Highest number of matches as captain October 25, 2006

Captain Fantastic

When Stephen Fleming walks out for the toss with Younis Khan in New Zealand's Champions Trophy fixture against Pakistan, he will set a new world record



Stephen Fleming on the eve of his 194th match as captain of New Zealand © Getty Images

When Stephen Fleming walks out for the toss with Younis Khan in New Zealand's Champions Trophy fixture against Pakistan, he will set a new world record - surpassing Arjuna Ranatunga's tally of 193 matches as captain. His first ODI as captain was against Sri Lanka in March 1997 and now his closest current counterpart is Ricky Ponting who's led Australia 127 times. Among past New Zealand captains, Geoff Howarth is closest with 60 games

Fleming and Ranatunga are the only two to have a win-rate of less than 50% among those who have captained in over 100 matches. As similar as their records look, it must be remembered that Ranatunga revived Sri Lanka from the doldrums and turned them into World-Cup winners.

A country conspicuous by its absence in the table is England. Nasser Hussain's 56 matches is the highest for an English captain, the second being Graham Gooch's 50. It is the lowest among all major cricket countries behind even Zimbabwe whom Alastair Campbell led 86 times.

Most matches as captain
Player Span Mat Won Lost Tied NR %
A Ranatunga (SL) 1988-1999 193 89 95 1 8 48.64
SP Fleming (NZ) 1997-2006 193 85 95 1 12 47.50
AR Border (Aust) 1985-1994 178 107 67 1 3 61.78
M Azharuddin (India) 1990-1999 173 89 76 2 6 54.54
SC Ganguly (Asia/India) 1999-2005 147 76 66 0 5 53.52
Imran Khan (Pak) 1982-1992 139 75 59 1 4 56.34
WJ Cronje (SAf) 1994-2000 138 99 35 1 3 74.25
RT Ponting (Aust/ICC) 2002-2006 127 96 23 2 6 81.51
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 1998-2003 118 66 47 2 3 59.29
Wasim Akram (Pak) 1993-2000 109 66 41 2 0 62.61

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    Mike Brearley is the only player to captain in every game he played with a minimum of 20 matches as captain. During his 25-match stint, England reached the final of the 1979 World Cup. However, success eluded England on that occasion and such has been the case for all their captains in major one-day tournaments.

    Another New Zealander, Lee Germon had a curious tenure as captain. He made his debut in a one-dayer against South Africa in 1994 as a wicketkeeper - he caught Roshan Mahanama off the first ball of the match - while Adam Parore played as a batsman. After an absence of a year, Germon was selected for New Zealand's tour of India and was named as Ken Rutherford's successor as captain even though he had played just one ODI and no Tests. However, after a career of 37 matches Germon averaged only 19.96 and was dropped from both the captaincy and the team, leaving Fleming to begin his long stay at the helm.

    Highest percentage of career matches as captain (qualification: 20 matches)
    Player Span Mat Captain Not Captain %
    JM Brearley (Eng) 1977-1980 25 25 0 100.00
    LK Germon (NZ) 1994-1997 37 36 1 97.29
    CH Lloyd (WI) 1973-1985 87 84 3 96.55
    GP Howarth (NZ) 1975-1985 70 60 10 85.71
    MA Atherton (Eng) 1990-1998 54 43 11 79.62
    Imran Khan (Pak) 1974-1992 175 139 36 79.42
    LRD Mendis (SL) 1975-1989 79 61 18 77.21
    GC Smith (Afr/SAf) 2002-2006 92 70 22 76.08
    SP Fleming (ICC/NZ) 1994-2006 255 193 62 75.68
    WJ Cronje (SAf) 1992-2000 188 138 50 73.40

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    Hansie Cronje has the biggest difference between win-rate as captain and win-rate when not captain. South Africa had won just 18 out of 50 ODIs when Cronje was a player in the team. However, under his captaincy they won a whopping 99 out of 138. The name of at the opposite end of the table is Sachin Tendulkar. As a player, Tendulkar has participated in 162 victories out of 295 games which is 58%. As captain he has a horrendous record winning just 23 out of 73 matches, 35.60, the difference of 22.40 being the poorest for a player who has captained more than 50 times.

    Winning percentages of captains compared to when not as captain (qualification: 20 matches as captain, 20 not as captain)
    Player Span Capt Won % Not Won % Diff
    WJ Cronje (SAf) 1992-2000 138 99 74.25 50 18 37.50 36.75
    Habibul Bashar (Bang) 1995-2006 45 14 31.11 42 0 0.00 31.11
    A Ranatunga (SL) 1982-1999 193 89 48.64 76 16 22.53 26.10
    MP Vaughan (Eng) 2001-2005 48 25 61.90 26 9 36.00 25.90
    DPMD Jayawardene (Asia/SL) 1998-2006 24 18 78.26 202 109 56.41 21.85
    N Hussain (Eng) 1989-2003 56 28 50.90 32 9 30.64 20.26
    MW Gatting (Eng) 1977-1993 37 26 70.27 55 28 52.77 17.49
    AR Border (Aust) 1979-1994 178 107 61.78 95 38 44.76 17.01
    ADR Campbell (Zimb) 1992-2003 86 30 37.80 102 23 24.74 13.06
    Saleem Malik (Pak) 1982-1999 34 21 68.75 249 133 55.83 12.91

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    What's this formidable Pakistan team got in common? Aamir Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Rameez Raja, Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik, Rashid Latif, Moin Khan, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir. All of them were former Pakistan captains and Ijaz Ahmed played under each of them during his 250-match career. However, he never captained Pakistan in a single match.

    Lowest percentage of career matches as captain (qualification: 200 matches)
    Player Span Mat Captain Not Captain %
    M Muralitharan (Asia/ICC/SL) 1993-2006 281 0 281 0.00
    Ijaz Ahmed (Pak) 1986-2000 250 0 250 0.00
    CZ Harris (NZ) 1990-2004 250 0 250 0.00
    JN Rhodes (SAf) 1992-2003 245 0 245 0.00
    ME Waugh (Aust) 1988-2002 244 0 244 0.00
    MG Bevan (Aust) 1994-2004 232 0 232 0.00
    Shahid Afridi (Asia/ICC/Pak) 1996-2006 231 0 231 0.00
    J Srinath (India) 1991-2003 229 0 229 0.00
    GD McGrath (Aust/ICC) 1993-2006 227 0 227 0.00
    Abdul Razzaq (Asia/Pak) 1996-2006 218 0 218 0.00

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    % is calculated by ignoring no results, and by counting ties as half a win.

    Travis Basevi is the man who built Statsguru. George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo