Every time the captain cannot lead the team from the front with his contributions, and sometimes he may be ineffective at decision-making, he must suffer losses. Reasons can include a lack of a good team, a lack of resources at critical points in the game, and poor decision-making. Let us look at cricket captains with the greatest number of losses in international cricket.
1. Stephen Fleming – 135 Losses
Without a doubt, Stephen Fleming was New Zealand’s most successful captain, but he was also responsible for more losses than any other captain in international cricket. New Zealand lost 135 of the 303 matches in which Fleming served as captain. Out of those, 27 came in the 80 Test matches he led, the second most for a Test captain overall, and 106 in ODIs, the most for any other ODI captain. The other two defeats came when Fleming was captain of New Zealand in T20Is.
2. Arjuna Ranatunga – 114 Losses
Arjuna Ranatunga may have changed the course of Sri Lankan cricket with his famous victories, but he also ranks near the top of the list of captains with the most losses in international cricket. Sri Lanka lost 114 games in 249 matches as captain, with 95 of those coming in the ODI format, the second most losses for any captain who led his side in the ODI format. Another 19 defeats occurred while he was leading the Test team.
3. Ms Dhoni – 109 Losses
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been one of the most successful captains, and India’s most successful captain, but he has also led his team to several defeats. Under MS Dhoni, India lost 109 of the 297 matches he commanded, with 68 coming in ODIs and 18 in Tests. Dhoni led India to 23 losses in T20Is, the most losses for any captain in T20Is.
4. Mohammed Azharuddin – 90 Losses
Azharuddin led the Indian team to 90 losses during one of its most difficult periods. He was the captain of the Indian team in 221 matches, 90 of which they lost. With 76 ODI losses, he became the Indian captain with the most ODI losses. The remaining 14 losses for India under Azharuddin came in Test cricket.
5. Allan Border – 89 Losses
Even though Allan Border led Australia to many victories as captain, he was also on the losing end of most matches, as Australia lost 89 times in 271 matches under Border. Border’s team lost 67 One-Day Internationals and 22 Tests while he was the Australian captain.
6. Graeme Smith – 89 Losses
Despite being one of the most successful captains, Graeme Smith makes this list because South Africa lost 89 times in 286 matches during his 11-year captaincy. Smith led South Africa to 29 test defeats, the most of any captain in Test history. However, his team lost 51 ODIs out of 150 matches, with the remaining 9 coming in the shortest version of the game.
7. Brian Lara – 85 Losses
Despite his excellent contributions, Brian Lara may be considered unlucky to be leading West Indies during one of its worst periods. Lara, who led the Caribbean Islands’ representing team from 1994 to 2007, saw his team lose 85 of 172 matches. 26 of those came in the 47 Test matches he led the West Indies in, with a win/loss ratio of 0.38, while his team lost 59 of 125 ODIs under Lara.
8. Sourav Ganguly – 79 Losses
Ganguly was one of the best captains the world has ever seen, but he was also one of the few captains who lost a significant number of games. India lost 78 games in 196 matches under Ganguly’s captaincy, with 65 coming in ODIs and 13 in Test cricket. Another defeat came when he captained Asia XI in an ODI against the ICC World XI.
9. Ricky Ponting – 77 Losses
Ricky Ponting was the most successful captain in International Cricket, but he is also one of the top ten captains who led their team to defeat on more than one occasion. Under Ponting, Australia played 324 matches and only lost 77. He led Australia to 16 Test defeats out of 77 matches, and his team was defeated 51 times out of 225 in 50-over cricket. He also captained his team in ten T20I defeats.
10. Imran Khan – 67 Losses
Pakistan’s most successful captain also has the unusual distinction of leading his team to the most defeats. Given the number of matches he led his team in, he is included on this list. Pakistan lost 67 of 187 matches during Imran Khan’s tenure. He led Pakistan to 48 Test victories, with only eight defeats. However, Pakistan lost 59 of 139 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) under Imran Khan.