Test captains with the best win-loss ratios

Here we have the raw data for all Test captains. Naturally the W/L ration is undefined for those with no losses:

Here we have everyone who captained in 2 or more Tests without a loss.

This list is headed by WW Armstrong of a century ago with 10 Tests including 8 wins and 2 draws, followed by DB Close (7 Tests, 6 wins and a draw).

Those with an all-win record are A Bacher, today’s Babar Azam and Lord Hawke who all captained in 4 Tests.

Also note AM Rahane with 5 Tests, 4 wins and a draw.

However, this list would be more meaningful if it was restricted to those who captained in 10 or more Tests.

Here we get:

As mentioned earlier, WW Armstrong is the only one here with no losses. Next come Jardine, Bradman and Steve Waugh. Waugh has the highest ration for those who captained in 25 or more Tests.

From India, V Kohli is the only one.

Analyzing Test captaincies – 4

Here we look at captains with no wins, no losses and no draws.

No Wins:

These are captains in 4 or more Tests with no wins.

Headed by M Ashraful of Bangladesh with 13 (12 losses and 1 draw). The next (IT Botham) is more surprising. Another Bangladeshi Khaled Mashud also has 12.

In recent years there are AG Cremer (8) and KC Brathwaite (5).

From India there are MH Mankad (6), S Venkataraghavan (5) and others with 4.

No losses:

These are captains in 2 or more Tests with no losses.

WW Armstrong with 10 heads this list, with 8 wins and 2 draws.

Next are DB Close and FG Mann with 7.

In recent years there is only AM Rahane with 2; both of these wins were when he was standing in for Kohli.

From India we also have Srikkanth with 4 (all draws).

No draws:

These are captains in 3 or more Tests with no draws.

Headed by Waqar Younis (17, 10 wins and 7 losses). The next is Shakib with 14 (3 wins and 11 losses).

Others from recent times (other than Shakib) include R Herath, KC Brathwaite and RAS Lakmal with 5.

Brathwaite has 5 losses out of 5.

From India there is DK Gaekwad with 4 (all losses). He is presently India’s oldest living Test player.

Analyzing Test captaincies – 3

Now we look at the ranking of captains by simple criteria such as win-loss ratios and win percentage.

Win-loss ratios (raw):

All of those listed here have a win-loss ratio of infinity-since they never lost a Test. A few like Srikkanth and Majid Khan managed to draw all their Tests.

As this table is not very meaningful, we repeat this with a restriction of a minimum of 10 Tests:

These are limited to those with W/L ratios above 2.00

This list of 31 is headed by Warwick Armstrong with 8 wins, no losses and 2 draws. Others have lost at least one Test. The first few are generally considered to be among the best captains although they had relatively short careers. And not everyone would agree with Jardine’s tactics.

Current captains are Kohli (#16) and Williamson (#25). They should be around for a while.

Also note that these two are the only representatives of India and New Zealand respectively among the top 31 (who have W/L ratio above 2.00)

West Indies is headed by Richards and Lloyd (as you may expect). Pakistan is headed by Zaheer Abbas (whom you would not expect). Similarly SM Pollock is the top SA captain here (though there is also A Bacher with 4 wins in 4 Tests).

From the upper table, special mention should be made of DB Close (6 wins and 1 draw in 7 Tests).

We also look at

Percentage of wins (raw):

Somewhat meaningful, although those with short careers (A Bacher and Lord Hawke) have an advantage with 4 wins out of 4. The latter was a poor batsman but somehow managed to win 4 Tests and played in one other victory, thus seeing victory in all his 5 Tests.

Bacher did not do too well himself but had a good team and a demoralized Australian team to contend with.

As in the case of W/L ratios, we will get more useful results with a restriction of a minimum of 10 Tests:

This list of 28 is of those with a win percentage of a minimum of 50%.

This may fit in better with general perceptions, though Warwick Armstrong is still at the top with 80%. Here Steve Waugh is above Bradman unlike in the upper table. Others like Kohli and Williamson are ranked higher than in the upper table.

Kohli, Williamson, Paine, Root and du Plessis are the current captains although the last-named intends to step down. And SPD Smith may make a comeback.

It is interesting to see the most successful captains from their countries:

WW Armstrong (Aus)

WG Grace (Eng) ?!

V Kohli (Ind)

FMM Worrell (WI)

Waqar Younis (Pak) ?!

KS Williamson (NZ)

SM Pollock (SA)

Note that Waqar Younis has 10 wins, 7 losses and no draws. This is also a record, which we will see later.

CH Lloyd is not here as his win % is less than 50.

There are still more studies of captaincy coming up.