Most Successful Ashes Captains – A Surprising List Perhaps?
Steve Smith and Joe Root are two of the finest batsmen and players in modern-day test match cricket and Ashes Cricket. Previously before them, Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke were also two brilliant captains – both winning Ashes series. But are any of these four part of the list of “the most successful Ashes captains in test history?”
But Ashes Cricket started in 1882, where Australia defeated England at the Kia Oval on a difficult wicket. They won the test match by just 7 runs in a very low-scoring game.
But who are the most successful Ashes Captains in the history of the series between England and Australia?
5. Mark Taylor
Mark Taylor has a win percentage in Ashes Cricket of 56.25. He captained Australia between 1994 and 1999. He did not lose a single Ashes series in his time, both home and away. Taylor continued Allan Border’s legacy of dominance over England and when he retired both Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting took over.
Mark Taylor captained in 16 Ashes test matches. He won 9, lost 4 and drew 3. His win-loss ratio, therefore, stands at 2.25. Shane Warne said that Mark Taylor was the best captain that he ever played under.
He was resoundingly good as an opening batsman during his first test series as captain. In the 1994/95 Ashes series, Taylor scored 471 runs at a batting average of 47.10. This paved the way for Australia to win the series 3-1.
Despite captaining Australia to Ashes series victories in 1997 and 1998/99, he himself struggled with the bat in those two series. In the 1997 Ashes series, he only averaged 32. Plus, Mark Taylor only averaged 23 in his final Ashes series and test series as captain in the 1998/99 Ashes.
Mark Taylor is fifth on our list of most successful Ashes captains.
4. Sir Donald Bradman
Sir Donald Bradman is unarguably the greatest batsman in test match history. However, few people realise his captaincy credentials. Sir Donald Bradman has a win percentage in Ashes Cricket of 57.89 %.
He captained in 19 games, winning 11, losing 3 and drawing 5. He captained Australia from 1936-1948. Sir Donald Bradman has a win-loss ratio of 3.66. Considering the number of runs he scored and how well he captained, he is perhaps Australia’s greatest ever sportsperson.
Bradman himself averaged just under 90 against England in Ashes Cricket, comfortably the highest average by anyone in the history of the series. Amazingly, Sir Donald Bradman never averaged below 50 in any test series throughout his career.
In the 1936/37 Ashes series, he scored 910 runs at a batting average of 90. He followed it up with another 434 runs in the 1938 Ashes series at a batting average of 108.50. His second-last Ashes series garnered 680 runs at 97.14 in 1946-47. Finally, in his last Ashes series as captain and as a player, Sir Donald Bradman scored 508 runs at a batting average of 72.57 in 1948.
That 1948 Ashes series remains synonymous with Sir Donald Bradman being dismissed for a duck at the Kia Oval when he only needed four runs to average 100 in test match cricket.
Sir Donald Bradman sits at number 4 on our list of most successful Ashes captains.
Also, Read – Who Has Scored The Most Ashes Hundreds?
3. WG Grace
William Gilbert Grace. The first cricketer who became a personality. WG Grace captained England in 13 Ashes test matches between 1888 and 1899. In this time, he won 8 test matches, lost 3 and drew 2. WG Grace has a win percentage of 61.53.
He still remains an iconic cricketer in Ashes series. WG Grace has a win-loss ratio of 2.66. He was instrumental in the development of cricket for both amateurs and professionals. As a result, he is considered one of cricket’s greatest ever players and also ambassadors.
WG Grace sits third on our list of most successful Ashes captains.
2. Mike Brearley -#2 on the list of most successful Ashes Captains
Most Successful Ashes Captains – Best Englishman
Mike Brearley was England’s greatest ever captain in the Ashes statistically. His win percentage in Ashes cricket is a very strong 73.33. Incredibly, Mike Brearley captained in 15 test matches. He won 11 test matches, losing just 1 and drawing three. Ian Botham described him as the best captain that he ever played under.
Mike Brearley was captain of the famous 1981 Ashes series where Sir Ian Botham’s heroics helped England win the Ashes series 3-1, following amazing wins at Headingley, Old Trafford and at Edgbaston. He helped England dominate Ashes series during his career. Mike Brearley captained between 1977 and 1981 – only a four-year timespan. However, he was incredibly successful in that time period.
He remains only one of four English captains posts the war to an Ashes series down under. Mike Brearley won the 1978/79 Ashes series 5-1 as captain of England. He also helped to bring the best out of Sir Ian Botham as a cricketer.
Mike Brearley sits second on our list of most successful Ashes captains.
1. Warwick Armstrong – #1 on the list of most successful Ashes Captains
Most Successful Ashes Captains – Best Australian
Warwick Armstrong is statistically the greatest Ashes captain in the history of the series. He is the only one on the list to have never lost an Ashes test match. Armstrong captained in 10 Ashes tests. He won 8 of those and drew the other 2. He was captain between 1920 and 1921.
In those days they perhaps played a lot less cricket. Therefore, it is surprising to see that he captained in 10 Ashes test matches in just over 12 months. He is the most successful Australian captain in Ashes history, with a win percentage of 80%. He does not have a win-loss ratio since he has never lost a test match.
Warwick Armstrong sits first on our list of most successful Ashes captains.
The Future of Ashes Captains
Tim Paine and Joe Root are the current Ashes captains after Steve Smith was relieved off his captaincy duties following the Cape Town incident in 2018. Both are captains of two teams who have a rich Ashes history.
Whether Tim Paine will keep his place in the side will depend on if he can contribute runs. There is no doubt that he is a good captain of the Australian Cricket Team. Joe Root is slowly beginning to grow as captain and England will hope that he can lead the side to a triumph in the 2021/22 Ashes down under, now that they have a much stronger test team then on their previous two visits.
Can Tim Paine and Joe Root break into the list of Top 5 Most Successful Ashes Captains in history?
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