Captaining one’s national team is a moment of pride and honor for any cricketer, especially in Test cricket. England, one of the most competitive teams globally, has also had some great captains who have helped England reach some unprecedented heights.
Here, in this article, we look at some of the best Test captains for England and their records in the most challenging format.
1. Mike Brearley
Mike Brearley is a former right-handed wicketkeeper batter from Middlesex. He is regarded as one of England’s most outstanding captains. During his captaincy tenure from 1997 to 1981, Mike led the team in 31 Test matches, winning 18, losing four, and drawing nine. Mike has the highest win percentage of 58.06 among English captains with a minimum of ten Test match wins.
2. Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan is considered one of the best English captains of the modern era. Vaughan was the captain of the Test team from 2003 to 2008 and led the team in 51 Test matches. The English team won 26, lost 11, and drew 14 games under his captaincy. Vaughan’s greatest achievement as a captain came in 2005 when England regained the Ashes for the first time since 1987.
3. Peter May
Peter May, a right-handed top-order batter from Berkshire, is next on the list. Peter succeeded Len Hutton as England’s Test captain as Hutton could not continue due to health reasons. Peter capatained the England Test team from 1955 to 1961 in 41 matches. The team won 20 Test matches under his captaincy, with a win percentage of 48.78.
4. Andrew Strauss
Andrew Strauss was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but played for England in international cricket. He made his Test match debut in 2003 and was quickly entrusted with the captaincy role in 2006. Strauss led the English Test team in 50 games and won 24, lost 11, and drew 15, achieving an impressive win percentage of 48. In 2012, he gave up his captaincy and announced his retirement from international cricket.
5. Len Hutton
Len Hutton, one of England’s star batters in the 50s, is next to feature on the list. Hutton played as a right-handed top-order batter, scoring close to 7000 runs in 79 Test matches at an average of 56.67. He also led England in Test matches from 1952 to 1955 in 23 games. The team won 11, lost four, and drew eight games under his captaincy before he retired in 1955.
6. Joe Root
Joe Root, England's run machine, is next to show up on the list. Joe Root captained the England Test team from 2017 to 2022. He became a vital member of the English team due to his prolific and astounding batting and was also given the responsibility of leading the team after Alastair Cook gave up the captaincy in 2016. Root led the team in 64 Tests, the highest for any England captain, and won 27, lost 26, and drew 11.
7. Alastair Cook
Next, we have Alastair Cook, England’s highest run scorer in Test matches. From 2010 to 2016, Cook captained the English team in 59 Test matches and won 24, lost 22, and drew 13 of them. The English team retained the 2013 Ashes under his captaincy. However, his most notable feat as a captain came in 2012 when England won the Test series against India in India.
8. Raymond Illingworth
Raymond Illingworth, a right-arm off-spinner from Yorkshire, is the next to feature on the list. He is regarded as one of the most tactically sound captains of England. Illingworth was the captain of the Test team from 1969 to 1973 in 31 games. The team won 12, lost five, and drew 14 matches under his captaincy.
9. Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain made his Test match debut in 1989 and served his country for 16 years before retiring in 2004. He was an excellent batter and a competent leader who uplifted English Test cricket from its woes during the early 2000s. He captained the Test team from 1999 to 2003 in 45 matches, winning 17, losing 15, and drawing 13.
10. Graham Gooch
Graham Gooch is a former right-handed top-order batter from Essex. Gooch was one of England’s most trusted batters and scored close to 9,000 Test runs. Nonetheless, he also got an opportunity to lead his national team in Test matches. He captained England from 1988 to 1993 in 34 Test matches, winning 10, losing 12, and drawing 12.