A special cricket player known as a “all-rounder” is one who excels at all three aspects of the game: batting, bowling, and fielding. With bat and ball, greatest all-rounders of all time have dominated every aspect of the game, helping their teams win numerous matches. Effective bowling and batting demand a specific talent, as well as extremely high levels of fitness. Only a select few of cricket’s greatest players have the talent to be regarded as potent and versatile weapons with both the ball and the bat. So let’s learn about some of the greatest all-arounds of all time who contributed greatly to the game.
Here’s a list of Top 10 Greatest All-Rounders of All Time –
1. Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis is arguably one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. No one has ever played more international matches as the top all-rounder in the ICC Test rankings than Kallis did. Although his fast medium bowling may have been considered his backup, from 1998 through 2008, he averaged 22 Test wickets per year along with 875 runs. He was a great fielder too with 194 test catches. 13,289 runs, 292 wickets, and 200 catches are all record-breaking numbers for Kallis in Test matches. With the exception of Garry Sobers and Sangakkara, Kallis’ Test average of 55.37 is higher than every other batsman with 8,000 runs to their credit.
One of the best indicators of Kallis’ calibre was his Test record versus Australia. One of just six batters to do so since 1995, he scored more than 2,000 Test runs against them at an average of 45.43 with five hundreds (he also took 51 wickets). His entire stroke repertoire, length judgement, and placement skill are sufficient. His bowling was also rather shrewd, with a bowling average in the mid-fifties. Before his knees began to bother him, he bowled beautifully with a great motion, and his upper body strength provided deadly bounce as well. His consistency with the bat and the ball allowed him to avoid injuries for the most of his career.
His potential for greatness was first recognised during the 1998 England tour. He scored 132 at Manchester after scoring 4-29 at Lord’s, demonstrating what a double threat he could be on the biggest stage. He assisted South Africa in winning the inaugural ICC Champions Trophy, which is still the sole significant trophy in their collection. Before taking 5-30against the West Indies in the final, he scored 113 in the semifinal. One of the greatest all-rounders of all time, Kallis also finished on a high note, scoring 115 runs in his final Test against India in Durban on Boxing Day 2013, and he finished his career with more Player of the Match honours than any other Test cricketer.
2. Imran khan
Imran Khan is one of greatest all-rounders of all time, a skilled fast bowler and a brilliant batter with good defence, but it was as a leader that he really stood out. As he charged in, bending forward from the waist, and leaped at the crease, his run-up was an electrifying spectacle. The same was true of the results of some exceptionally quick, indipping yorkers and nearly unplayable outswingers. He attained the greatest ICC Test Bowling Rating ever at the height of his abilities in 1982, taking forty wickets at just 13.95 each in six tests against India. Imran always played from the front, inspiring those around him to deliver game-winning performances as well.
He led the team in scoring with 72 against England in 1992 world cup final, having famously pleaded with his team earlier in the tournament when their hopes were hanging by a thread to fight “like cornered tigers”. In 1988, Imran took 11 wickets in the match, which Pakistan won in Guyana, marking the first time in ten years that West Indies had lost a home Test. Imran had a remarkable record against West Indies, taking 80 wickets at an average of 21.18 over the course of his whole career. Imran’s overall record was a hugely impressive 362 wickets in 88 Tests at 22.81 each 23 times, he took 5 wickets in one inning; no one had taken more for Pakistan at the time he retired). In 1982 and 1987, he was a significant force in England. He scored 212 runs and took 21 wickets in three Test matches in 1982, to win the series 2-1; in 1987, he once again grabbed 21 wickets was the match-winning bowler.
Imran, Botham, Richard Hadlee, and Kapil Dev all achieved great feats and competed with one another for the title of best all-round player in the early 1980s. Imran may have regularly been the fastest bowler among them. Imran, who started off lower in the order, rose to become a very good top-order player and scored 3807 runs with six test hundreds as a result. His highest test score of 132 vs Australia in 1991. Imran continued to advance and became a top-notch batsman across the board. His average of 37.69 in Tests, which compares favourably to Botham’s 33.54, Kapil’s 31.05, and Hadlee’s 27.16, was quite commendable.
3. Ian Botham
Ian Botham is one of the most entertaining and the greatest all-rounders of all time. Many of his best performances were against Australia; in 36 games, he scored 1,673 runs, claimed 148 wickets, and held 57 catches. Few all-rounders have ever been as proficient with both the bat and the ball at the same time as he was; five times he hit a century and grabbed five wickets in a single Test match, a feat no one else has accomplished more than twice. And of course, this same talent was the driving force behind Botham’s heroics in the amazing Ashes series of 1981, which included winning three straight Test matches and earning three consecutive man-of-the-match awards. He also masterminded a number of routs, the most outstanding of which may have occurred in the Golden Jubilee Test at Mumbai in 1980 when he scored a century with 13 wickets.
In just 41 games over the course of four years, he had 200 Test wickets (only four bowlers have ever got to this landmark in fewer games). By that point, he had taken the most wickets in Test match history, a record he kept for two years. Although Botham was a batsman who excelled at counter-attacking, his performance was typically sound on the whole and was based on good technique, nice balance, and a high backlift. 1,000 run/100 wicket double in Test cricket was attained by him in just twenty one matches, which is still a record. His batting average after twenty-five Test matches was 40.48, and his bowling average was 18.52. He still holds the record for the fewest matches needed to reach both the 2,000 run/200 wicket and the 3,000 run/300 wicket doubles.
He scored fourteen Test hundreds with the bat; for comparison, Imran, Kapil, and Hadlee managed to score sixteen between them. None of the other record holders were even remotely as effective with the bat or came close to matching Ian’s 14 Test match hundreds. Both James Anderson and Stuart Broad have overtaken Botham’s 383 Test wicket total, which was the then national record; however, Anderson needed 151 Tests to surpass Botham’s twenty-seven five-wicket hauls, which occurred in his 102 Tests. He achieved greatness with the bat and the ball, earning him tabloid hero status and everything that entailed.
4. Kapil Dev
Kapil dev is one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time and one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. Kapil simply had an extraordinary natural knack for all he did. He had remarkable endurance and could quickly swing the ball away from the batsman, which challenged even the best batsmen. He possessed a beautiful run-up that was efficient and effortless, and he had the ability to shift pace without changing his motion noticeably. He was a clean striker of the ball when batting, enjoyed to attack the bowling, and had the power to alter the outcome of a game with his hitting. He played his greatest series at home against Pakistan in 1979-80, taking 32 wickets at an average of 17.68 to help his team win the series 2-0. Nobody will ever forget his four consecutive sixes off Eddie Hemmings at Lord’s in 1990. They were even more magical because they happened when his team needed exactly 24 runs to avoid the follow-on. Since then, the record has been tied but not surpassed.
He competed with the other three greatest all-rounders of all time who helped make the 1980s such a memorable decade, but because of his longevity, he finished with more runs and wickets than any of his well-known all-round rivals. When he broke Richard Hadlee’s previous record by taking his 432nd Test wicket. Within 15 months of his debut, Kapil scored the 1,000 run-100 wicket double, and in four and a half years, the 2,000 run-200 wicket double. When the force was on his side, Kapil could be absolutely deadly with the bat, and the more important the occasion, the more he thrived on it. With a remarkable knock of 89 in 55 balls vs England at Lord’s in 1982, Kapil single-handedly extended the game into a fifth day.
He stopped a raging South Africa pace assault in its tracks in 1992 in Port Elizabeth with a beautifully calculated counterattacking century of 129 runs when India were 31 for six. Kapil Dev proved that he was a man for a crisis in the 1983 World Cup match against Zimbabwe. India were 17 runs for 5, Defeat for India would have meant an ignominious exit from the tournament. Then Kapil Dev enters and played a remarkable and unforgettable 175 runs innings off 138 balls at a strike rate of 126.81, then a record for a one-day international – bludgeoning the Zimbabwean bowling to all corners of the Tunbridge Wells cricket ground. India beat Zimbabwe by 31 runs and qualified for the semifinal of 1983 world cup.
5. Garry Sobers
Garry Sobers is one of the cricket’s greatest all-rounders athlete of all time, a near mythical character who could bat, bowl quickly, swing, cut, and spin his bowling arm. He combined his incredible natural talent, uncanny ability, and natural intellect with focus, dedication, and tremendous stamina to play lengthy innings and score large runs. On August 31, 1968, it was completely fitting that he became the first player in the history of first-class cricket to hit six sixes in a an over. Sobers was a front-line bowler who was better equipped to win games. He is 21 years old, When Pakistan is on their West Indies tour, 1957–1958. In the first two Tests, played in Trinidad and Barbados, he scores three half centuries. In the third Test, played in Kingston, Jamaica, he sets a new world record by scoring 365 runs without being out in 10 hours and 14 minutes. Now that he’s on a roll, he scored a century in each of the four Tests in Guyana, scoring 125 at the start of the match and 109 not out from position three.
He continued on to India in 1958–1959, scoring 142 not out in the first Test in Bombay, 198 not out in the second Test at Kanpur, and 106 not out in the third Test in Calcutta for a total of 557 runs at 92.83. In 1959–1960 England toured to the West Indies, Sobers scored superbly 709 runs at 101.28. He scored 226 in the first Test in Barbados, 147 in the third Test in Jamaica, and 145 in the fourth Test in Guyana. In 1966, he enjoyed a scorching summer of batting in England, scoring 722 runs at 103.14 must be among the best ever., including 161 at Old Trafford, 163 not out at troubled Lord’s, and 174 at Leeds. He had a great record versus England. He played 36 Tests against them, scoring 3,214 runs at an average of 60.64, taking 102 wickets at an average of 32.57, and taking 40 catches. His magnificent 254runinnings for a World XI versus Australia at the MCG on New Year’s Day 1972, demonstrated his brilliance.
6. Chris Cairns
Chris Cairns is widely recognised one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. He was a lethal hitter against both fast and spin bowlers. Cairns formerly had the world record for the most sixes in a Test match (87; Adam Gilchrist has since surpassed him), and he also once held the New Zealand record for the fastest ODI century (off 75 balls) against India in the 1998–99 series. He had six for 77 in the first innings of New Zealand’s nine wicket victory over England at Lord’s in the second Test of the series in July 1999. And in the fourth Test, at The Oval, he had five for 31, and in the second innings of the Kiwis’, he had a whirlwind 80 from 93 balls with eight fours and four sixes, which helped New Zealand win the series 2-1. He was named one of Wisden’s five cricketers in 2000 for to these performances.
His highest score is 158 vs South Africa, with 18 fours and seven sixes in a victory for New Zealand in 2004. Cairns has played some of the most famous innings in New Zealand cricket history with the bat, notably the unbroken 102 that helped New Zealand defeat India in the ICC Knock Out Trophy final in 2000. During a test match in Wellington in 2000, Cairns forced Shane Warne out of Australia’s bowling lineup by launching multiple sixes onto the nearby street from the Basin Reserve.
Cairns is New Zealand’s fourth-highest wicket taker in Tests, after Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori, and his career-best bowling effort in Tests was 7/27 against the West Indies in 1999. Cairns Test’s batting average at position seven (44.02) is fifth all-time for that position. He played 62 Tests and scored 3320 at an average of 33.54 with 5 Test hundreds. He took 218 test wickets at 29.40 and he had 13 Five wicket hauls and 1 time he has taken 10 wickets In a test match. In ODIs he played 215 matches and scored 4950 runs and hit 4 centuries and took 201 wickets at 32.81 average with Four 5 wicket hauls in ODIs.
7. Lance Klusener
Lance Klusener is widely considered as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time to have played for South Africa. Klusener, who had a strong swing appropriate for ODIs, earned the nickname “one-day wrecker.” The batting order might be destroyed by off-cutters in Klusener’s strong bowling. Klusener adopted a strategy that fit his temperament, hitting the ball as hard and quickly as he could. He continued to finish on the winning side despite collecting more wickets and scoring more runs than he was meant to. He is one of South Africa’s most accomplished one-day hitters due to his high strike rate and lifetime ODI batting average of 41.10. This percentage is among the highest ever recorded; it is better than his Test average (32.86). Klusener’s efforts to One Day Internationals, where he established himself as a feared hard-hitting batsmen and won the 1999 World Cup’s Man of the Tournament award, will be remembered forever.
In the years coming up to the 1999 World Cup, he displayed hints of his power hitting. His thundering hitting and baseball-style backlift served as the tournament’s trademark. South Africa had reached to the semi-finals of the 1999 Cricket World Cup, and Klusener had up to that point had a fantastic tournament, taking 17 wickets, scoring 250 runs (including two half centuries) in 8 matches, and developing a reputation as a hard-hitting batsmen in precarious situations. Out of the nine matches South Africa played in the tournament, he received four Man of the Match awards. He topped the ICC ODI Batting rankings after his performances at the 1999 World Cup. By 1999, Klusener established himself as one of the greatest all-rounders going around in the world circuit.
Against New Zealand under tough circumstances brought up his maiden ODI ton. His team continuously kept losing wickets but he held one end up and batted exceptionally well with the tail to take South Africa to a respectable total of 212/7. Lance Klusener scored an unbeaten 103 with eight boundaries and a six. In 2000, he was chosen as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year. In 49 test matches, he scored 1906 runs, including highest score of 174, and 80 wickets, a best of 8/64 in Test. He played in 171 ODIs and scored 3576 runs at an average of 41.1, with a highest score of 103. He also taken 192 wickets, with a best of 6/49.
8. Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff is well known one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket history. He rocked the world of cricket with his hard-hitting bat and aggressive fast bowling. His strength enabled him to deliver the ball at a high rate of speed and to hit the ball with devastating force while batting. By the middle of the 2000s, Flintoff was consistently bowling around 90 mph (150 km/h). Control, reverse swing, metronomic accuracy, and hostility are his strong points. He was also among the best slip fielders in the world, topping it all off. A great player is one who, through his own performances, nature, and force, dominates and prevails in a great cricket match. Flintoff was renowned for his extraordinary talent, especially in 2003 at Lords when he struck 142 against South Africa.
Flintoff and the 2005 Ashes series will always be remembered as the epitome of cricket glory. He was not only named “Man of the Series,” but also ICC Player of the Year 2005. The extent of Flintoff’s effect was demonstrated by the Man-of-the-Series Award he received for his 402 runs and 24 wickets. Between 1998 and 2009, he played in 79 Tests and took 226 wickets at an average of 32.79, he is overall third highest wicket-taker for England in Test cricket. He is also the ninth-highest run scorer for England in ODIs (3,394). The ICC routinely ranked him as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time.
Flintoff’s terrific performances helped him claim 2004 as his own. He made his highest score of 167 during the series against the West Indies, which included two consecutive hundreds. The same year, he scored a critical 99 against India. He hit an ODI century against Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy a few weeks later. He was selected the Professional Cricketers’ Association player of the year and the first recipient of the ICC Award for ODI player of the year. With 169 wickets, Flintoff ranks third among English one-day wicket-takers. The first cricketer since Botham in 1981, Flintoff received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in December 2005. He left a huge mark in the field, as well as a No. 6 batsman who could consistently score hundreds, a bowler who could regularly take five wickets in an innings.
9. Abdul Razzaq
Abdul Razzaq was a gifted cricketer who is regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time, frequently enthralling fans with his incredible all-round ability. He is most recognised for being an aggressive batsman with the capacity to rack up quick runs. He was extremely lethal with the bat, in terms of his skills. He had the ability to bat and bowl at every position on the squad because to his versatility. He is considered one of Pakistan’s best cricket ball hitters of all time. His best effort came in a match versus Sri Lanka at Sharjah 1999. When Sri Lanka had 7 wickets in hand and needed only 40 or so runs to win. With his amazing reverse swing, he simply destroyed them one at a time took 5 wickets for 31 runs to tie the match. He was also the star player for the Pakistan in the world cup ‘1999’.
In 1999-2000 Carlton series, Razzaq played an exciting 70-run innings against India, becoming the fifth all-rounder in history to dismiss five Indian players with fifty runs. In the same series, Razzaq struck the best bowler in the world, Glenn McGrath, for five consecutive fours in five balls. Razzaq won the man of the series award by taking 14 wickets in 8 games and scoring 225 runs. In a Test match against Sri Lanka in June 2000 at the Galle Cricket Stadium, Razzaq reached the hat-trick milestone, becoming the game’s youngest bowler to do so. Abdul Razzaq is the only bowler who dismissed Sachin Tendulkar six times in ODIs. In fact, Tendulkar himself acknowledged Razzaq as one of the toughest bowler he had faced in his whole career.
Razzaq scored 112 against South Africa in 2002, a career highest in ODIs. He scored 89 runs in only 40 balls against New Zealand in 2003–04, earning him the title of “the best hitter in the world” in the words of New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming. In October 21, 2010, at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium, when Pakistan was chasing 286 against South Africa their wickets kept falling consecutively, Razzaq scored 109 runs in one smokey and phenomenal inning, using seven fours and ten sixes. Razzaq has played 265 ODI matches in which he scored 5080 runs which include three centuries and taken 269 wickets with best figures of 6/35.
10. Richard Hadlee
Richard Hadlee’s ability to hit the seam and the proper length was one of his greatest strengths. While the run-up was shorter during his heyday, he still generated more than enough pace because to his superb rhythm and whippy motion. From its amateur days, he elevated New Zealand into a top-tier team that could compete with the best. In February 1976, he faced India in Wellington and bowled New Zealand to a series-tying victory with 7-23. This was his first significant accomplishment. He played a significant role in New Zealand’s first series victory 2-1 over Australia in 1985–86. His nine for 52 first-innings total and 15 for 123 match total at the Gabba are the best for New Zealand in any Test match. Hadlee amassed an fantastic 49 wickets at 16.08 in six games. He was unanswered by the Australians.
He evolved into a risky lower-order batsman, particularly in one-day matches. He didn’t usually go beyond number 7, though. Durable until the end, Hadlee was 39 years old when he played his last Tests in England in 1990, and by that time he had surpassed Botham as the world’s top Test wicket-taker. And his hitting might be much more than just a hindrance to the opposition’s efforts. He often underlined his all-rounder abilities in August 1983, the year of his greatest success. To start, he scored 75 runs in the second Test at Headingley as New Zealand won their first match in England. Then, in the second Test at Christchurch, he once again struck 99 in their lone 307-run innings while also collecting three for 16 and five for 25, helping New Zealand win the series against England for the first time by an innings and 132 runs.
Read also: Top 10 Best Swing Bowlers Of All Time