For the most part of it, 2019 was the year of ODIs. It was a World Cup year and thus, the focus was largely on the 50-over format. As many as 150 ODIs were played in 2019 which included 48 games in the 2019 World Cup as well. England won the World Cup and were the best ODI team overall as well in 2019. India and Australia were not too far behind either.
There were 20 teams that played ODI cricket in 2019. In those, there were 33 players who led their teams with 11 of those captaining in at least 10 ODI games in 2019. Thus, with 2019 done and dusted and ODIs yet to start in 2020, we look back at the captains and how they fared in the year 2019.
Here, we also rate them for the way they performed in 2019:
10. Gulbadin Naib – 1.5/10
Much was expected of Afghanistan in 2019 and they were expected to win a game or two at least in the 2019 World Cup. However, it turned out to be a disappointment for them. 2019 as a whole was a disappointment as far as ODIs are concerned. They won just four out of their 20 ODIs.
However, one of the biggest shocks was when the board and selectors decided to switch captaincy. Asghar Afghan was axed and Gulbadin Naib was entrusted with the responsibility. However, that didn’t go well as Afghanistan won just two games under his captaincy tenure.
As captain, he scored just 217 runs at an average of 19.72 with the bat. But he did take 19 wickets which is the most by a captain in ODIs in 2019. Afghanistan’s poor performance in the World Cup meant that Naib never played a single game after the mega event and was also removed as captain.
9. Mashrafe Mortaza – 3/10
Mashrafe Mortaza has been one of the reasons for Bangladesh’s rise in ODI cricket. The veteran Bangladesh pacer has been influential in the way his team has played over the last few years. After making it to the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup and semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy, Bangladesh were the dark horses going into the 2019 World Cup.
However, they disappointed and could win just three games. Not only in the World Cup, they had a very indifferent year. In fact, they played ODIs only till the end of July and out of the 18 that they played in 2019, 15 were captained by Mortaza. Under him, Bangladesh won seven and lost eight ODIs.
Moreover, his own form with the ball was way off the mark. He could take a mere eight wickets from 15 games and had an economy of 5.81. Thus, he gets three.
8. Jason Holder– 4/10
It was a pretty up and down year for West Indies but most part of the success came at the start and end of the year. They started the year with a bang. They shocked the No. 1 ODI team in the world England as they squared the five-match series 2-2. And they also won four out of their last six ODIs to close out the year.
However, Jason Holder was the skipper only for half the year. Those four wins came under Kieron Pollard. Holder’s form also blew hot and cold but ended with decent returns. He scored 348 runs, striking nearly at run-a-ball and took 18 wickets as well.
But West Indies didn’t really live up to the hype and potential in white-ball cricket. Under Holder, they won just six games (out of 22) and hence, he gets four.
7. Sarfaraz Ahmed – 5/10
When you are facing Pakistan, you never know which side might turn up. They might leave you in awe one day and make you pull your hair on another. The year 2019 was similar but more towards the latter. It even ended with the axing of Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain from all three formats.
Pakistan played 25 ODIs in 2019 and Sarfaraz featured in 18 of them, leading in each one of those. They didn’t have a great start to the year but Pakistan won four straight games to end the World Cup which almost put them in the semi-finals as well. They even blanked Sri Lanka 2-0 at home.
Moreover, Sarfaraz’s form was decent as well as he amassed 408 runs at an average of 37.09 and even had a strike-rate of 94.00. Hence, the selectors were slightly was slightly harsh on him as far as ODIs are concerned.
6. Dimuth Karunaratne – 6.5/10
The winds have changed in Sri Lankan cricket. Before the World Cup last year, they were changing captains left, right and centre. However, the arrival of Dimuth Karunaratne has changed things. The success he got in South Africa where he led the team to an unbelievable 2-0 Test series win helped the selectors gain trust in him as a leader.
Thus, he was handed the ODI captaincy ahead of the World Cup as well. Sri Lanka didn’t have a great World Cup but they did manage to shock the eventual world champions England and beat them in the group stage. Moreover, Sri Lanka have won seven ODIs in 2019 and all of them have come under Karunaratne’s rein who has led them in only 11 matches.
The left-handed opener has been good with the bat as well. He has made 396 runs from 11 innings and has been solid at the top of the order. Thus, given the change in fortunes he’s bought and his good form, he gets 6.5/10.
5. Faf du Plessis – 7/10
It may have been the year for Faf du Plessis, the batsman but it wasn’t the year for Faf du Plessis, the captain. It started with eight out of 10 wins in the first half of 2019 but once the World Cup was underway, things went haywire and it was a slide in the mega tournament.
Du Plessis had a fantastic time with the bat. The South African skipper scored 814 runs at an average of 67.83 and even registered two hundreds and six half-centuries. But as captain, it was another wasted ICC tournament. The Proteas won just three games in the World Cup.
The wins over Pakistan and Sri Lanka at home might beef up numbers a little but apart from that, South Africa weren’t up to the mark in ODI cricket. In fact, there were questions on du Plessis’ captaincy as well. However, his good returns with the bat improve his overall rating which is seven.
4. Kane Williamson – 8.5/10
Kane Williamson and his New Zealand side have always been one of the most underrated teams. They quietly perform and hardly try to attract everyone and get their attention. But they did this year with the way they conducted themselves after the 2019 World Cup final. They deservedly won the Spirit of Cricket award as well.
And that was led by their captain Kane Williamson. He had a fabulous tournament with the bat and was inspirational as a captain. He led the Kiwis in 20 out of the 21 ODIs that they played in 2019 and had success in 12 of those. With the bat, Williamson made 948 runs at an average of 59.25.
Hence, it was a fantastic year for Williamson as a player and as a captain barring a 1-4 ODI series loss against India at the start of the year. Thus, Williamson gets 8.5 and is fourth on this list.
3. Aaron Finch – 9/10
Aaron Finch has been around for a while now but he took over as Australia’s white-ball captain at a tough time. The team was going through turmoil in the absence of two of their biggest stars and results weren’t working in their favour either. That’s when Finch got them together and turned things around.
After a shoddy 2018, 2019 saw quite a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The start wasn’t great as they lost an ODI series to India at home and were even 0-2 down in a five-match series in India. But the Finch-led Australian team came back from behind to win the series 3-2 before blanking Pakistan 5-0. They even had a fabulous World Cup where they won seven out of the 10 games they played.
Finch’s personal form which was dwindling also came up with Australia’s rise. He amassed 1141 runs and averaged 51.86 which included four tons. Finch had a win-loss ratio of 2.285 in 2019 in ODI cricket which is the third-best for the year. Hence, he gets a nine.
2. Virat Kohli – 9/10
As a batsman, Virat Kohli is scaling new heights every series. He turns up and continues to churn out runs. It is no surprise that Kohli has the most runs among ODI captains in 2019. He has aggregated 1377 runs which include five hundreds and seven fifties. He averages 59.86 in ODI cricket in 2019.
Kohli has led India in 26 out of the 28 ODIs that they have played. In those games, India won 18 under him which included seven in the World Cup. The ‘Men in Blue’ had a terrific run in the World Cup in England and topped the group stages. However, the heart-breaking semi-final exit and the ODI series loss to Australia at home were the only two blemishes in what was a fine year.
There’s never been a question on Kohli’s batting but there were on Kohli’s captaincy. But India did well under him and thus, he gets a nine as well.
1. Eoin Morgan – 9.5/10
The 2015 World Cup was the best thing that happened to England cricket and it changed the way they played ODI cricket. Eoin Morgan led the revolution and played a massive role in defining the way England play the 50-over format. 2019 was their goal and they reached the top of the mountain as they won the 2019 World Cup.
It was under Morgan’s captaincy that England have been so successful and the World Cup dream came alive. He became the first-ever England male captain to win a World Cup. Not only the World Cup, but England were also excellent all-round. 2.80 was their win-loss ratio this year in ODI cricket which is the best for any Test-playing nation.
Morgan led from the front as well. He scored 791 runs at an average of 52.73 and had a strike-rate of 112.19 in 2019. Add two tons and five fifties to those numbers as well. Morgan was fabulous as a batsman and as a captain in 2019. Thus, Morgan tops this list with a rating of 9.5.
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