There’s been a lot of talk around ODI cricket and the context this year. There is no World Cup or any big tournament. With the Test Championship going on in full fledge and T20 World Cup only eight months away, there is a tendency of not giving too much importance to the 50-over format.
However, there’s been some quality ODI cricket that’s been played in the recent past. India and West Indies battled it out in an enthralling series while India fought hard to gain a 2-1 series win over the Aussies when they toured India for a short trip and both teams fought tooth and nail to get over the line. England’s series against South Africa was also an exciting one.
Moreover, captains have their task cut out between balancing the formats and getting players ready. In fact, captaincy is a challenge at the moment. Last year was the World Cup year and it brought out the best of everyone. Thus, let’s rate the all the current ODI captains of the top nine teams.
Rating ODI captains of the teams:
9. Sarfaraz Ahmed – 6.5/10
If you look at numbers and wins, you might term the rating 6.5 for Sarfaraz Ahmed as harsh. But you consider the last 12 to 15 months and Pakistan cricket has been struggling. In fact, since the start of 2019, Pakistan are lying 16th in terms of win-loss ratio among the 20 ODI teams.
Pakistan have blown hot and cold in the ODI format and they’ve struggled big time at certain stages. Under Sarfaraz, Pakistan did manage to win the Champions Trophy but they’ve not had any luck since that win. There’s barely any significant win in the recent past.
Moreover, Pakistan’s slump has coincided with Sarfaraz’s loss in form and it has clearly affected his captaincy. Thus, he is set to be replaced. With Pakistan not playing another ODI, apart from the one-off game against Bangladesh next month, till July later this year, Pakistan haven’t revealed a new skipper. But reports suggests that the wicket-keeper batsman is likely to be axed in this format as well with Babar Azam replacing him at the helm.
8. Mashrafe Mortaza – 7/10
There’s absolutely no doubt that Mashrafe Mortaza has been one of the reasons for Bangladesh’s rise in white-ball cricket. Bangladesh have come a long way in ODI cricket and they’ve really improved leaps and bounds. All of that has come under Mortaza’s leadership.
He led the side to ODI series wins against big teams like India, Pakistan, South Africa at home. In fact, during one phase, Bangladesh were fantastic in ODI cricket. They are still doing well but they tend to crumble under pressure, in big tournaments.
However, in the last year or so, a lot of inconsistency has crept in. Bangladesh have won just seven out of their 18 games since the start of 2019 in the 50-over format. They were expected to have a good World Cup as well but the Tigers were disappointing. Mortaza’s form wasn’t great either and it may have affected his captaincy. Hence, Bangladesh are looking ahead to the 2023 World Cup and the next series against Zimbabwe will be his last, at least as captain.
7. Dimuth Karunaratne – 7.5/10
It came across as a shock to most people when Dimuth Karunaratne was made Sri Lanka’s captain ahead of the 2019 World Cup. He replaced Lasith Malinga and there was a sense of waywardness in the assigning. It was largely based on Karunaratne’s success as captain in South Africa where he led the Test team to a historic 2-0 series win.
Sri Lanka have been pretty inconsistent and have had a very up and down time in ODI cricket over the last year or so. One moment, they were brilliant and the other, they struggled and were poor. They had a couple of excellent results in the World Cup but a couple of disappointing ones as well.
But Karunaratne has been good as captain. He’s led the troops well and his batting in ODI cricket has improved a touch as well. Under him, Sri Lanka have won seven out of 11 ODIs and hence, he gets a 7.5.
6. Quinton de Kock – 8/10
South Africa seem to be restructuring most part of their cricket. The management was shuffled and they got in some fabulous and experienced players like Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis. They replaced Faf du Plessis as captain in ODI cricket before he quit from the other two formats as well.
Quinton de Kock has taken charge in white-ball cricket. He led in his first ODI series as full-time captain against England and did decently. The wicket-keeper batsman led from the front and he scored big. In fact, at the moment, he may be the best South African batsman in the side.
The winds seem to be changing but the time period is too short to take a call or judge de Kock’s captaincy. Hence, he gets 8 on 10 and this may well improve as he gains more experience as far as captaincy is concerned.
5. Kieron Pollard – 8.5/10
There was a big change in West Indies cricket post the World Cup and the home series against India. Kieron Pollard returned to ODI cricket and he took charge as captain. Moreover, the results have followed as well as the West Indies seem to have improved as a white-ball side.
In fact, they challenged India and pushed them to the limit before going down 1-2 in that three-match series. They’ve brushed aside opponents like Afghanistan and Ireland. Hence, Pollard’s influence has been quite a lot on them.
Pollard also boasts the West Indies middle-order and adds some real depth and firepower. He’s executed some really smart plans and they’ve worked as well. Thus, Pollard gets an 8.5.
4. Aaron Finch – 8.5/10
After the sandpaper scandal, Australia were in turmoil. Tim Paine was made the captain of the Test and ODI team. However, it wasn’t too long before Aaron Finch replaced him in the 50-over format. He took time to settle down into his role as skipper but once he did, the results were there to see.
It didn’t look like Australia could win without their big stalwarts. But their come-from-behind series win in India gave them a massive boost and later they blanked Pakistan 5-0 and did really well in the World Cup too. It coincided with Finch’s return to form and he is one player who likes leading from the front.
Finch is tactically good as well. Thus, a slightly sluggish start gets him an 8.5 else he’s been very good throughout his tenure so far.
3. Virat Kohli – 8.5/10
Only seven players (as captains) in the history of the game have a win percentage in excess of 70% in ODI cricket and Virat Kohli is one among them. However, results have not been everything in Kohli’s captaincy tenure. He’s been criticised heavily for his captaincy despite getting most of the results in his favour.
Kohli has been leading India in ODI cricket since 2013 as a fill-in and full-time since 2017. The Delhi lad has led the ‘Men in Blue’ on 89 instances in ODI cricket, winning 62 of them. He’s always in the face of the opposition and celebrates almost every wicket in an ecstatic manner. He is the team’s cheerleader as well.
And there is hardly anything to talk about Kohli the batsman as captain. He has even better numbers while leading the side. Hence, he is one of the top ODI captains in world cricket.
2. Kane Williamson – 9/10
New Zealand are one team that always tend to punch above their weight and perform well. No one would’ve noticed but they have the third-best win-loss ratio in ODI cricket since January 2019. They’ve lost just seven out of the 24 games they’ve played in this period.
And all of this has come under the calm leadership of Kane Williamson. The premier New Zealand batsman has the ability to remain cool and calm even under extreme pressure. He showed exemplary behaviour and temperament in what was a nail-biting World Cup final as well.
Moreover, he leads from the front with the bat. Batting at No. 3, he tends to control the innings and bat big. As a captain, Williamson has been very consistent and has had excellent results as well.
1. Eoin Morgan – 9.5/10
If there is one man who needs to be credited for England’s drastic turnaround in white-ball cricket since the 2015 World Cup, then it has to be Eoin Morgan. He has led the revolutionary change in England’s limited-overs cricket. Along with the team management, he backed every player to the hilt and the results are there for everyone to see.
England have been simply brilliant in ODI cricket and have been consistently doing well over the last few years. And its with Morgan at helm that the change has been possible. He has led England in 114 ODIs and has won 69 of them (65.42% win percentage).
Moreover, looking at Morgan, the captain, we tend to forget Morgan, the batsman. The Irish-born is one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball. He can hit sixes at will and has done well with the bat as captain too.
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