Cricket player profiles: Best allrounders in Test cricket

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Allrounders are a special breed of cricketers who are of great value in a cricket team. They merit a place in a cricket team by virtue of their batting and bowling. This is unlike the modern idea of the batting allrounder or bowling allrounder.

Such terms are used for batsmen who bowl a bit and bowlers who can bat a little. This list includes players who have higher batting averages than some specialist batsmen and lower bowling averages than specialist bowlers.

Jacques Kallis is the most prolific batsman of all the allrounder
Jacques Kallis is the most prolific batsman of all the allrounder | Source

Jacques Kallis (South Africa)

Jacques Kallis is South Africa's finest cricketers and, arguably, the best allrounder in the history of the game. The soft-spoken Kallis does not have the flamboyance or charisma of some other cricketers, but he is a renowned talent with the willow and leather.

Although he is better with the bat than the ball, he could bowl upwards of 85 miles per hour and had a nasty surprise bouncer in his armoury. Kallis also scored 40 Test hundreds.

Sir Garry Sobers is the people's choice for best allrounder in cricket.
Sir Garry Sobers is the people's choice for best allrounder in cricket.

Sir Garfield Sobers (West Indies)

In Wisden's list of top cricketers, Sir Garry Sobers was second only to Donald Bradman. Indeed, the versatile West Indian once held the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings (365 not out).

He was a dashing left-handed batsman who could play shots all around the wicket. However, his bowling ability was a captain's dream. He could bowl left-arm medium pace, slow left arm orthodox or slow left-arm unorthodox.

Imran Khan was good enough to be one of the top 10 fast bowlers of all time.
Imran Khan was good enough to be one of the top 10 fast bowlers of all time. | Source

Imran Khan (Pakistan)

Imran Khan was the first superstar of Pakistan cricket and a fine contributor to the game of cricket. Many cricketers consider Khan the second-best allrounder - after Garry Sobers.

Khan's allround ability not only helped make Pakistan a top cricket side in the 1980s, but he helped them win the 1992 ICC World Cup in Australia. The former Pakistan captain was also a fine exponent of reverse swing and was a genuine quick bowler.

Kapil Dev was also dubbed the Haryana Hurricane.
Kapil Dev was also dubbed the Haryana Hurricane.

Kapil Dev (India)

Kapil Dev was India's best fast bowler and best allrounder. He even captained the side towards the end of his illustrious career and was an influential player in India's 1983 World Cup triumph against the West Indies.

Kapil once held the world record for the highest number of Test wickets, before Courtney Walsh surpassed the record seven years later. Dev also accumulated 5,000 Test runs, including eight centuries.

Sir Ian Botham: Knight of cricket
Sir Ian Botham: Knight of cricket

Ian Botham (England)

Such was his contribution to the game, that Botham was knighted. Sir Ian Botham, as he is known, was one of the four great allrounders of the 1980s.

Botham had the distinction of being the fastest player to 1000 runs and 100 wickets. His presence in the England side of the 1980s made a mediocre team look decent, although they were still trampled by the rampaging West Indians of that era.

Sir Richard Hadlee: New Zealand's Atlas
Sir Richard Hadlee: New Zealand's Atlas

Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)

Richard Hadlee is one of the top 10 fast bowlers of all time, and he was not too shabby with the bat either. Obviously, bowling was the New Zealander's strength, but he still managed to score two Test centuries. Hadlee once held the world record for the highest number of Test wickets, and is by far the fastest bowler to 400 wickets (by matches).

Shaun Pollock: Fast bowler turned allrounder
Shaun Pollock: Fast bowler turned allrounder

Shaun Pollock (South Africa)

Pollock was not a genuine allrounder when he made his debut in 1995. He was a capable lower-order batsman and new ball bowler.

Later in his career, his batting improved and he ended with a batting average of 32.31 - higher than many specialist batsmen manage. He is also one of 11 players to have scalped more than 400 Test wickets.

Andy Flintoff: England's hero, but only knee-high in the list of allrounders.
Andy Flintoff: England's hero, but only knee-high in the list of allrounders.

Andy Flintoff (England)

While Andrew Flintoff started his career as an allrounder, he had an inauspicious start after he made his debut in 1998. However, the pudgy allrounder improved his fitness and his batting to become much more of a force in world cricket. Andy was a good allrounder, but injuries did not allow him to perform for extended periods.

Daniel Vettori: Best slow left arm orthodox bowler in cricket history.
Daniel Vettori: Best slow left arm orthodox bowler in cricket history.

Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)

Daniel Vettori already has a place in cricket as the best slow left-arm spinner in cricket history. However, the former New Zealand captain also gets among the runs. He began as a useful number eight batsman, but his batting improved as he got older. Vettori took six years to score his first Test century, and now has six Test centuries and a batting average just over 30.

Chris Cairns almost begging for a wicket.
Chris Cairns almost begging for a wicket.

Chris Cairns (New Zealand)

The son of allrounder BL Cairns, Chris managed to perform even better than his dad. Cairns was a decent allrounder, although not as spectacular as other. His batting was aggressive and his bowling generally kept batsmen honest.

Cairns managed to take five wickets in 13 innings and scored five test centuries. His all-round ability was critical to New Zealand reaching the semi-finals of the 1999 and 2003 ICC World Cups.

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Comments 4 comments

cheetah786 profile image

cheetah786 3 years ago

its amzing that tendulker is nor in list.. he is big allrounder.

the hub is nice.. all your hubs abt are really informative..


SpiffyD profile image

SpiffyD 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

I consider Tendulkar's bowling to be handy. He can break partnerships or take wickets when the strike bowlers need a rest. However, 45 Test wickets at an average of 54.46 (close to his Test batting average) does not seem like the bowling output of a genuine allrounder (especially with the criteria I used). In ODIs, Tendulkar had a fine record for a part-time bowler (154 wickets with an economy rate of 5.10). Since a genuine allrounder must be able to hold his place either as a specialist batsman or specialist bowler, Sachin ought not to have made the list. It was an interesting proposal though! Thanks.


Gina145 profile image

Gina145 3 years ago from South Africa

Interesting Hub. Sadly I've only ever seen half these players in action. It's very pleasing that you have two South Africans in your list.

I hate to think of the day that Jacques Kallis retires.


SpiffyD profile image

SpiffyD 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks for the comment Gina. I think that Kallis is an exceptional allrounder, but somewhat underrated when you consider his achievements and value to his team. Kallis is one of thise players who exemplifies what it means to be a cricketer in terms of skill, sportsmanship and deportment.

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