games.
Of the remaining 20 matches, the West Indies lost 18, there was one tie and one no result. Of course, this great run of success included two wins in the first two editions of the ICC World Cup in 1975 and 1979.
RT Ponting (AUS/ICC)
Australia are the most successful team in One Day International cricket, so it’s no surprise to see many of their captains returning high win percentages. In the case of Ricky Ponting, he finished his reign as Aussie skipper with an impressive figure of 76.14%
Ponting captained in no fewer than 229 ODI games between 2002 and 2012. During that period, Australia won the ICC World Cup twice – in 2003 and 2007. There were 164 wins in total while Ponting was in charge, together with 51 losses, two ties and 12 no results.
WJ Cronje (SA)
There is so much controversy surrounding Hansie Cronje that we tend to forget how good he was as a player and leader. When he chose to play the game fairly, Cronje enjoyed a particularly good run in the ODI format.
Like other South African skippers, Cronje couldn’t quite bring home a major ICC trophy, but he still managed to return an exceptional win percentage of 73.7. He led the team in 138 ODI games between 1994 and 2000. South Africa won 99 of those games, while losing 35. In addition, there was one tie and three no results.
F du Plessis (SA)
Of the many captains to have succeeded Hansie Cronje, Faf Du Plessis has returned the best results. He also failed to land that elusive ICC trophy but, after six years in charge of the team, he had secured a win percentage of 73.68.
Du Plessis only skippered in 39 ODI games between 2013 and 2019, so we do have a much smaller sample size here. South Africa won 28 of those matches, losing ten and there was one no result.
V Kohli (IND)
Virat Kohli is the most successful captain in the history of Indian One Day International cricket. He may not have been able to win the tournaments that his predecessor MS Dhoni achieved, but he was technically the best national skipper in terms of numbers.
In 95 One Day Internationals between 2013 and 2021, Kohli led India to victory in 85 of those games. There were 27 defeats plus one tie and two no results. All of this adds up to an excellent win percentage of 70.43.
MJ Clarke (AUS)
Michael Clarke inherited Australia’s international captaincy from Ricky Ponting and he continued his predecessor’s good work. In 74 ODI games between 2008 and 2015, Australia won 50 matches while Clarke was in charge.
During his period as captain, Australia also added their fifth ICC World Cup trophy in 2015. Clarke also oversaw 21 defeats, while three games finished with no result. In total, his ODI win percentage was a healthy 70.42.
KC Sangakkara (SL)
One of the most prolific batters in the game, Kumar Sangakkara also enjoyed a productive spell in charge of the Sri Lankan national team. In One Day International cricket, he skippered his first game in 2009 and he stepped down from the role just two years later.
It was a busy period for the side as Sri Lanka played no fewer than 45 ODI matches in those two years. They won 27 and lost 14 with four games finishing with no results. This leaves Kumar Sangakkara with a win – loss ratio of 65.85%
EJG Morgan (ENG)
Eoin Morgan’s greatest success as skipper of England’s ODI team came in 2019. That was the year that the side claimed their first ever ICC World Cup title in the 50-over format. The games that were won, up to and including the final against New Zealand, helped Morgan to finish with a win percentage of 65.25 while he was in charge.
A former Ireland international, Morgan captained his first game in 2011. When he retired in 2022, he had skippered in 126 matches. England won 76 of those games, while suffering 40 losses. There were two ties and eight no results.
SR Waugh (AUS)
Australia became the dominant force in all forms of cricket while Steve Waugh was in charge. With world class players such as Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath at his disposal, Waugh made the team almost unbeatable in red ball and white ball matches.
In the ODI arena, Steve Waugh finished with a win percentage of 65.23 as captain. There were 67 victories from 106 games, and that record includes a series of wins in Australia’s successful 1999 World Cup campaign. Waugh suffered 35 losses, while there were three ties and one no result.
IVA Richards (WI)
It may have been a daunting task to follow Clive Lloyd as West Indian ODI captain, but there were no issues for Viv Richards. While he couldn’t quite match his predecessor’s record win percentage, he still returned a healthy 65.04%.
Richards was the West Indies’ official ODI captain for a number of years up to 1991. He had first taken the job as a stand in for Lloyd in 1980. In total, he skippered in 105 games, winning 67. There were 36 defeats while two games finished as ‘no results,’
There are a couple of things to point out here. Firstly, the percentages listed refer to a win-loss ratio. They exclude any tied games, together with those that finished with no results for whatever reason. We’ve also used a larger sample size with Faf Du Plessis’ 39 games as the lowest number.
It’s also worth remembering that we’re just talking about the statistics. It could be argued, for example, that MS Dhoni was a more successful captain than Virat Kohli because of the trophies that he won. It’s all about those win-loss percentages and, on that basis, here are the most successful captains in ODI cricket history.