HomeSportsCricketYouthful Leadership: Exploring the Youngest Captains in the Rich History of Cricket
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Youthful Leadership: Exploring the Youngest Captains in the Rich History of Cricket

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Being a captain is a big deal in cricket. It means you have a lot of responsibility, feel the pressure, and have control over the team. Usually, only experienced players who have proven themselves get to be captains. But sometimes, young players surprise everyone by becoming captains, like Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi from India and Tatenda Taibu from Zimbabwe.

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They didn’t have much experience, but they turned out to be some of the best captains ever for their countries. Here we have listed some of the youngest skippers of all time in cricket history.

Youngest Captains in the History of Cricket

Players Team Date Years Against
Rashid Khan*Afghanistan05/09/201920 years 350 daysBangladesh
Tatenda TaibuZimbabwe06/05/200420 years 358 daysSri Lanka
Mansoor Ali Khan PataudiIndia23/03/196221 years 77 daysWest Indies
Waqar YounisPakistan01/12/199322 years 15 daysZimbabwe
Graeme SmithSouth Africa24/04/200322 years 82 daysBangladesh
Shakib Al Hasan*Bangladesh17/07/200922 years 115 daysWest Indies
Ian CraigAustralia23/12/195722 years 194 daysSouth Africa
Javed MiandadPakistan27/02/198022 years 260 daysAustralia

Rashid Khan (20 Years and 350 Days)

Rashid Khan - Youngest Captains in Cricket History | KreedOn
Image Source: tbsnews.com

The first player on our list is the one and only Rashid Khan from Afghanistan. He is the youngest to captain his side at just 20 years and 350 days and broke the record for being the youngest skipper in the history of cricket, but he also captained the side in an ODI match when he was just 19 years old.

He was handed over the captaincy of the team in 2019 against Bangladesh in a test series, and he was also the all-format captain of the Afghan team. He could not continue as the captain of the team for a long time, but he created some brilliant records as the captain of the team.

As a skipper, he could not serve the Afghanistan team, but as a player, he has been a crucial part of the team since his debut. He has led his team to some achievements and moments throughout his career. He has been helping his team win important matches through his brilliant bowling, and sometimes he also contributes with his batting abilities.

On the international level, he has displayed an amazing piece of brilliance. So far in his career, he has played 190 matches, and he has 347 international wickets in his pocket.


Also Read | The Top 10 Youngest Century Scorers in Test Cricket: Youthful Brilliance

Tatenda Taibu (20 years 358 days)

Tatenda Taibu - Youngest Captains in Cricket History | KreedOn
Image Source: ESPNcricinfo

Tatenda Taibu holds the record for being the youngest cricketer to lead a national test team. Taibu is a wicket-keeper batsman from Zimbabwe. He started playing in 2001 and became captain in 2005, at the age of 20 and 358 days after Heath Streak stepped down. Taibu played 28 test matches for Zimbabwe, scoring 1546 runs, catching 57 balls, and making 5 stumpings.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (21 years 77 days)

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi - Youngest Captains in Cricket History | KreedOn
Image Source: PA Photos

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, part of a royal family and a Nawab himself, not only played test cricket for India but also became the team’s captain. He made history by becoming the youngest Indian cricketer to lead the team at the age of 21 years and 77 days. Pataudi led the Indian team in 40 matches, achieving a significant milestone by securing their first overseas test victory against New Zealand in 1967.

This respected Indian player and captain, known as MAK Pataudi, passed away on September 22, 2011, at the age of 70.

Waqar Younis (22 years 15 days)

Waqar Younis - Youngest Captains in Cricket History | KreedOn
Image Source: Wisden

Waqar Younis, the former Pakistani fast bowler, is famous for pioneering reverse swing bowling. He became Pakistan’s test captain at just 22 years and 15 days old during a match against Zimbabwe in Karachi in 1993, making him the youngest Pakistani to hold that position.

However, his time as captain wasn’t very successful. Throughout his career, Younis played 87 test matches and took 373 wickets for Pakistan. Alongside Wasim Akram, he formed one of the most formidable fast bowling partnerships in cricket history.


Most Fifers in Test Cricket | KreedOnAlso Read | Top 10 Players with Most Fifers in Test Cricket: Five-Wicket Wonders

Graeme Smith (22 years 82 days)

Graeme Smith - Youngest Captains in Cricket History | KreedOn
Image Source: livemint

Graeme Smith has been a great asset to South African cricket, serving as both a top player and captain. He took over the captaincy at just 22 years old, leading from the front as an opening batsman. He helped the team recover from the problems caused by match-fixing scandals under the previous captain, Hansie Cronje.

Smith is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen and captains in South African cricket history. Under his leadership, the team reached new heights, becoming the number-one-ranked team in both test and one-day international cricket.

Shakib Al Hasan (22 years 115 days)

Shakib Al Hasan | KreedOn
Image Source: Getty Images

The former skipper of Bangladesh is also on our list because he was just 22 years and 115 days old when he was handed over the captaincy of the team. The Bangladeshi team reached a new height under his captaincy and won a match overseas. Later, his captaincy was on and off throughout his career, but as a player, he continued to serve his team as a brilliant all-rounder. Since his debut, he has been the biggest match winner for his team with his batting and his bowling as well.

He has led his team to many famous victories, and he is probably the best cricketer that Bangladesh has ever produced in their cricket history. He is also one of the best all-rounders of this era, and it would not be wrong if you included him as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. So far in his international career, he has scored 14406 runs, along with 690 wickets.

Ian Craig (22 years 194 days)

Ian Craig | KreedOn
Image Source Ken Piesse Cricket Books

Ian Craig made his Test debut as captain against South Africa in Johannesburg on December 23, 1957, when he was just 22 years and 194 days old. Throughout his time as captain, he played five matches, winning three with no losses and two ties. He became the youngest Australian Test captain in cricket history during the 1957 South Africa tour, breaking Murray Bisset’s record. Craig continued leading the Australian team on their tour to South Africa in 1958.

Javed Miandad (22 years 260 days)

Javed Miandad | KreedOn
Image Source: The Roar

On February 27, 1980, Javed debuted in Test cricket for Pakistan against Australia in Karachi. He became one of the youngest Test cricket captains and had a remarkable career. In 34 matches, he led the team to 14 wins, suffered six losses, and had 14 draws. Javed was chosen as captain after Asif Iqbal retired, despite not being the most experienced player. However, his victory in his first match as captain against Australia proved his leadership skills to the world.


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