Waugh to Kohli: Meet the most successful Test captains

Sportstar takes a look at the top-five successful Test captains -- in terms of winning percentage.

As captains of Australia, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh had a great run.   -  AP Photo

For any cricket captain, leading the team in Tests remains the ultimate challenge. Unlike the limited-overs game, the longer format is different — it has its own dynamics and rhythm as the five days play out.

Many cricket purists believe that a captain is as good as his team. But ask any cricketer and he would admit that it’s easier said than done. Former India captain Rahul Dravid had once stated: “You don’t win or lose the games because of the eleven you select. You win or lose with what those eleven do on the field.”

ICC Test rankings: India slips to third, Australia top  

So, that tells the story — captaincy is not just about plotting a win. It is also about keeping a team together, coming to terms with all the odds and eventually dreaming again.

Sportstar takes a look at the top-five successful Test captains — in terms of winning percentage.

Steve Waugh (Australia): One of the legends of the game, the former Australian captain Steve Waugh has the highest winning rate (71.92 per cent). In his five-year stint as the captain of Australia, Waugh has featured in 57 Tests, of which the team has won 41 times. While it suffered only nine defeats, the team played out seven draws. It was Waugh, who transformed Australia into a champion side. Under his leadership, the Baggy Greens won 16 Tests in a row, coupled with a World Cup win in 1999. His legacy was carried forward by Ricky Ponting.

Matches: 57; Won: 41, Lost: 9, Tied: 0, Draw: 7; Winning percentage: 71.92


Ricky Ponting (Australia): Ponting has led Australia in 77 Tests in just six years, and enjoys a winning percentage of 62.33. Taking over from the legendary Steve Waugh, Ponting went on to win 48 matches and suffered just 16 losses. While he guided the Aussies to two World Cup titles -- in 2003 and 2007. Australia also maintained his supremacy in Tests as it defeated England 5-0 in the Ashes home series in 2006-2007. With the bat in Tests as captain, he maintained an average of 51.51.

Matches: 77; Won: 48, Lost: 16, Tied: 0, Draw: 13; Winning percentage: 62.33


Virat Kohli (India): It’s been six years since Kohli took charge of the Indian team and he is currently the most successful Indian Test captain, with a winning percentage of 60. Under his leadership, India maintained the No.1 spot in the ICC Test rankings until recently and the team created history last year by defeating Australia down under. So far, he has captained in 55 games, of which the team has won 33 times and played out 10 draws.

Matches: 55; Won: 33, Lost: 12, Tied: 0, Draw: 10; Winning percentage: 60.00


Virat Kohli is currently the most successful Indian Test captain, with a winning percentage of 60.   -  AP Photo



Mike Brearley (England): In his four-year stint as the England captain, Brearley certainly knew the art of captaincy. In 31 outings, England won on 18 occasions and played out just nine draws. With an exemplary winning record of 58.06 per cent, Brearley is one of the most successful Test captains of all times.

Matches: 31; Won: 18, Lost: 4, Tied: 0, Draw: 9; Winning percentage: 58.06


Kane Williamson (New Zealand): With a success rate of 56.25 per cent, Williamson has captained The Black Caps in 32 Tests and has won 18 times. Under his captaincy, New Zealand defeated India 2-0 this year and came back strongly against Sri Lanka to level the series 1-1 last year. He also led New Zealand team to the final of the World Cup in 2019.

Matches: 32; Won: 18, Lost: 8, Tied: 0, Draw: 6; Winning percentage: 56.25


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