The Indian cricket setup has improved and changed drastically over the years. Under the leadership of Kapil Dev, India won its first ever World Cup in 1983 which came as a shock to everyone. The underdogs defeated the favourites West Indies to clinch their first title. A bit of ups and downs since then, but India managed to recover well under Sourav Ganguly and then obviously, MS Dhoni. The nation awaits its next ICC trophy after the glory in the 2013 ICC Champions trophy. India’s test team prospered highly under Virat Kohli after Dhoni decided to step down from test captaincy. Here we look at the top 10 run-getters as captains for India in Test format.
1. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, the most successful skipper for India in the most extended format of the game. Born in Delhi in 1988, is a right-handed top-order batsman for India across all forms of the game. The “run machine King Kohli” has scored a mammoth 8676 runs in test cricket with 29 centuries. Known as the chase master, Kohli made his test debut against the West Indies in 2011. Since then, he has been arguably the best batter in the world. He was handed over the captaincy from MS Dhoni in 2014. He scored 5864 runs at an average of 54.80 as the test captain. He stepped down from the captaincy after a series loss against South Africa in 2021.
2. MS Dhoni
The captain cool of Indian cricket MS Dhoni, was born in Ranchi in 1981. In his childhood days, MS used to be a goalkeeper for his school football team. Who knew that the decision of his school coach to try him as a wicket-keeper in a local cricket match would bring a truckload of fortunes to Indian cricket? A skipper with all ICC trophies in the white ball format and, most importantly a powerful ball striker in the lower middle order. During his captaincy stint in the test format, MS played 60 matches and scored 3454 runs at an average of 40.64.
3. Sunil Gavaskar
The top-class Mumbai-based batter was born in 1949. The former batter and skipper was initially known as the “Little Master,” who revolutionized the batting style. He was also a part of the WC-winning team in 1983 under Kapil Dev. The maestro was named the captain in 1976 and led the team in 47 matches until 1985. He scored 3449 runs at an average of 50.72. He retired with 34 centuries in red-ball cricket and 10122 overall runs in 125 games.
4. Md Azharuddin
Md Azharuddin, famously known as Azhar, was born in 1963 in Hyderabad. A typical subcontinental batter with rubber-like wrists is one of the most prolific players in the history of Indian cricket. He made his test debut against England at Eden Gardens and scored a century. He captained India for almost nine years from 1990 to 1999 in the test format. In 47 matches, he scored 2856 runs at an average of 43.94 before succumbing to the match-fixing scandal in 2000.
5. Sourav Ganguly
A left-handed opening batter for India just defined how elegantly a southpaw can score on the off-side of the field. Popularly known as “Dada” among Indian fans, Ganguly was born in Calcutta in 1972. He was the captain who brought an aggressive approach and a sense of brutality to the team. Appointed as the captain of the test team in 2000, he went on to play 49 matches until 2005. Scoring 2561 runs at an average of 37.66 and 7212 runs in 113 test matches overall, he remains one of the finest captains of India.
6. Nawab Of Pataudi Jr
The right-handed batter from Bhopal was born in 1941. He was appointed the test captain in 1962 and made his test debut in 1961 against England at home. He scored 2424 runs at an average of 34.14 during his captaincy stint. He led the team in 40 matches until 1975 and scored 2793 runs, including six 100s in his test career.
7. Sachin Tendulkar
The master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was born in Mumbai in 1973. The short batter was a maestro and a batter of the rarest quality. He started playing for India at the tender age of 16 against the arch-rivals Pakistan in 1989. He is the only batter with a hundred international tons across formats. He was appointed as the captain of the test side in 1996 and had 25 matches under his belt. In those games, he scored 2054 runs at an average of 51.35. A performance this good was not satisfactory for him, so he decided to step down as the captain in 2000 to focus more on his batting.
8. Rahul Dravid
Famously known as “The Wall,” Rahul Dravid was born in 1973. The top-order right-handed batter was also capable of keeping the wickets when needed. He was known to outplay the bowlers defensively in testing conditions. His calmness while batting was unmatched, just like his immaculate stroke-play. He became the test captain in 2003 and continued till 2007. In 25 matches as captain, he scored 1736 runs at an average of 44.51 before retiring from international cricket in 2013.
9. Kapil Dev
The all-rounder who led India to the ultimate glory in WC of 1983 was born in Chandigarh in 1959. Popularly known as the “Haryana Hurricane,” he played a career-defining innings in the 1983 WC against Zimbabwe in a must-win encounter. Appointed as the skipper in 1983, he scored 1364 runs at an average of 31.72 in 34 matches until 1987.
10. Vijay Hazare
Vijay Hazare was born in 1915 and was appointed captain in 1951. Under his captaincy, India won their first-ever test match against England in the same year. He scored 874 runs at an average of 39.73 in fourteen matches as captain. The Vijay Hazare trophy is named after the player, which is a well-known tournament in the Indian domestic circuit.