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An all-rounder is a cricketer who performs at both batting and bowling side of the team. In recent era of cricket, all-rounders play a vital role behind the success of a team. In the history of cricket, there have been a few cricketers with all round performances whose have been gifted enough to be considered weapons with both the bat and ball. Only a handful of cricketers can claim to be included in this exclusive group of all-rounders, while only a sprinkling of these will go down in the history books as being all-time greatest all-rounders in cricket.
But still the true all-rounder is a player who is equally adept with both the ball and bat and possesses the ability to make a team as either a batter or a bowler.
Top 10 Greatest All-Rounders in Cricket:
It is these remarkable cricketers that go down as being truly memorable, truly great. Today, Sporty Ghost tries to capture the top 10 greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time.
10. Andrew Flintoff, England
Our list begins with England’s hero of 2000s, Andrew Flintoff. He is better known as “Freddy Flintoff”. Also he is well known for his heroic performance in 2005 Ashes series. England side won that Ashes series for the first time since the 1986/87 season, defeating the Australians who entered as the best of the world.
Flintoff is capable of bowling in excess of 140 km/h. He picked up 226 wickets with an bowling average of 32.78.
Also, he was a hard hitter to the ball who was capable of some decent performances. With the batting average of 31.07, he had five centuries and 26 half centuries in his career.
With his amazing bat and ball performances, Flintoff is well enough to secure to secure his spot in the list of top 10 greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time.
9. Tony Greig, England
Tony Greig, the person is known to the young readers as a South African-born English commentator who works with Channel Nine commentary team. Greig’s fame as a cricket commentator has perhaps eclipsed that of his glorious playing days.
Tony Greig was a fine all-rounder for England. During 1970s, he played 58 test matches and scored a stunning eight centuries and 20 fifties. With his 40.43 batting average, he tended to be known more as a batting all-rounder in the English side.
As a bowler, he was capable to bowl both medium pace and right arm off break, taking 141 wickets at a bowling average of 32.20. There are very few players who can boast having this ability to bowl two styles at Test-match level.
His amazing cricket career lasted only for 5 years, from 1972-1977. If he played much longer, we could see him high up in this list of top 10 greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time.
8. Kapil Dev, India
Kapil Dev is India’s greatest all-rounder ever. With his incredible fast bowling, he appeared to be the first of the great in 1980s.
Kapil had a 16-year prolific test career, in which period he gained a reputation as a hard hitting batsman and a consistent fast bowler for India. He became the second bowler in cricket history to take 400 wickets, surpassing Richard Hadlee’s record in his final test match, finishing with 434 wickets at a 29.64 bowling average.
The average may look high in comparison to some of the other all-rounders, but it should be kept in mind that Kapil dev played a lot at his home in India where wickets were far more friendly to the spinners and batsmen. That kind of pitch always tend to hinder rather than help the pace bowlers.
With bat, Kapil scored eight centuries and 27 half-centuries at 31.05 batting average. He is best remembered for his ODI innings. At 1983 ICC World Cup, his remarkable 175* innings against Zimbabwe, where after a terrible start, Kapil emerged as a savior for India.
India would go on to win the title over the two-time defending champion West Indies, where Kapil Dev played as a key figure for the Indians.
7. Shaun Pollock, South Africa
Some of you may be surprised to see Shaun Pollock at No. 7 spot in our list of top 10 greatest all-rounders. However, Shaun Pollock has a fine record that can’t be ignored at all.
He is one of the great South African cricketers. Pollock was one of the most consistent bowlers in his time and he was also capable of chipping in with the bat.
As a right-arm medium pace bowler, Pollock took 421 wickets at 23.11 bowling average which was very economical and generally hard to score runs off.
As a right-handed batsman, he was well known for his solid batting performance rather than scoring big knocks. This is shown by having only two centuries in his name. Still he has a batting average of 32.31, which is quite similar to that of Andrew Flintoff or Kapil Dev in this list.
Shaun Pollock finished his international career in 2008, and undoubtedly he will be remembered as one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time.
6. Ian Botham, England
Ian Botham is a great English batsman of the 1980s. He appeared to be the key figure in the revival of cricket’s sleeping lion.
Ian Botham is best remembered for his heroic performance in the Ashes series in 1981. In that series, he was the difference between England and Australia that the series was better known as ‘Botham’s Ashes’. England bet Australia by 3-1, in that Ashes.
Ian Botham was capable to build big innings with his bat. At a batting average of 33.54, he scored 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries.
As a bowler, he picked up a total 383 wickets at a bowling average of 28.40. The stat doesn’t show a the real Botham, as before injuries hampered his career, he averaged closer to 21.
Ian Botham falls to No 6 in the list of top 10 greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time, although he is one of the greatest.
5. Richard Hadlee, New Zealand
Richard Hadlee is one of New Zealand’s greatest cricketers by quite a long stretch. He was often the difference between New Zealand being a pushover for the team.
Hadlee was best remembered as a bowler, taking what was then a world record of 431 wickets at 22.29 bowling average. At the beginning of his career, he was an opening fast bowler, but as he matured, he shortened his run-up and concentrated more on swinging the ball.
His best performance came against Australia when he took 9 wickets for 52 runs.
On the other hand, he was a handy lower order batsman for New Zealand with a reasonable average of 27.16 and two centuries and 15 half centuries. The stat tells us, he was not only a prolific bowler but a capable batsman too. He was able to provide crucial runs nearer to the end of an innings.
Graham Gooch commented on Hadlee’s ability in perspective,
” Richard Hadlee at one end, llford seconds at the other”
And a very few other cricketers can claim to have been noticed in their team’s outcome and it justified Richard Hadlee’s place in the list of top 10 greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time.
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4. Keith Miller, Australia
Keith Miller was the great Australian all-rounder of the post-war era. He was considered as the Test cricket’s first true all-round cricketer.
As a batsman, he often batted high in the batting order at number three spot. He was considered to be a natural striker to the ball as well as a powerful hitter.
As a bowler, he was best known for his technique to confuse the batsmen by varying his pace, line and length in bowling. He used to make a full use of slower deliveries and bowled his fastest from a short run-up which were well enough to confuse the batsmen.
Miller was also an acrobatic fielder in the slips. His performance as an all-rounder led to enormous success for Australia.
In his short ten-year cricketing career, Keith Miller had scored 2958 runs and bagged 170 wickets. He is indeed one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time.
3. Imran Khan, Pakistan
The No 3 position in our list of top 10 greatest all-rounders in cricket of all-time goes to former Pakistani captain and a prolific all-rounder Imran Khan. He is undoubtedly the greatest cricketer for Pakistan team. This right handed batsman and right-arm fast bowler was considered as the most successful captain in the history of Pakistan cricket.
Imran Khan was best remembered as a captain of world cup winning team in 1992. As a fast bowler, he took 362 test wickets at 22.81 average. He was a genuine quick bowler who opened the Pakistani bowling for many years.
Imran finished his test career with six centuries and 18 fifties at 37.69 batting average. He became one of the eights to achieve the ‘all-rounders triple’ with 3000 runs and 300 wickets.
2. Jacques Kallis, South Africa
In the modern era of cricket, he is undoubtedly the greatest all-rounder in world cricket. As a right-handed batsman, with an incredible average of 57.02 and 41 centuries and 55 half-centuries, Jacques Kallis was the vital weapon for Proteas over the years.
His incredible batting average is the highest of any current batsman, like Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam, Ricky Ponting. Unlike any other all-rounder, Kallis always brought a very classical approach in his batting style and known for playing controlled cricketing shorts all over the ground.
As a fast-medium bowler, Kallis has taken a total 274 wickets at 32.51 average. The rate may not as high as his batting performance, it is still impressive. Kallis would be good enough to make many sides as a full-time medium pace bowler. He is rated as the No 2 in our list of top 10 greatest all-rounders of all-time.
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1. Sir Garfield Sobers, West Indies
He is the greatest all-round cricketer in West Indies history. He appeared to be a grave threat for the opponents with both bat and ball. He was an amazing fielder and captain of the West Indies side. Yes, he is the No 1 in our list, Sir Garfield Sobers.
He was a spin bowler, when he was picked first time for West Indies. As a bowler, he took 235 wickets at 34.03 bowling average. In addition, his impressive batting average of 57.78 is the 10th best on the all-time list and he is compared with any professional batsman in the history of cricket, with the exception of great Sir Donald Bradman.
In his batting career, Garry Sobers scored 26 centuries and 30 half-centuries, but who could forget his 365 not out innings against Pakistan in 1958! It was a world record at that time which stayed untouched till 1994 and broken by another great West Indian Brian Lara. The score still ranks as the 5th highest individual test score in cricket history.
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