A lot has changed in the world of cricket since its inception way back in the 18th century. The rules have drastically changed, test cricket is in danger of becoming extinct due to the new and entertaining T20 format, there are T20 Leagues all around the world, and the list can go on and on. But one thing that has not changed is the craze and excitement for the ICC Cricket World Cup since its first edition in 1975. The past 12 editions have seen some seriously talented teams led by their uniquely skilled captain conquer the world. Here’s a list the best cricket captains in the world cup who led their team’s to the ultimate glory:
Clive Lloyd was the captain of the most dominant team ever in the history of test cricket. Born on 31 August 1944, in Georgetown, British Guiana, he was a hard-hitting yet dependable left-handed batsman and a part-time medium pacer.
One can argue that his job as a captain was pretty straight forward. With a pack of gunners including the likes of Roberts, Marshall, Holding, Garner, and Croft at his command, and batsmen of the calibre of Haynes, Greenidge, and Richards, he certainly had some serious talent to rely upon. But he holds the credit for instilling his talented side with the professionalism and determination propelling them to win consistently, even when the odds were against them. In fact, he gelled them as a team from a bunch of talented individuals uniting the disparate threads of the separate nations that make up the West Indies.
The West Indian Cricket dominance under Clive Lloyd was evident in the first 2 editions of the ICC World Cup (earlier called the Prudential Cup). The talented squad played big throughout both the tournaments.
In 1975, Clive Lloyd scored a match-winning century in the final against Australia. West Indies were 50-3 when he came in to bat. Lloyd scored 102 off 88 balls at the Lords which remained the only century of his career in limited overs cricket. He engraved their names in the history books as the first ever World Champions of cricket.
Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj is arguably the greatest Indian all-rounder ever. He was named the Indian Cricketer of the Century by Wisden in 2002. Born on 6 January 1959, Kapil’s biggest asset was his outswinger that he bowled at will. He famously remarked: “God gave me the outswinger, I had to develop the rest”.
The 1983 Indian team achieved what was highly believed as impossible then. The underdogs defeated mighty West Indies to become the World Champions and revolutionised the landscape of World Cricket. On 18 June 1983, Dev produced what is arguably the best individual performance by an Indian Cricketer. India was facing Zimbabwe in a must situation. India was under crisis at 9-4 when Kapil walked in. The 24-year old refused to give up and soon started taking things under control. He ended up scoring an unbeaten 175 runs off 138 balls shattering a plethora of records in the books which remained untouched for years.
The finals were set at the home of cricket against the back-to-back champions West Indies. The bookies ran odds to 50:1 against India. But one man refused to believe in it. And again it was the Indian captain who stood tall when it mattered the most. 24-year old Kapil Dev still remains the youngest captain ever to bring home the highest honour in the world of cricket, the Cricket World Cup.
Ricky Ponting is widely regarded as the greatest cricket captain of all time and one of the greatest batsmen of all time. Ponting captained the Australian National team during its ‘golden era’ from 2002 and 2011 in ODIs. Australia holds a record 34 match winning streak in the World Cup. Winning 2 World Titles in the process under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting. Australia won 165 ODIs at a winning percentage of 76.14 and 48 Tests with a win percentage of 62.33 under Ponting’s captaincy. As a batsman, Ricky Ponting is the only Australian to score more than 12000 runs in Test Cricket and 10000 runs ODI Cricket. Also, he is third in most centuries in Tests as well as ODIs.
Australia pulled off the 2003 World Cup Finals against India. It was fueled by Ponting’s 140 run knock to post a target of 360. The 2007 World Cup Finals was again a one-sided affair, thanks to Adam Gilchrist’s 149 off 104 balls.
M.S. Dhoni (India, 2011)
MS Dhoni or Mahi is one of the most intelligent players ever to play the game of cricket. He is the only captain in the history of Cricket to have led a team to all 3 ICC Championships: 2007 ICC T-20 World Cup, 2011 ICC World Cup and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. The 2011 World Cup, however, was a special achievement, close to the hearts of Indian fans all around the world. Dhoni scored an unbeaten 91 off 79 balls and finished the match with a classic six announcing the arrival of the new World Champions in the world. It is still a goosebumps moment to look at that game-winning sixer hit by Dhoni in the World Cup Finals.