My simple understanding is of an allrounder is one who can be selected in the team either as a bowler or a batsman. Obviously there will be batting allrounders (Like Jayasuriya) as well as bowling allrounders (like Hadlee), in the sense that the former is one whose batting is more important and for the latter bowling is more prominent to the team.
A generally accepted rule is that the batting average of a player should be better than his bowling average. It is interesting that only three players in the history of the game , Sobers, Kallis and Water Hammond have a difference of more than 20. Walter Hammond i would however not figure in my list of great all rounders simply as he has less than 100 test wickets.
Is Sir Gary Sobers the Greatest all rounder ever ? After all he has scored more than 8000 runs at an average more Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, apart from taking 235 test wickets. Is it recently retired Jacques Kallis. What about Ian Botham who has the feat of 5 wickets in an innings and 100 in the same test match as many as 5 times which even the great Sobers and Kallis have done twice.
My view is that it is Gary Sobers. His 1st test ton at 21 was 365 and he broke the world record for highest test score. He was the 1st to hit 6 6’s in an obver. He was a brilliant fielder too and as a bowler could bowl both spin and pace
Is a wicket-keeper an allrounder. Many call Adam Gilchrist and MS Dhoni as allrounders as they could perform more than one roles. I would prefer to call them batsman-wicketkeepers instead as an allrounder for me is one who can perform the roles of batsman and bowler with equal alacrity
Who was the last great all-rounder ? Undoubtedly, its Jacques Kallis. As a batsman he was as important to the team as Rahul Dravid . He scored as many runs as the Wall with more test tons and a better average. As a bowler he has performed as well as Zaheer Khan with 292 test wickets compared to Zak’s 311. What a dream for any captain. No wonder, after his retirement South Africa are finding it difficult to have team balance as for 1 player they are having to field two
In the 80’s and early 90’s the cricket world was fortunate to see at the same time 4 great All rounders namely Botham, Imran Khan, Sir Richard Hadlee and our very own Kapil Dev. All 4 were great exponents of the game and are among the finest all rounders the world has ever seen. If one were to rank them batting talent wise i would go in with Botham at the top followed by Imran, Kapil and Hadlee. For bowling i would go in with Hadlee at the top followed by Imran, Kapil and Botham. These all rounders are players any Captain would literally speaking kill for.
After the era of these 4 great all rounders we could say that Wasim Akram, Andrew Flintoff and probably Shahid Afridi were the all rounders in world cricket. Flintoff was probably a genuine all rounder with almost 4000 runs in test cricket as well as more than 200 wickets. Wasim definitely while being probably one of the top 5 pace bowlers of all time was hardly an all rounder if one takes his batting into consideration. Same is the case with Shahid Afridi, especially if Test performances are taken into account.
The quality of allrounders has almost certainly deteriorated with passage of time. From Imran Khan to Wasim Akram, from Ian Botham to Freddy Flintoff ,from Kapil Dev to Chetan Sharma and from Kallis to Ryan mclaren shows in each case the predecessor being of higher quality. In India the deterioration is even more drastic in recent times with a few ( apology for using the derogatory term) pretenders like Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishi Dhawan and Hardik Pandya playing for the country.
Did we miss a trick somewhere by not holding on to and persisting with Irfan Pathan. Was he badly handled ? we will never know.
Who is the best allrounder now. Currently Four new exciting allrounders have emerged, namely Angelo Matthews, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Ben Stokes. However while Angelo and Mitchell bowl mostly up and down stuff, Maxwell, who is called the Big Show plays ODI and T20. However the shining star definitely is Ben Stokes who in 27 tests already has 4 test tons, 7 Fifties and 71 test wickets including five in an innings twice. One of the test tons was an extraordinary 258, which was the 2nd fastest 200 off only 167 balls. Stokes as a bowler too is capable of running through a side. Interestingly both his Fivers so far were against the redoubtable Aussies, including a devastating 6/36 recently. His is a career one can look forward to.
The spin bowling allrounder one can also think about in world cricket is Shakib al Hassan who has almost 3000 runs and 3 tons in his 42 Tests along with 147 wickets. He is one of only 3 cricketers to take 10 wickets and score a century in a Test match, other two being Botham and Imran.
Currently the best 2 allrounders in world cricket are Shakib and Ben Stokes and it seems only a matter of time that Stokes occupies the Numero Uno spot.