Who is the greatest all round of all times ? to answer this question we need to first define the “all-rounder” term in cricket. A cricketer who excel in more than one discipline, players with both good batting and bowling abilities. Sometimes even wicket-keepers can be seen as all rounders. So what seperates great all rounder from a good all rounder ? I can think of three factors
- A). pure cricketing ability
- B). match- winner (indefinable ability to have major impact on the result of the game in either discipline (Bat or Bowl),
- C). Consistency in both discipline
So today we take a look at 10 of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game. there have been very few genuine all-rounders who made big impact on their national team’s performances over the longer period of times. A few names comes to mind the likes of Gary Sobbers, Imran Khan, Kepil Dev, Ian Botham, Jacques Kallis and we can throw a few more names like Richard Hadlee, Wasim Akram, Andrew Flintoff or even Adam Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakara who were exceptional wicket-keeping batsmen. So lets start the countdown and the debate. You can chip in with your opinion by commenting below.
#1. Sir Garry Sobers
If Don Bradman is the greatest batsman of all time, Garry Sobers is widely regarded as the greatest all rounder in cricket history. Whatever way you want to look at be it statistic wise, performance wise or the kind of impact he had on one of the most successful test cricket team (West Indies of 60’s and 70’s) he comes up top.
Played around 93 test matches and scored a massive 8032 runs at the average of 57.78 which at that time was second only to Bradman. Garry Sobers also took incredible 235 wickets. Its a pity he retired just when limited over cricket was introduced. He only played 1 one day international.
#2. Imran Khan
Absolute raw talent who was molded into a disciplined cricketer while his stay in England. Imran Khan had probably more “will power” to succeed than talent. He was poineer of swing bowling and added another lethal weapon of reverse swing to his Armour. He made a name in era when West Indies fast bowlers were rolling over teams with ease.
Imran Khan scored 3807 runs in 88 test matches at a healthy average of 37.69 but it was his sheer ability with the ball which makes him stand-out. Imran Khan took 362 wickets at mere average of just 22.81 over 88 test matches. Imran Khan’s batting and bowling abilities combine with supreme captaincy credentials makes him apart than other great all-rounders.
#3. Kapil Dev
Very similar statistics and abilities like Imran Khan. Kepil Dev is the finest bowler India has ever produce who performed at highest level for best part of 15 years.
434 wickets in 131 test matches combine with another 253 wickets in ODI cricket in 225 matches makes him the greatest bowler India has ever produced but he was more than than, Kapil Dev’s iconic performances lead to India winning their first world cup in 1983 beating West Indies in the final
#4. Ian Botham
One of the finest Cricketer England has produced, Ian Botham’s was match winner in both batting and bowling. He became the fastest player to reach test milestone of 1000 runs and 100 wickets. His high point was that Ashes series against Australia where he came out of nowhere and rocked Aussies with both bat and bowl.
He took 383 wickets in 102 matches and scored 5200 runs at average of 33.54 including 14 centuries. His ability to take the game away from opposition with his hard hitting fast paced batting was the key ingredient which made him stand-out.
#5. Richard Hadlee
First play to reach 400 test wickets, Richard Hadlee was one of the greatest bowlers of all times and his hard-hitting batting where he average a healthy 27.16 makes him one of the best all-rounders of truly most competitive test era. It took just 78 test matches for him to reach 400 test wicket mark and by the time he retired in 1990 he had played 86 test matches took 431 wickets at absolute cracking strike rate of 50.8 and elevated New Zealand to a pretty competitive test unit.
He was probably better bowler than other all-rounders we have listed above but he was just a good batsman and that is why he is fourth in the list.
#6. Jacques Kallis
Argubaly the best batsman of all the allrounders we are going to discuss, Kallis made his debut in 1995 just a few years after the ban on South Africa was lifted and boy would he go on to become the main stay of South African batting for next 20 years. scored incredible 13,289 runs with 55.37 average including 45 centuries second only to the great Sachin Tendulkar.
He was more than just a handy bowler 292 wickets in 166 test and another 273 in 328 ODI games. He was true All-rounder in every sense who could have played for South Africa even with only batting or bowling.
#7. Andrew Flintoff
Well this might be controversial inclusion just like Flintoff career has been. So much promise, ability and raw talent widely regarded as “new Botham” in younger days and had he stayed fit and focused he might would have gone on to become the greatest all-rounder of all times. His performances against Australia in 2005 Ashes series was probably the most iconic and talked about “single handed” impact on cricket.
Flintoff played 79 test matches scored around 3845 runs and took 226 wickets, probably not the record which merit his position in the top 10 all rounders of all times list but it was that magical ability to transform into world beater when the odds against his team which earned him a place here in great company.
#8. Shaun Pollock
421 wickets in 108 test matches and 393 wickets in 303 ODI matches makes Pollack one of best bowlers to have come from South Africa. He more than just a handy batsman as well and countless times made himself count in the lower middle-order.
His statistics are maybe not world class but he is the optimum all-rounder we are talking about who could chip in in both bowling and batting.
#9. Wasim Akram
Not only the best pakistani fast bowler but also one of the best of all times. Wasim Akram was absolute gem of a rare left-arm fast bowler. He was at his peak in the 1992 pakistan’s world cup triumph ending up man of the series and was instrumental throughout the career.
He was not a reliable batsman specially in Test cricket but a decent late order batsman who could get runs at a rapid pace plus his first bowler to reach 500 ODI wickets get him a place in the top 10 greatest all rounder list.
#10. Richie Benaud
248 test wickets in 63 matches combine with 2201 at decent average of 24 for a late order batsman gets him a place in top 10 list of all time greatest All-Rounders of all times.
So there you have it ultimate list of top 10 greatest All rounders in cricket history. We have given test statistics more weight behind the players inclusion in the list because that is the pure form of the game. Now its your turn to contribute by letting us know your top 10 list using the comments section below.