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Ranking the Top 10 Best All-Rounders of All Time

An All-Rounder in cricket is a player who can do both batting and bowling. All-rounders are predominantly of two types- Batting All-Rounder and Bowling All-Rounder.

A batting all-rounder is someone who has a better batting average than bowling average whole it’s the vice versa for a bowling all-rounder. A good all-rounder is someone who is equally adept with both bat and bowl and has the ability to make a team either with the bat or ball.

These players are a phenomena in their own. Cricket has been blessed with many great all-rounders who with their indomitable spirit, aura on the field and their talismanic approach have won matches over matches.

Picking the top 10 all-rounders is always a tough one. Players like Keith Miller, Richie Benaud, Tony Greig missed out just because of their lack of performances in the shorter formats of the game, but here’s the ultimate list of players who rose to the occasion and stole the limelight and turned matches in their team’s favour when it mattered the most.

#10. Chris Cairns

Test Stats: Matches: 62, Runs: 3320 at 33.54, 5 centuries and 22 half centuries, Wickets: 218 at 29.4, 13 5-wicket hauls, 1 10-wicket haul, BBI: 7/27,BBM: 10/100

ODI Stats: Matches: 215, Runs: 4950 at 29.46, 4 Centuries and 26 half centuries, Wickets: 201 at 32.81, 1 5-wicket haul, BBI: 5/42

It might be a surprise to start off with Chris Cairns because he’s been very underrated. But his stats reveal otherwise. More than 8000 runs and 400+ wickets are a testimony of his importance to the Black Caps.

In fact he was the reason New Zealand won the ICC Knock-Out Trophy in 2000. Chasing 265, New Zealand were reeling at 109-4 when Cairns stepped in and scored 102 runs, perhaps the innings of his life.

In his 17 years of cricket he has churned absolute magic on the pitch and has proved that he was and would be the one of the best all-rounders of the game.

#9. Andrew Flintoff

Test Stats: Matches: 79, Runs: 3845 at 31.78, 5 centuries and 26 half centuries, H.S: 167, Wickets: 226 at 32.79,3 5-wicket hauls, BBI: 5/58, BBM: 8/126

ODI Stats: Matches: 141, Runs: 3394 at 32.02,3 centuries and 18 half centuries, H.S: 123, Wickets: 169 at 24.38,2 5-wicket hauls, BBM: 5/19

Flintoff’s averages in the mid-30s don’t reflect the fact that he enjoyed a demi-god status in England. But he was much more than just stats to England.

The aggression, the passion were all on fore when Flintoff took the field. He was controversial, maverick and fans’ favourite.

The highlight of his career was the 2005 ashes which England won due to his heroics. Flintoff scored 402 runs at an average of 40 and took 24 wickets to inspire England to a historic win over Australia.

#8. Shaun Pollock

Test Stats: Matches: 108, Runs: 3781 at 32.32, 2 centuries and 16 half centuries, H.S: 111, Wickets: 421 at 23.12, 16 5-wicket and 1 10-wicket haul, BBI- 7/87, BBM: 10/147

ODI Stats: Matches: 303, Runs: 3519 at 26.46, 1 century and 14 half centuries, H.S: 130, Wickets: 393 at 24.51, 5 5-wicket hauls, BBM-6/35

Over the years, South Africa have produced some exceptional. Shaun Pollock was one of those, who went to establish himself as one of the greats of the game. Coming from a family of legends, he went on to become one.

He has the record of the most number of centuries at number 2, which testify that he’s not a tail ender. His batting average are a fact of that. With the ball, he and Alan Donald, reaped great fruits for South Africa.

It was his nagging line and his sheer accuracy which made it tough to score runs off him. Dale Steyn might have overtaken him as the top wicket taker for South Africa, but, in ODIs, he’s leading the charts by a mile.

#7. Shakib-Al-Hasan

Test Stats: Matches: 57, Runs-3930 at 39.7,5 centuries and 25 centuries, HS: 217, Wickets: 211 at 31.2, 18 5-wicket and 2 10-wicket hauls, BBI: 7/36, BBM: 10/124

ODI Stats: Matches: 209, Runs: 6436 at 37.86,9 centuries and 48 half centuries, H.S: 134,Wickets: 266 at 29.73, 2 5-wicket hauls, BBI: 5/29

Perhaps the most underrated all-rounder of modern day cricket. Shakib is a force to reckon with, be any format of the game. Even in international t20s he’s scored over 1500 runs with a healthy strike rate of 123 and has taken close to 100 wickets. He’s surely the greatest cricketer from Bangladesh.

If not from a weak time like Bangladesh, we could have seen much more from this southpaw.

His records speak a lot for him. He’s in the elite list of cricketers to have scored a century and take a 10 haul in the same test match. His recent World Cup records have proved a lot where he joined another list of scoring a half century and take a 5 wicket haul in the same match. He scored around 606 runs and took 11 wickets in the mega tournament but like

always he got no support from the other end and Bangladesh failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

#6. Kapil Dev

Test Stats: Matches: 131, Runs: 5248 at 31.05,8 centuries and 27 half centuries, Wickets: 434 at 29.05, 23 5-wicket hauls and 2 10-wicket hauls, BBI: 9/83, BBM: 11/146

ODI Stats: Matches: 225, Runs: 3783 at 23.79,1 century and 14 half centuries, Wickets: 253 at 27.45, 1 5-wicket haul, BBM: 5/43

Voted the Wisden Cricketer of the Century,ahead of big names like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil was one of the greatest cricketers from India.

Certainly the best all-rounder and one of the greatest fast bowlers from India, he was an absolute brilliance on field. That he was much ahead of his generation is proved by he fact that his career strike rate was much ah-ead of his contemporaries (94 in Tests and 95 in ODIs).

Apart from being a great all-rounder, he was a brilliant fielder. Who can forget that catch of Viv Richards running backwards. Moreover he was the fittest cricketer of his time and never missed a match due to fitness issues.

#5. Sir Richard Hadlee

Test Stats: Matches: 86, Runs-3124 at 27.17, 2 centuries and 15 half centuries, Wickets: 431 at 22.3, 36 5-wicket hauls and 9 10-wicket hauls, BBI: 9/52, BBM: 15/123

ODI Stats: Matches: 115, Runs: 1751 at 21.35,4 half centuries, Wickets: 158 at 21.56, 5 5-wicket hauls, BBM: 5/25

New Zealand’s greatest cricketer by a fair distance, Sir Richard Hadlee was often the difference between New Zealand being a formality and world beaters. Such was his contribution to New Zealand Cricket. This he did, after managing his fair share of injuries.

He was a pure magician with the ball and could extract life from even the most docile of pitches. Such was his dominance with the ball, that he gave good performances even on the tailor made pitches of India.

New Zealand might have produced some great cricketers in the past but when you would pronounce the term greatest, Sir Richard Hadlee would echo in everyone’s mind.

#4. Sir Ian Botham

Test Stats: Matches: 101, Runs: 5200 at 33.55, 14 centuries and 20 half centuries, H.S: 208, Wickets: 383 at 28.4, 27 5-wicket and 4 10-wicket hauls, BBI: 8/34, BBM: 13/106

ODI Stats: Matches: 116, Runs: 2113 at 23.22,9 half centuries, H.S: 79, Wickets: 145 at 28.54, BBM: 4/31

Very few times would we see a player enjoying the kind of status which Sir Ian Botham enjoys in England. Easily the most famous England cricketer ever, he was the fastest to complete the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets, a feat he achieved in just 21 matches.

From carrying England in the 1981 ashes to facingfacing ban for smoking cannabis, we would find the word Maverick written all over Botham’s life.

The Ashes of 1981 was the pinnacle of his career and he came with return of 399 runs and 34 wickets. More than these it was the importance of the performance which mattered the most. England completed a famous come-from-behind victory after trailing 0-1 in the series. For his performance, 1981 Ashes is also known as Botham’s Ashes.

Owing to his accolades, we can surely say that Sir Ian Botham was the best thing that ever happened to England cricket.

#3. Imran Khan

Test Stats: Matches: 88, Runs: 3807 at 37.69, 6 centuries and 18 half centuries, H.S: 136, Wickets: 362 at 22.81, 23 5-wicket and 6 10-wicket hauls, BBI: 8/58, BBM: 14/116

ODI Stats: Matches: 175, Runs: 3709 at 33.41, 1 century and 19 half centuries, H.S: 102, Wickets: 182 at 26.62, 1 5-wicket haul, BBM: 6/14

Around 26 years before becoming the PM of Pakistan, Imran Khan led his team to the World Cup title. Seems like he was a born leader, doesn’t it.

With the ball in hand he did unthinkable things. He swung the ball at pace, swung against the direction of seam, used reverse swing and troubled even the best of his generation. In fact at the peak of his powers, he took 62 test wickets in 9 wickets at 13.29-still the best average in a calendar year of over 50 wickets.

With the bat he wasn’t just a slogger but a compact batsman which is clear by his average of 50 in the twilight of his career.

With all that charming looks, that audacious personality Imran Khan not just led the team but taught them the process of believing.

#2. Sir Garfield Sobers

Test Stats: Matches: 93,Runs:8032 at 57.78, 26 Centuries and 30 Half Centuries, H.S: 365, Wickets: 235 at 34.04, 6 5-wicket hauls, BBI: 6/73, BBM: 8/80

Sir Donald Bradman described him as the best cricketer on the planet and introduced the phrase “Five in one-cricketer” for him. Do we need to say more? We don’t see many cricketers garnering such praise from the Don himself. But this was the versatility of Gary Sobers.

Apart from donning the wicket-keeping gloves, he could do everything on the field. Besides being a genius of a batsman,who boasted of the highest score in test cricket for a long time, he was a left arm spin bowler as well as left arm swing bowler too. Add left arm wrist spin to that. Also being a gun fielder, he was an aggressive captain as well.

He still has the best average for batsmen with more than 8000 runs. At his usual best, he has smashed almost every bowler of his time with utter ease. He had the ability to carry that Carribean swagger with him all the time.

It was in a English County match that he smashed 6 sixes in an over. Deservedly, he was knighted in 1975.

#1. Jacques Kallis

Test Stats: Matches: 166, Runs: 13289 at 55.37, 45 Centuries and 58 Half Centuries, H.S: 224,  Wickets: 292 at 32.65, 5 5-wicket hauls, BBI: 6/54, BBM: 9/92

ODI Stats: Matches: 328, Runs: 11579 at 44.36, 17 Centuries and 86 Half Centuries, H.S: 139, Wickets: 273 at 31.79, 2 5-wicket hauls, BBM: 5/30

Arguably the greatest all rounder of all time, he’s the only player to score more than 10000 runs and take 250+ wickets in both formats of the game. Add a couple of 100 catches in both formats of the game and we would get an irreplaceable asset of the game.

In the initial days of his career he used to swing the ball at good pace but with injuries coming his way he reduced his workload and focused more on batting.

Kallis has touched many records in his illustrious career. Such was the man’s brilliance that he has smashed probably every bowler in his prime. With a wide repertoire of strokes in his arsenal, it would be a delight to watch him in full flow.

No doubt many cricketers have endowed him with the title of the “greatest cricketer” to have ever played the game. While that can be still arguable, there’s no denying the fact that he’s the greatest South African to ever grace the cricket field.

So, did you like our list of the Top 10 Best All-Rounders of All Time? Mail us to give us your feedback.


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