Greatest Cricket All-Rounders of All Time
Cricket has no shortage of batsmen or bowlers. But a good all-rounder — a player who is good at batting and bowling — is a rare commodity.
Generally, all-rounders come in two types: batting all-rounder and bowling all-rounder. The primary skill of batting all-rounders is batting, but they can contribute with the ball, too. Bowling all-rounders excel at bowling. A great all-rounder is someone who is equally good at batting and bowling.
These are the greatest all-rounders of all time.
25. Vinoo Mankad
Other major teams: Gujarat, Mumbai
Bottom Line: Vinoo Mankad
Every cricketer dreams of getting his name in the Lord's Honours Boards. To achieve it, a player has to take five wickets or score a hundred. Vinoo Mankad did both in 1952 by picking up 5-196 in the first innings and scoring 184 in the second.
Mankad also held the record of highest opening partnership for 52 years with Pankaj Roy (413 runs). Mankad scored 231 in that innings, which was an Indian record for the highest individual score, before Sunil Gavaskar broke the record 28 years later.
Mankad was a slow left-arm bowler and took two 8-wicket-hauls during his career. The Indian all-rounder also is remembered for running out Bill Brown using Mankading. In fact, he did it for the first time in international cricket, and the term is named after him.
24. Richie Benaud
Other major teams: New South Wales
Bottom Line: Richie Benaud
Richie Benaud is arguably the best cricket commentator of all time. Before his commentary stint, he was a successful captain and all-rounder for Australia.
Benaud accounted for 248 wickets in Tests at an average of 27.03, including 16 fifers. The leg-spinner had great success against India, who were great players of spin. He picked up 52 wickets in eight Tests in India at an excellent average of 18.
As a batsman, he scored 11,719 runs and hit 23 hundreds in first-class cricket. In Tests, he hit 3 centuries and 9 fifties.
23. Ravichandran Ashwin
Other major teams: Tamil Nadu, Chennai Super Kings
Bottom Line: Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin is the fastest bowler to pick up 300 wickets in Tests. He has claimed 7 Man of the Series in the longest format of the game, an Indian record and fourth-best in the world.
On Indian pitches, he is nearly unbeatable, and his 27 fifers in 70 Tests show his match-winning ability. His batting prowess helped India go with a 6-batsmen strategy for some time, by batting him at 6, and he responded with four Test hundreds.
In ODIs, he was former Indian captain MS Dhoni’s go-to man in the middle-overs, cutting the run flow and picking up wickets in his heyday.
22. Wasim Akram
Other major teams: Lancashire, Lahore
Bottom Line: Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram is known as the "King of Swing" as he swung the ball in the air and off the pitch equally well. Along with Waqar Younis, he formed a deadly combo for Pakistan, and the duo was a nightmare for batsmen all around the world.
The left-arm bowler is the second-highest wicket-taker (502) in ODIs and second-highest wicket-taker (916) as a pace bowler in international cricket.
Akram was a good lower-order batsman, and his highest score in Tests, 257*, is better than the batting great Sachin Tendulkar’s highest score of 248*. Akram scored these runs after coming to bat at No. 8 and batted with a strike-rate over 70.
21. Ravindra Jadeja
Other major teams: Saurashtra, Chennai Super Kings
Bottom Line: Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja is known for his accuracy with the ball and completing the over in the blink of an eye. He is the fastest left-armer to take 200 wickets in Tests.
Jadeja has a great record as a batsman in first-class cricket, but his batting didn't always inspire confidence. Things took a turn in 2016, and he has been averaging 47.15 with the bat ever since.
The Indian all-rounder is a terrific fielder, too, and can change the course of the game with his direct hits or breathtaking catches.
20. Wilfred Rhodes
Other major teams: Yorkshire
Bottom Line: Wilfred Rhodes
Wilfred Rhodes had an outstanding first-class career. The Yorkshire player amassed 39,969 runs at an average of 30.81 and bagged 4,204 wickets at an astounding average of 16.72.
Rhodes’ Test career lasted 31 years, and he had batted all positions from 1 to 11. He started batting at No. 10 and later opened for England and scored 2 hundreds.
The Englishman was a slow left-armer and took 6 fifers in his career. His best figures as a bowler came in 1904 against Australia when he picked up 7-56 in the first innings and 8-68 in the second.
19. Monty Noble
Other major teams: New South Wales
Bottom Line: Monty Noble
Monty Noble proved his mettle in his second match by taking six wickets for 49 and guided the Aussies to an innings victory at the MCG. He did his bit with the bat by batting 510 minutes and saved Australia from a loss in 1899.
The Australian all-rounder picked up 7-70 in the first innings and bagged 6-60 in the second against England at the MCG in the 1901-02 series. He was a reliable batsman albeit scoring only one Test century in his career.
He was a giant in first-class cricket. He scored 13,975 runs at an average of 40.74, including 37 hundreds and bagged 624 wickets at an average of 23.14, with 33 fifers.
18. Tony Greig
Other major teams: Sussex, Border
Bottom Line: Tony Greig
Present-day cricket fans know Tony Greig as an accomplished cricket commentator, who was full of energy and enthusiasm at the commentary box. But before that, he turned up for England and shined with both bat and the ball.
Greig had a Test average of 40.43 and showed tremendous character when the going got tough. He made centuries against top bowling attacks such as Lillee and Thomson, Roberts and Holding, Bedi and Chandra.
The right-arm bowler could bowl medium pace and off-breaks. He picked up 141 wickets at an average of 32.20, including 6 fifers.
17. Lance Klusener
Country: South Africa
Other major teams: Dolphins, Middlesex
Bottom Line: Lance Klusener
Lance Klusener was a phenomenal ODI player and a useful Test cricketer. Although he had a short career, he made his mark before hanging up his gloves.
Klusener was on top of his game during the 1999 World Cup and was adjudged the Player of the Tournament. The southpaw scored 281 runs at an average of 140.50 and a strike-rate of 122.27, a dream scoring rate in the pre-T20 era. With the ball, he picked up 17 wickets at an average of 20.58.
He almost won the semifinal against Australia out of nowhere by scoring an unbeaten 31 off just 16 deliveries. However, the match ended in a tie, and South Africa was knocked out from the tournament.
16. Abdul Razzaq
Other major teams: Lahore, Surrey
Bottom Line: Abdul Razzaq
Abdul Razzaq was one of the best all-rounders in ODIs. He came to the Pakistan team for his fast bowling, and over the years, he made a name for his batting, too.
His bowling record, 269 wickets at an average of 31.84, is up there with the best. As a batsman, he was used as a floater and batted in all positions from opening to No. 11. His batting average, 29.71, doesn’t do justice to his match-winning ability as he batted in the lower-middle order mostly at No. 6, 7 and 8.
Though he couldn’t stamp his authority in Tests as he did in ODIs, he still ended up a decent all-rounder. In his 46-match Test career, he bagged 100 wickets and scored 1,946 runs.
15. Ben Stokes
Other major teams: Durham, Rajasthan Royals
Bottom Line: Ben Stokes
England won the ICC World Cup for the first time in 2019, and Ben Stokes was the player of the match in the final. He scored an unbeaten 84 off 98 balls while chasing 242.
The World Cup knock was unbelievable, and Stokes' 2019 heroics didn’t end there. Chasing 359 for the win in the third Ashes Test, England was tottering at 286-9, and he stitched an unbroken 86-run partnership with Jack Leach, who made only 1 run. He smashed an unbeaten 135, including eight sixes and 11 fours.
He is a useful medium-pace bowler as well. He has picked up 207 international wickets already.
14. Shane Watson
Other major teams: New South Wales, Chennai Super Kings
Bottom Line: Shane Watson
Shane Watson was a terrific striker of the cricket ball. He was severe against spinners and clobbered some monstrous sixes.
His best outing with the bat came against Bangladesh in 2011, when he scored 185 off just 96 balls, including 15 sixes and as many fours. By his heroics, Australia won the match with 144 balls left.
He was a useful medium-pace bowler and took 291 international wickets. He used reverse-swing to good effect and contained batsmen from scoring quickly.
13. Shahid Afridi
Other major teams: Karachi, Hampshire
Bottom Line: Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi burst into the international scene by scoring 37-ball hundred in an ODI against Sri Lanka in his debut innings in 1996 — a world record that lasted for 17 years.
He continued his insane hitting ability and had an ODI a strike rate of 117. His 476 sixes in international cricket are second only to Chris Gayle in the list of most sixes.
However, the Pakistani all-rounder lacked consistency. Later in his career, he was merely a slogger, smashing each ball coming his way with limited success.
Afridi entertained the crowd with his bowling, too. He ended his ODI career with 395 wickets, the fifth-highest tally of all time.
12. Andrew Flintoff
Other major teams: Lancashire, Chennai Super Kings
Bottom Line: Andrew Flintoff
England won the Ashes in 2005 after 19 years against a mighty Australia, and the chief architect of the series win was Andrew Flintoff.
Flintoff excelled with both bat and ball by scoring 402 runs at an average 40.20 and picking up 24 wickets at an average 27.29.
He was a hard-hitting batsman and could clear the ropes at will. His bowling was a treat to watch as even the best batsmen had no answers for his swinging Yorkers.
More than his numbers, the energy he brought to the team was fantastic. He was a showman, who lifted his team on his shoulders.
11. Shaun Pollock
Country: South Africa
Other major teams: Dolphins, Durham
Bottom Line: Shaun Pollock
Shaun Pollock began his career under the shadow of Allan Donald, the best South African bowler of that time.
However, when Pollock retired, he held the record of most wickets by a South African in Tests (421) and ODIs (393). In Tests, Dale Steyn overtook his wicket tally, but in ODIs, he is 115 ahead of the next best Donald.
Pollock's strength lay in his line and length. His ODI economy rate, 3.67, shows he was a tough customer for every batsman.
He was a decent batsman himself and scored 7,386 runs in international cricket. He holds the record of most number of centuries, 2, at No. 9 in Tests. He could clear the ropes at will and hit 93 sixes in ODIs and Tests combined.
10. Sanath Jayasuriya
Country: Sri Lanka
Other major teams: Colombo Cricket Club, Mumbai Indians
Bottom Line: Sanath Jayasuriya
Most of the cricket fans would agree that Sanath Jayasuriya was a brutal attacking batsman and was a nightmare to every opposition.
A few would call him an all-rounder, though the stats reveal otherwise — Jayasuriya bagged 440 international wickets, and 323 came in ODIs.
The Sri Lanka opener’s run-tally of 13,430 in ODIs is the fourth highest of all time, and his 323 wickets in the 50-over format are the 11th highest of all time.
The left-handed batsman had a very good record in Tests, too, 6,973 runs at an average of 40.07 with the highest score of 340.
His 98 wickets in 110 Tests doesn’t paint a beautiful picture yet it came at a decent average of 34.34.
9. Keith Miller
Other major teams: New South Wales, Victoria
Bottom Line: Keith Miller
Keith Miller is widely regarded as international cricket’s first genuine all-rounder. He started his career as a batsman and scored 14,183 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 48.90.
Miller was a classical batsman but could change gears when needed. As his career progressed, he became an opening bowler in Don Bradman's famous "Invincibles." Miller's Test bowling average of 22.97 is as good as anyone in the world.
The Australian worked as a fighter pilot in World War II and had a few near-death experiences. The stint helped him absorb pressure easily when he resumed playing cricket.
8. Chris Cairns
Country: New Zealand
Other major teams: Canterbury, Nottinghamshire
Bottom Line: Chris Cairns
New Zealand only has won one ICC trophy — the ICC Knockout trophy in 2000. It was Chris Cairns won it for the Kiwis by smashing 102 after coming to bat when it was struggling at 109-4, chasing 265.
Cairns was a good medium-pace bowler, and his 419 wickets in international cricket show it. His slow balls were difficult to read.
The New Zealand all-rounder was a match-winner with the bat, too. He was a powerful striker and hit 240 sixes in international cricket.
7. Richard Hadlee
Country: New Zealand
Other major teams: Canterbury, Tasmania
Bottom Line: Richard Hadlee
Richard Hadlee was the first bowler to pick up 400 wickets in Tests. He also was the highest wicket-taker (431) in Tests when he retired.
He was lethal during 1978 to 1988 when he picked up 330 wickets at an enviable average of 19.57. He took fifer a whopping 32 times during the period.
The Kiwi legend was highly effective in ODIs, too, as his average (21.56), economy (3.30) and strike-rate (39.1) were as good as anyone.
The Kiwi legend was useful with the bat and scored two hundreds and 15 fifties in Tests. He amassed over 12,000 runs in first-class cricket.
6. Kapil Dev
Other major teams: Haryana, Northamptonshire
Bottom Line: Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev guided India to its maiden World Cup title win in 1983 against the mighty West Indies. The then-24-year-old was instrumental with both bat and ball by taking 12 wickets and scoring 303 runs in the showpiece event.
When he hung up his boots, his 434 wickets, were the highest wicket tally in Tests. He played the majority of his matches in the Indian subcontinent pitches, which were spin-friendly, making his record all the better.
Kapil hit 8 centuries in Tests and was a clean striker of the ball. His ODI strike rate of 95.07 is higher than the average strike rates during his playing days, and the rate is above the strike rate of the current era as well.
5. Ian Botham
Other major teams: Durham, Somerset
Bottom Line: Ian Botham
The 1981 Ashes series is known as Botham’s Ashes as the England player won the series with his all-round abilities. He took 34 wickets at an average of 20.58, including three fifers and scored 399 runs at an average of 36.27, with two hundreds.
Ian Botham was one of the best all-rounders of his era, along with Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan and Kapil Dev. Botham could walk into the then-English team either as a specialist batsman or a bowler.
When Botham hung up his gloves, he was the highest wicket-taker in Tests. He is also the highest wicket-taker against Australia — 148 scalps at 27.65. He hit 14 centuries in Tests, including a double century — a feat even a specialist batsman would find tough to achieve.
4. Shakib Al Hasan
Other major teams: Dhaka Gladiators, Sunrisers Hyderabad
Bottom Line: Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh’s best player of all time. He could be on the team for his batting or bowling alone.
He is a reliable batsman and plays according to the situation. He has scored 11,752 runs in international cricket. In ODIs, he has scored 6,323 runs at an average of 37.86, which is excellent considering he batted at No.5 for most of his career.
The left-arm bowler is a lethal weapon of Bangladesh. He picks up wickets and contains the batsmen at the same time. His 562 wickets in international cricket speak volumes about his value as a bowler.
3. Imran Khan
Other major teams: Lahore, Sussex
Bottom Line: Imran Khan
Imran Khan led Pakistan to a World Cup title win 1992, and in August 2018, he became the president of Pakistan, the nation.
With the ball, he was unbeatable from 1980 to 1988, picking up 236 wickets in Tests at a stunning average of 17.77, the best average of all bowlers, beating the likes of Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Michael Holding, among others.
Khan was a good batsman, too, and his batting averages of 37.69 and 33.41 in Tests and ODIs, respectively, underline it. He scored 947 runs at an average 72.84 in the last three years of his Test career.
2. Gary Sobers
Country: West Indies
Other major teams: Barbados, South Australia
Bottom Line: Gary Sobers
Gary Sobers was an all-round cricketer. Don Bradman, the greatest batsman of all time, once called Sobers a "five in one cricketer" since he excelled in all cricketing skills with wicket-keeping being the only exception.
Sobers broke the record of the highest individual score against Pakistan in 1958 by scoring 365*, a record that stood for 36 years. It’s still the fourth-highest individual score in Tests. His average 57.78 is the best among players who have made 8,000-plus runs.
Sobers made it to the team for his bowling and batted at No.9 in his debut match.
He could bowl spin or medium pace, according to the match situation. He was a terrific fielder as well.
1. Jacques Kallis
Country: South Africa
Other major teams: Cape Cobras, Glamorgan