Cricket, like all sports, is all about numbers. And perhaps no sport values statistics more than cricket, where players’ performances are measured and celebrated based on their batting, bowling and fielding records.
But what about the all-rounders?
Those rare breed of cricketers who excel not just in one but in all three disciplines. To celebrate these remarkable players, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has compiled a list of the best all-rounders in its history.
In this post, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the history books to showcase the very best who have ever played the game.
Jacques Kallis (1995-2014), South Africa
Jacques Kallis, what a legend! He’s got over 13,000 runs and 292 wickets in both test and ODI cricket. Talk about being one of the greatest all-rounders of all time! Only two players, Kallis and England’s Ian Botham, have scored more than 11,000 test runs and taken over 250 test wickets. And let’s not forget, Kallis holds the record for the most runs and wickets in ODI history for South Africa.
His remarkable record and consistent performance have earned him a respected place in the International Cricket Council (ICC) All-Rounder Records List.
Kapil Dev (1978 to 1994), India
Indian cricketing legend, Kapil Dev, set the cricket pitch aflame during his tenure from 1978 to 1994.
Kapil Dev is considered by many as the godfather of Indian cricket and it’s easy to see why. The Indian all-rounder played 131 tests, scoring more than 5,000 runs and taking 434 wickets.
Perhaps his most memorable moment was when he led India to a shock victory in the 1983 ODI World Cup when they beat the mighty West Indies in the final.
Imran Khan (1971-1992), Pakistan
Imran Khan – Another legendary all-rounder who captained Pakistan to their first and only World Cup triumph in 1992. Imran Khan was the first player to score more than 3,000 runs and take 300 wickets in test cricket, achieving both milestones in the same match against India in 1987.
Ian Botham (1977-1992), England
Ian Botham – Widely regarded as England’s greatest all-rounder of all time and one of the best all-rounders in cricket history, Ian Botham made his debut for England in 1977 and went on to score more than 5,000 test runs and take 383 test wickets.
Shakib Al Hasan (2006-Present), Bangladesh
The most successful Bangladeshi cricketer of all time, Shakib Al Hasan is a true all-rounder with more than 5,000 runs and 200 wickets in both test and ODI cricket. He was instrumental in his country’s historic victory over England in the 2011 ODI World Cup.
Richard Hadlee (1973-1990), New Zealand
One of the greatest fast bowlers and all-rounders in cricket history, Sir Richard Hadlee represented New Zealand from 1973 to 1990. Known for his precise and devastating bowling, Hadlee was the first player to reach 400 test wickets. With the bat, he scored over 3,000 test runs, making him a genuine all-rounder. His performance against Australia in 1985, where he took 9 for 52, is still considered one of the finest displays of fast bowling.
Gary Sobers (1954-1974), West Indies
Gary Sobers, a West Indian cricketer, is celebrated as one of the greatest all-rounders the game has ever produced. From 1954 to 1974, Sobers graced the cricketing world with his exceptional skills both as a batsman and a bowler.
He was the first player to ever hit six sixes in a single over in first-class cricket and still holds the record for the highest test individual score by a number 6 batsman (365*).
While there are many other great all-rounders not included in this list, these five players have certainly left an indelible mark on the game which has led them to be included in the ICC all-rounder’s list. They have all been exceptional with the bat, superb with the ball, and have also made significant contributions on the field.
Cricket enthusiasts will spend many hours debating which all-rounder was the best among these greats and many others, but there is no questioning that each of these five players made huge contributions to the sport. Their records and achievements serve as an inspiration to current and future cricketers around the world.