There have been a number of captains in ODI history who not only excelled with their tactical abilities and made a difference with their captaincy, but they also performed wonderfully well as players and were among the best players of their respective teams at the time when they were captains.
Here is the best XI of ODI captains –
#1 Openers (Graeme Smith, Kumar Sangakkara):
Graeme Smith captained South Africa in two World Cups in 2007 and 2011 respectively and on both occasions, his team was one of the favorites to win the tournament, but they lost crucial games and eventually ended up being knocked out of the tournament, despite being as good as any team in terms of talent and potential.
Kumar Sangakkara guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup final of 2011, but his team couldn’t cross the final hurdle as they were eventually beaten by a very balanced Indian team.
#2 Middle order (Ricky Ponting, Javed Miandad, Shakib Al Hasan, Steve Waugh):
Ricky Ponting is only the second captain in the history of the game who has won two ODI World Cups in a row. He did it in 2003 and 2007 respectively. The first captain to do it was the former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd who did it in 1975 and 1979 respectively.
Javed Miandad was also a very thoughtful captain when he captained Pakistan for a brief period of time. Never did Javed let the pressure of captaincy affect his batting and always remained a consistent run-scorer for Pakistan.
Shakib Al Hasan, who is currently suspended from international cricket for not reporting a fixing approach to ICC, also led Bangladesh from the front when he was in charge of the team. He was probably Bangladesh’s premier batsman and premier bowler, both at the same time.
Steve Waugh captained an Australian team which was termed invincible by some people because that team went all around the world and beat every team in all conditions and then they won a World Cup as well in 1999.
#3 Wicket-keeper and all-rounder (MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev):
Both MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev are world cup winning captains. In fact, they are the only two captains from India who have won the ODI World Cup trophy so far.
While Kapil did it in 1983 with a team which was an underdog in the tournament, Dhoni did it in 2011 under immense pressure at home.
The Indian team which won the ODI world cup in 2011 under Dhoni was the first team ever to win a World Cup at home.
#4 Bowlers (Daniel Vettori, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis):
The Pakistan ODI team made it to the final of the ODI World Cup 1999 under the captaincy of Wasim Akram. With the bowling attack that Pakistan had in that tournament, it was believed they might be able to upset the mighty Aussies in the final, but it wasn’t to be as Australia eventually beat Pakistan convincingly in the final to win the World Cup.
Waqar Younis captained Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup, but couldn’t guide them to the knockouts. However, with Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Younis himself, Pakistan had a quality bowling attack in that tournament as well.
Daniel Vettori’s New Zealand side also qualified for the semi-final of the ODI World Cup 2011, but their opponent in the semi-final was Sri Lanka which was one of the strongest teams in the subcontinent conditions. With an easy victory, Sri Lanka ended New Zealand’s campaign in the semis.
Vettori, however, bowled with excellent control and guile in that semi-final and gave away only 39 runs in his 10 overs.