The Indian team has achieved a lot of success in ODI cricket over the last few years. The craze for ODI cricket went sky high in India after the nation’s historic World Cup win in 1983. Soon, the World Cup came to India as the local fans got a chance of witnessing some of the best players compete in the grandest cricket tournament. The introduction of coloured jerseys further generated more interest in the game.
In 2011, India became the first country to lift the Cricket World Cup on its own home turf. Although the Men in Blue have not been able to win the World Cup in the last 9 years, they have been successful in winning the 2013 Champions Trophy besides finishing as the runners-up in the 2017 Champions Trophy. India now has a rich history in ODI cricket and today, we will rate India’s top 5 ODI captains of all time.
Here’s rating the top five Indian skippers of all time:
1. Virat Kohli – 7/10
The current Indian ODI captain, Virat Kohli has struggled to lead the team in the absence of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni. Kohli is spot on with his decisions when he has the back of the vice-captain and the team’s former captain but, when an opposition team starts to dominate the match, the Royal Challengers Bangalore player comes under pressure.
Recently, Australia crushed India by 10 wickets handing the Men in Blue their first 10-wicket loss in years. Besides, India got whitewashed by New Zealand in an ODI series for the first time in decades.
This shows that when Kohli does not have an experienced player in the team, he struggles to take crucial decisions. Also, he does not have a good record when it comes to the knockout matches in ICC tournaments. Yet, he has done very well as a captain and so, he gets 7 out of 10 points.
2. Rahul Dravid – 7.5/10
While Rahul Dravid is best remembered for his contributions in red-ball cricket, very few fans would know that the right-handed batsman was a prolific leader as well. Although the Indian team had a disastrous World Cup campaign in 2007 under his leadership, Dravid’s tenure as a captain was quite successful for the Indian team before that event.
The Men in Blue created a record of 17 consecutive successful run chases in ODI cricket under the guidance of the defensive batsman. Dravid led the Indian team in 79 ODI matches of which 42 resulted in an Indian win.
He has a better win percentage than Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in the 50 overs format which highlights the greatness of his captaincy skills. Unfortunately, a poor outing in the 2007 World Cup led to Dravid’s sacking as the ODI captain.
3. Mohammad Azharuddin – 8/10
Former Indian ODI skipper, Mohammad Azharuddin faced a unique challenge of controlling his seniors when the team management assigned him the reins of the team. Unlike today’s era, the junior and senior cricket players never used to sit together forget about the seniors listening to the juniors. Thus, Azharuddin needs to be lauded for overcoming that barrier.
Besides, he captained India in 174 ODI matches. This shows that the entire nation had trust in him and he had a lengthy reign as the team captain. The right-handed batsman was India’s most successful ODI skipper until September 2014.
He led the nation to 90 wins in ODI cricket. Also, he captained the Indian side in World Cup matches. Although India could not win the World Cup under Azharuddin’s captaincy, the skipper made proper utilization of the resources he had and took the team as far as he could.
4. Sourav Ganguly – 8.5/10
Current BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly is known as one of the most aggressive captains of all time. The Indian fans can never forget the way he took off his shirt while celebrating India’s historic win in the Natwest Series at Lord’s. He nurtured a team of youngsters who later went on to become the greatest players of all time.
It is noteworthy that a lot of players of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad had started their ODI careers under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly. The Prince of Kolkata used to lead the team from the front.
He had a perfect idea of the talent present in the team so, he placed the players at the positions where they could play their natural game. Under Ganguly’s captaincy, the team reached the 2003 World Cup final however, Australia overcame India in the finals.
5. MS Dhoni – 9/10
Looking at his achievements, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is perhaps the greatest ODI captain in cricket history. He took over the reins of the team when he was relatively newer than the other Indian players at the international level yet, his wit and intelligence helped India become world champions. Dhoni always gave the spotlight to the other players as he took up the role of the batting order’s insurance policy.
Dhoni batted deep down the order and, controlled the entire innings with his batting technique. When it was India’s turn to bowl, he always guided the bowlers with his valuable insights from behind the stumps.
The Ranchi-born player won the 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy, two of the biggest prizes in ODI cricket. And, he achieved all the feats with his cool mind. This reflects that the Chennai Super Kings star is the best Indian ODI captain of all time.
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