Top 5 captains with highest winning percentage in Tests
Test cricket has seen long periods of dominance by some teams which were a cut above the rest. In Test cricket’s history, there have been some formidable sides which were the dominant teams of their eras. Notable among them were Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’, the Australian team of 1948, the mighty Windies of the 70s and 80s and the all-conquering Australian team of the 2000s. One thing common among all these sides was that they were led by brilliant leaders who got the best out of their players. While some great captains were brilliant tacticians, others were inspirational leaders who led by example with their exemplary skills at batting and bowling.
The West Indies team which ruled the roost in the 70s and the 80s were led by Clive Lloyd and Sir Viv Richards. The Australians had great captains in Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting who cemented the Baggy Greens' position as the indisputable champions of Test cricket. The South Africans rose rapidly in stature as a Test powerhouse under Hansie Cronje and Graeme Smith.
The Indians became a competitive Test unit both at home and away under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy. MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli have further taken the team to loftier heights. Meanwhile, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram have been hailed as the best ever to lead Pakistan. Some other notable Test captains have been Sri Lanka's Arjuna Ranatunga and Stephen Fleming for New Zealand.
In the last decade, Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Faf Du Plessis and Alistair Cook have enjoyed a considerable amount of success as captains of their respective Test sides.
So let us have a look at the Test captains who were the most successful across the history of Test cricket.
Disclaimer: To rank my top five Test captains, I have only taken those skippers who captained their sides for a considerable time frame and notched up wins on a consistent basis both at home and away. I have kept 50 percent win percentage as the minimum benchmark for my selection.
Just missed the Cut
Mark Taylor is rightfully credited for rebuilding a struggling Australian team into one of the top Test units in world credit. Taylor was an astute strategist and a keen student of the game who played according to the strength of his side and exposed the weakness of the opposition. Mark Taylor brought about an end to the dominance of the West Indies in Tests when his Australian side stunned the Windies 2-1 in their own den.
In the early and mid-90s, Taylor became an important cog in the Australian batting unit with fellow opener Michael Slater. Taylor’s Baggy Greens had a solid middle order with the stylish Mark Waugh and the tenacious Steve Waugh in their ranks. Taylor’s bowling trump card was the spin maestro Shane Warne who cast a web around most of the top batsmen in world cricket.
The Australian pace attack had a good blend of experience and youth with Craig McDermott, Paul Reiffel and Glen McGrath. Tayor did the spadework to set up the foundation of a formidable Australian team which blossomed under the captaincy of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.
Mark Taylor Captaincy Record
Matches 50 Won 26 Lost 13 Win % - 52
When Australia were ruling Test cricket in the early 2000s, only a select few sides could match up to their might and pose as serious challengers. One of them was Michael Vaughan-led English team. Michael Vaughan instilled an aggressive mindset into English cricket and helped them shed away the 'Purist' tag.
The elegant stroke maker was an astute reader of the game and made England a force to reckon with in red ball cricket. Vaughan had the team at his disposal to take English cricket to the very top. He had a power-packed batting lineup comprising of Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen.
The English bowling had variety and depth with quality swing bowlers in Matthew Hoggard, Stephen Harmison, James Anderson and Simon Jones. Vaughan built an English team on a strong foundation laid down by his predecessor Nasser Hussain and coach Duncan Fletcher.
In 2004, England were unbeatable at home winning 11 Tests and forging some memorable wins over South Africa and West Indies. Vaughan’s greatest achievement as captain came in 2005 when England ended Australia’s long hegemony in the Ashes by beating their old foes 2-1 in one of the most dramatic Test series.
Michael Vaughan Captaincy Record
Matches 51 Won 26 Lost 11 Drawn 14 Win % - 50.98