All-rounders in any form of sport are important for the team. In cricket, there have always been one or two all-rounders in a team. Finding a genuine one is very tough.
It's very difficult to find a person good in both batting and bowling (now the emphasis is on fielding, too).
I have compiled the list of all rounders and taken the cream of them. The criteria I have chosen is a bit harsh on some people but I wanted to see people who have excelled at the top most level in both departments.
So the "cut-off" is 3,000 runs with an average more than 30 and 200 wickets.
So here goes!
The former South African captain is probably the least expected in this list. People hardly know or talk about his batting skills.
He averages 32 in batting and a stunning average of 23 in bowling with a phenomenal 421 wickets.
Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald were one of the greatest pairs of fast bowlers for South Africa after their reinstatement in cricket.
His captaincy stint did not prove very successful as South Africa failed to qualify for the Super Six when the World Cup was held in their own country, a black mark in an otherwise an illustrious career.
Chris Cairns, the former New Zealander and current ICL player, had a career with a lot of injuries. Every time he came up with outstanding performances, he would end up in the bench.
Had he been fit as fellow all-rounders, then he could have been one of the greats. Though he was more devastating in the shorter format, he had a good test career with 3,320 runs at 33.
His bowling was never deadly and his stats suggest that. He took 218 wickets at almost 30 per wicket. A handy cricketer for both formats!
"Freddie" is probably the underachiever in this list but he still has a lot of cricket left in him! Andrew Flintoff came into international cricket and was soon considered "The Next Big Thing."
He has had a career plagued with injuries and poor performances. His attitude trouble too has been in limelight. In fact, it can be considered to be his biggest enemy.
He has played 75 tests so far and may play another 30 tests provided his injuries do not disturb him. He has the potential to become like fellow English all-rounder Sir Ian Botham.
Only time will tell as his records stand at 3,645 runs at 32 with the bat. His bowling records don't suggest his potential as he has taken 218 wickets at 32 each!
Sir Richard Hadlee was the best New Zealand all-rounder to have ever played the game. He bowled quick and accurate and used the long handle for batting.
I have included Hadlee even though his average is less than 30!
He took an astonishing 431 wickets at 22! He scored two test hundreds and had a decent average of 27 with 3,124 runs. I could not have left him out with my criteria!
The cricketers who follow are the real top five all rounders in my opinion. They are a level above the rest.
Kapil Dev is the finest all-rounder to have played for India. At 21, Kapil became the youngest to the Test double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets.
He scored one of the greatest World Cup hundreds when he made an unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe after coming in at 9 for 4! He later led them to their only World Cup triumph in 1983.
Kapil held the record for most number of test wickets before Courtney Walsh took over. In an exceptional career, Kapil is celebrated as one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game.
His records stand by it as he had 5,248 runs at 31 average and 434 wickets at 29.
Sir Ian Botham was deadly with the ball as well as bat. He was an aggressive batsman who always took it to the bowlers.
He played 102 tests, scoring 5,200 runs at 33.5 runs per innings. He scored 14 test hundreds, which clearly shows how good a batsman he was.
He also bowled at a good pace, which helped him get 383 wickets. He backed it up with some good slip catching as he took 120 catches!
One truly great cricketer!
Imran Khan led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 WC held Down Under.
Imran was a lethal combination of pace with the new ball and reverse swing with the old ball. He had the capacity to score runs at times of crisis.
This cricketer turned politician had a great career finishing with 3,807 runs at an average close to 38! Not to forget the six hundreds he scored. He scalped 362 wickets with an unbelievable average of less than 23!
His career was played for over 20 years and is one of the few to have played for so long with so much success.
Jacques Kaliis, the South African All-Rounder, is the closest to being a perfect contemporary All Rounder. He is undoubtedly the only player who can be picked to play in the team as either a bowler or a batsman.
He has a career record that cannot be matched by anyone in test match history—a whopping 10,060 runs at an average close to 55!
A genuine batsman who can bat at any order, he has scored 30 hundreds and is yet to put to an end to it! He has at least a couple of more years left in him, which will only make his stats better!
His bowling skills are not bad either, as he has 255 wickets at an average of 31, which is not bad compared to most bowlers.
He has 144 catches and it is among the best in the history of the game. He is a genius who will finish the game as a legend.
Sir Garfield Sobers was an artist who was born to play cricket. He is regarded as the greatest next to Bradman to have played the game.
He was, is and will always be considered, the greatest all-rounder to have played cricket!
He had exceptional batting skills. He finished with 8,032 runs at 58!! With 26 hundreds and also a highest of 365*, which was the highest in test cricket score until Lara broke it, he was an amazing fielder.
He took 109 catches and could stand at any position in the ground.
He also took 235 wickets at 34. He could bowl spin or fast and vary it each ball! So he was a thorough champion of cricket and is the best!