The greatest all-rounder since 1970 (part II)
Jacques Kallis grinds his way to the number one position. Alexander Joe (AFP)
After listing the all-rounders I rate as 10 through six yesterday, today I finish with my top five all-rounders since 1970.
5. Sir Richard Hadlee (New Zealand) – 86 Tests, 3124 runs at 27.2 with two centuries and 15 half-centuries, highest score 151no, 431 wickets at 22.3, 36 5-wicket innings and 9 10-wicket matches, best bowling in an innings 9/52, best bowling in a match 15/123
Without Hadlee the New Zealand side of his era would have been a shadow of itself. As a bowler he carried the Black Caps’ attack almost singlehandedly for over 15 years, retiring with a then-world record number of wickets.
From a genuine fast bowler, over time he reined his pace and became a master of swing. His patient stump-to-stump line often proved too much for opposing batsmen.
At the Gabba in 1985/86, he turned in one of the most devastating displays in his history with hauls of nine and six wickets. In 23 Tests against Australia he took his 130 wickets at 20.6, while taking 51 wickets at 22.0 against the mighty West Indies.
He was a swashbuckler with the bat, with his best coming against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 1986-87. He averaged 32.4 against the Windies and over 50 in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
4. Kapil Dev (India) – 131 Tests, 5248 runs at 31.1, eight centuries and 27 half-centuries, HS 163, 434 wickets at 29.6, 23 5WI, 2 10WM, BBI 9/83, BBM 11/146
Without doubt Kapil is the finest pace bowler to have come out of India. While never express, he bowled medium-fast with a lethal out-swinger, often on flat and dusty pitches at home.
Given that conditions were seldom in his favour, he averaged less than four wickets per Test. His nine in an innings came in Ahmedabad against West Indies in 1983-84.
He was also devastating with the ball against the Windies with his 89 wickets coming at 24.9. Strangely, given his style of bowling, he struggled in England where he played 13 Tests for 43 wickets at 39.2.
He was a hard-hitting batsman who loved to wind-up and hit the ball high and long. His top-score came in Kanpur against Sri Lanka in 1986-87.
3. Sir Ian Botham (England) – 102 Tests, 5200 runs at 33.5 with 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries, HS 208, 383 wickets at 28.4, 27 5WI and 4 10WM, BBI 8/34, BBM 13/106
The 1981 Ashes series will always remembered as Botham’s high watermark, with his powerful hitting to the fore. After a slow start to the series he resigned the captaincy and then went on to demolish the Australians.
His unbeaten 149 at Headingley became cricketing folklore as he enabled England to win after following-on. He followed up with 118 at Old Trafford as well capturing 28 wickets in the final four Tests.
He loved the challenge of playing Australia, which he did 35 times for 148 wickets at 27.6, including nine five-wicket hauls. He destroyed Pakistan at Lord’s in 1978 with 8/34.
Botham was all-shoulder in his bowling action and able to generate considerable pace allied to away swing. Against the West Indies his 61 wickets cost 35.2.
He never coped too well with the bat against the Windies with an average of 21.4 from 38 innings. He was superb in India, scoring 554 runs in seven Tests at 61.6. Against India in Mumbai in 1979-80 he became the first player to score a century and take ten wickets in the one match – 114, 6/58 and 7/48. He also snapped up 120 catches.
Botham’s match-winning ability tailed off as his career went on but in his pomp he was a player all opponents feared.
2. Imran Khan (Pakistan) – 88 Tests, 3807 runs at 37.7 with six centuries and 18 half-centuries, HS 136, 362 wickets at 22.8, 23 5WI and 6 10WM, BBI 8/58, BBM 14/116
Imran was the epitome of the glamour sportsman – tall, good-looking and ultra-attacking. He was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s team for two decades, including a 48 Test reign as skipper.
He was a devastating fast bowler who bowled from wide of the crease with lethal inswing and cut off the pitch. Against the powerful West Indian outfit at the time he captured 80 wickets in 18 Tests at a mere 21.2, while against arch-rival India his 94 scalps cost 24.0. He averaged 19.2 at home and 25.8 away.
He was dashing with the bat – his highest innings coming against Australia at Adelaide in 1989-90. While his bowling was highly effective against West Indies, his runs came at 27.7.
At home in Pakistan he averaged 45.3 against a touring average of 33.8. Against India in Faisalabad in 1982/83, he became the second and most recent player to score a century and claim ten wickets in the one Test – 117, 6/98 and 5/82.
Where some players struggle in the latter half of their career, Imran did the opposite. In his last 50 Tests he averaged 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball.
1. Jacques Kallis (South Africa) – 160 Tests, 13,048 runs at 56.7 with 44 centuries and 57 half-centuries, HS 224, 285 wickets at 32.4, 5 5WI, BBI 6/54, BBM 9/92
While he lacks the flare of many of those listed above, cricket’s Mr Indestructible has compiled a most incredible set of numbers – in fact on raw figures he compares exceptionally favourably with the man regarded as the greatest all-rounder of all-time – Sir Garfield Sobers.
Kallis’ run career aggregate is fourth all-time behind Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid, while only Tendulkar (51) has posted more centuries.
Kallis possesses a classical technique, and in many ways, compiles his runs in the old-fashioned way, hence his strike rate of 46. Yet, in spite of that, his 97 career sixes is second only to Adam Gilchrist (100).
He has been incredibly successful on the sub-continent, averaging 83.1 in Pakistan and 58.2 in India. His overall average in 29 Tests against Australia is 48.2.
With the ball he can be deceptively quick, with a powerful upper body compensating for a limited run-up. Even today he can still hit 140km/h.
He averages in the mid-30s against both Australia and England. He has also claimed 193 catches to sit at number four all-time.
So, there you have it.
Once again Roarers, over to you.
After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.
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