Hailing from a country that worships cricket, cricketers become our gods. All rounder cricketers are rare, they are a brilliant combination of grit, strength, confidence and most of all, great skills. Who doesn’t love a cricketer who can bowl and bat with the same ease and skill? Over the decades that the cricketing legacy spans through, once in a while an all rounder comes to the center to amaze and inspire the million plus audience that relishes and follows the game. For those of you that love cricket, here is a list of the ten most amazing and awe-inspiring cricket all rounders to have graced the world with their presence.
Born on 6th October 1946, he was an English test cricket all-rounder. He is often regarded by the cricketing community as one of England’s finest cricketing all-rounders. He hails from a family of a number of first-class level playing cricketers. His own brother, Ian Greig is also a well known test cricket playing cricketer. Towards the end of his career as a player, he turned commentator. He also captained the English team for a period of two years between the years 1975 to 1977. He also brought upon himself many controversies owing to statements made in what was considered to be in bad taste against the West Indian team. He passed away at the age of sixty-six in Sydney owing to lung cancer.
9. Shaun Pollock
Shaun Pollock, a South African cricketer, is a right handed batsman and a right armed fast medium bowler. A line and length seam bowler, he has a cricketing legacy handed down to him from a family of fine cricketers. After playing three hundred and three One Day International cricket matches, he announced his retirement from all forma of the game in the year 2008. He made his test debut in the year 1995 against England. He is the first South African player to have taken 400 test wickets, and is the tenth player world over to have achieved the feat.
8. Jacques Kallis
When we speak of all-rounders, there is no way one would forget the two words: Jacques Kallis. A South African cricketer, Kallis made his test debut in the year 1995 in a test match against England, and made his debut in One Day International cricket in the following year, also in a match against England. He is a right handed batsman and a right handed fast medium swing bowler. He holds the world record of being perhaps the only cricketer to have made 11,000 runs and taken 250 wickets in the two major formats of the game: Test and ODI. This year, 2013, Kallis was named one of Wisden cricketers of the year.
7. Richard Benaud
Often referred to as Richie Benaud, he is one of the greatest test all rounders the sport has ever seen. He helped Australia gain the top spot, a legacy that continues even today. He helped bring back the ashes, which his team was able to do twice under his able captaincy. He was a vivacious and versatile batsman as well as a bowler and he managed pack his flexible skill set with a punch, effectively putting the opposite team in jeopardy, along with his able team-mates. He was described to be one of the most influential cricketers since the second world-war by Gideon Haigh. In 2009, ICC included him in their coveted ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and two years before that he was made part of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. He also holds the record for being the third cricketer in cricketing history to make the fastest century (38 minutes) in terms of time on pitch, not balls faced and the second Australian to have achieved this milestone. Richie Benaud is also the author of fourteen books, all of them about the glorious sport that he contributed so much too. His contributions to the sport are not limited to playing on field and writing about it, they are multi-faceted in nature.
6. Richard Hadlee
Sir Richard Hadlee was knighted in the year 1990 for his services towards the sport of cricket. He is one of the most prominent all-rounders in cricketing history. He was a right arm pace bowler and an aggressive left-handed middle order batsman. He was named Wisden cricketer of the year in 1982. Hadlee is one of the greatest cricketers New Zealand has ever produced. He is often regarded as the best exponent of a new ball. He ended his career with 431 wickets, which was the highest record at the time of his retirement. He was brilliant with conventional swing. In the year 2002, he was named by Wisden as the second to greatest fast bowler of all time.
5. Keith Miller
The name rings a pretty loud bell, doesn’t it? Keith Miller was a brilliant war-time cricketer who played for Australia, arguably one of the most brilliant figures who have graced the sport with their existence. An English journalist Ian Woolridge, called Keith Miller the ‘golden boy’ of cricket. Born on 28 November, 1919, Keith Miller could bowl as skilfully as he could bat. He was a favourite among the audience for being able to deliver deliveries that left the batsmen baffled. He was an acrobatic fielder who never failed to impress. Keith Miller was also called ‘the nugget’, a name that owes it’s origin to his famous christening as ‘the golden boy’ by the cricketing world. He served in the war, as a pilot for the Australian Royal Air-Force. Keith Miller passed away at the age of 84 in the year 2004.
4. Kapil Dev
A list of all-rounders would be incomplete without that cricketing all-rounder who brought home the 1983 world cup. The captain of the 1983 world-cup winning team was a right handed batsman and a right-armed medium fast bowler. He was named Wisden Indian cricketer of the century in the year 2002. What many people do not know is that this brilliant cricketer also coached the Indian cricketing team for a period of 10 months between the years 1999 to 2000. Nicknamed the Haryana Hurricane, this man is arguably India’s greatest ever all-rounder. He hails from an era of gifted fast-bowlers. He delivered brilliant out swingers, his career ended as the highest test wicket taker of his time at 435 wickets. As a batsman, he has won India several matches, most famously, his knock in the 1983 world cup against Zimbabwe.
3. Imran Khan
Imran Khan is a versatile cricketing all-rounder. His bowling style is of note, he could bowl left-hand orthodox spin, fast-medium and wrist-spin with equal ease. He is considered to be one of the greatest cricketer’s that Pakistan has given to the world. He is amongst a handful few to achieve the all-rounder’s triple i.e. 3,000 runs and 300 wickets. He achieved this coveted record in a total of 75 matches. Educated at Oxford, he is often described as rational, realistic and calm as the captain of the Pakistani National Team that flourished to newer highs during his captaincy. He was a charming cricketer who is often considered to have literally swept the cricketing world. Today a successful politician who is cooking up a storm in the political world, his spectators say that neither his cricket nor his politics are driven by vengeance.
2. Sir Ian Botham
He is considered to be the greatest English all-rounder by the cricketing world, and rightfully so. It is often believed, and said, that he made all the difference between a dismal English team and a dominating one. He holds the record of being the fastest cricketing all-rounder to reach 100 wickets and 3,000 runs, the all-rounder’s triple in a staggering 72 matches only. He is a present day cricket commentator. He is referred to as ‘Beefy’ fondly among the cricket community. He holds the record for being the highest wicket taking English player. In 1978, he was named as one of the five Wisden cricketers of the year. Ian Botham achieved the benchmark of making a 100 runs and taking 5 wickets in an innings in the same match an awe-inspiring 5 times. He is only one of the only two players in cricketing history to make 100 runs and taken 10 wickets in the same innings in the same match, the only other man to have achieved this benchmark being Imran Khan. He was knighted in the year 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to the sport of cricket.
1. Sir Gary Sobers
Sir Garfield Sobers, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the sport of cricket in the year 1975, is widely considered to be the greatest cricket all rounder to have ever played the game. He played for the West Indian national team. He made his test debut against England in the year 1954. In the year 1958, Sir Gary Sobers scored his maiden century making a world record of being the highest individual score in cricketing history which was broken years after, in the year of 1994 by none other than Brian Lara who scored a baffling 375 in effect becoming the highest individual run scorer. A left handed batsmen and a fast medium left handed orthodox bowler, he was the captain of the West Indian cricket team for seven years between the years 1965 to 1972. He was only seventeen years of age when he made his test debut. He was dubbed ‘The National Hero of Barbados’ in the year 1998, which is the reason behind the prefix ‘The Right Excellent’ before his name. This honour is shared by only nine other individuals and Gary Sobers is the only living recipient of this high honour. He received the Wisden Cricketer of the year award in the year 1964. He was awarded the Wisden Cricketer of the century award in the year 2000. Words and figures cannot adequately describe this legendary cricketer’s contributions to the sport.