But in the history of One-day international cricket, certain players have proved that they were just made for the job of marshalling the troops from the front. World cricket, in recent times has seen that the most high-profile job can be made to look easy, when the likes of Ricky Ponting, MS Dhoni and others are at the helm of affairs.
TimesofIndia.com here takes a look at the players who represented their country the most times as captain in the ODI format.
Ricky Ponting (Australia – 230 ODIs)
A dazzling batsman and a leader par excellence, Australian legend Ricky Ponting was one of the best that the game has ever seen. From his heroics with the bat to determined and ever impressive captaincy skills, Ponting has been an idol for generations. A Tasmanian, who took Australia to great heights after taking over the reigns of the team from Steve Waugh, Ponting was majestic while serving Australia as the captain. In the 375 ODIs that he played for the country, Ponting led the side in 230 matches — the most by a player in the 50-over format. Since his captaincy debut in 2002 to February 2012, Ponting, for close to a decade, marshalled the Aussie troops and took them to victory on 165 occasions, which is also the most for a captain in ODIs, suffering only 51 losses. With a staggering win percent of 76.14, Ponting showed how to get into opposition’s mind on the field. Two back-to-back World Cup titles (2003 and 2007) and countless series victories at home and abroad are testament to Ponting’s incredible prowess as a leader.
Stephen Fleming (New Zealand – 218 ODIs)
The most successful captain in New Zealand’s cricketing history, Stephen Fleming was one of the perfect students of the gentlemen’s game and a graceful leader. In a career spanning 280 ODIs, Fleming emerged as an elite batsman and more than that, an impeccable leader. With 218 ODI matches under his belt as captain, Fleming served as the ODI skipper of the side for the longest period in their history and second most around the world. Although with 98 wins and 106 defeats and not managing to win a World Cup title, Fleming will definitely regret falling a bit short on the numbers. But the left-hander more than made up for that with the manner in which he led his side. Captaining the side for over a decade, Fleming emerged as an immaculate leader with a win percent of 48.04, which also included a tie and 13 no results. The top-order batsmen, out of his 8 internationals tons scored 7 during his reign as the captain, as part of his total tally of 6,295 ODI runs as skipper.
MS Dhoni (India – 200 ODIs)
Arguably India’s most successful ODI captain with all the three ICC trophies in his cabinet (T20 World Cup 2007, ODI World Cup 2011 and Champions Trophy 2013), MS Dhoni has been one of the sports’ biggest and brightest ambassadors. A mind-boggling batsman, a pro-active keeper and to go with that, incredible intuitive skills and the ability to read the game, Dhoni for close to 11 years led India to some of the most memorable and life-long cherishing moments. In the 200 ODIs that Dhoni led the side, India emerged victorious in 110 games with a win percentage of 59.52. And one of the most important aspects of those wins was that Dhoni, on many occasions took on the responsibility himself to take India across the finish line. The ease with which Dhoni led India to victories also helped him earn the title of ‘greatest finisher of the game’ during his reign as the captain. Although there were 74 defeats to go with 5 tied and 11 no result games, India tasted quite a few resounding victories under Dhoni’s leadership. During his reign as the captain, Dhoni also managed to score runs at a phenomenal average of 53.55, which is one of the highest amongst ODI captains
Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka – 193 ODIs)
For over 11 years, Arjuna Ranatunga carried the responsibility of the Sri Lankan team on his shoulders and in the end went down in the history books as one of the most decorated captains to have ever represented the island nation. Out of the 269 ODI matches that Ranatunga played for the country, he was the captain in 193 games. With 89 wins, the dynamic left hander successfully led Sri Lanka to victories with quite a few of them being unforgettable experiences. The most notable run of victories for Ranatunga were of course registered during the 1996 ICC ODI World Cup, where he took Sri Lanka to their first and till date only ODI World Cup title. Although 95 losses during his tenure brought down his win percentage to 48.37, Ranatunga will be regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s greatest ever leaders. During his reign as the captain, Ranatunga also displayed his masterful skills with the bat, scoring 5,608 runs (as captain) at an average of 37.63.
Allan Border (Australia – 178 ODIs)
Australia has always been gifted with great leaders. Leaders, who along with the support of their teams have taken Australian Cricket to unprecedented heights. And one such leader that Australia found was Allan Border in the 1980s and early 90s. For 9 years between 1985 to 1994, Border was in charge of the Australian side in ODIs and ended up as one of the most successful captains in the history of the sport. Border, who led the Aussies in 178 matches, led them to victories in 107 of them. With an impressive win percentage of 61.42, Border still has one of the highest success rates in ODI cricket as captain. Although Border’s team had to taste bitter defeat on 67 occasions, that never shook the temperament and the leadership qualities of the Australian. In the list of Australians who have captained most ODIs, Border sits second behind Ricky Ponting. During his tenure as captain, Border scored 4,439 ODI runs at an average of 32.16, which also included a couple of tons.