ODI captains with the most runs: The percentage of batters leading their side is way higher as compared to bowlers. Pat Cummins is the only one in the current lot to captain a side despite being a bowler. The most successful sides in history have had captains who have led from the front. They inspire the side with their batting exploits. These captains have been extremely consistent in their run-scoring ways. There have been just 8 players in the history of the game to score more than 5,000 runs as ODI captains.
We look at the ODI captains with the most runs:
#5 Virat Kohli – 5,449
He was always meant to lead the national side once he won the 2008 U-19 World Cup as captain. Virat Kohli had a commendable record as ODI captain. His numbers as a batter were exceptional though. Kohli is arguably among the finest ODI batters of all time. He took his game to the next level when he led the side in ODIs. Kohli scored a whopping 5,449 runs in just 95 games at an average of 72.75. His average is easily the highest on this list. Kohli racked up 21 centuries and 21 half-centuries during his captaincy tenure.
#4 Arjuna Ranatunga – 5,608
The Sri Lankan captain is regarded as one of the finest leaders of the game. Arjuna Ranatunga was a father-like figure for his teammates when he captained the side. It was he who unearthed gems like Sanath Jayasuriya. He promoted Jayasuriya to open the batting from his position at number 9.
Ranatunga backed players like Muttiah Muralitharan to the hilt. The left-hander led Sri Lanka to World Cup glory in 1996. He scored a total of 5,608 runs in 193 games at an average of 37.64. Ranatunga was one of the top finishers in ODIs in the 90s. His 34 not-outs are a clear reflection of this.
#3 Stephen Fleming – 6,295
He is one of the only three players to score 6,000+ runs as an ODI captain. Stephen Fleming had a very long stint as the skipper of New Zealand. He opened the innings in most of the games for the black caps. Fleming was a calm and composed figure who never let emotion get the better of him. He led NZ to their first ICC title in 2000 when they won the Champions Trophy. Fleming scored 6,295 runs as the ODI skipper at a very modest average of 32.79. He brought up 7 centuries and 38 half-centuries in the process.
#2 MS Dhoni – 6,641
He is one of the best limited-overs captains the game has ever seen. MS Dhoni is the only skipper in white-ball history to have won the treble of the T20 World Cup (2007), ODI World Cup (2011), and the Champions Trophy (2013). His captaincy smarts often overshadowed his batting exploits. Dhoni chose to spend most of his career down the order else he could have easily shattered more batting records. He scored 6,641 runs as ODI captain in exactly 200 matches. Only Kohli (72.75) and AB de Villiers (63.95) average higher than Dhoni (53.56) as ODI captains.
#1 Ricky Ponting – 8,497
The two-time World Cup-winning captain, Ricky Ponting tops the charts for most runs scored as an ODI captain. He and Clive Lloyd the only two captains to lead the side to successive World Cup wins. Ponting’s Australia lost just 2 games across 3 World Cup editions. He also led the side to two Champions Trophy titles in 2006 and 2009. Ponting is 2,000+ runs clear of the next best on the list.
He led the side in 230 games and scored 8,497 runs at an average of 42.91. Ponting brought up 22 centuries and 51 half-centuries as the captain. His most memorable century came in the 2003 World Cup when he singlehandedly won Australia the World Cup final!
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