The greatest all-rounder since 1970 (part II)

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    Jacques Kallis grinds his way to the number one position. Alexander Joe (AFP)

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    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.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    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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    The Crowd Says (66)

    • January 27th 2013 @ 6:19am
      Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 6:19am | ! Report

      Glen thank you this has been a good series, everyone has enjoyed it, thank you very much.

      Some stats here, and no player is perfect but all have weaknesses. But Imran Khan’s are amazing.

      Imran Khan for mine are seriously breathing down Kallis’s throat for the no 1 spot in my opinion anyway. Why?

      -Coz I believe the gap in bowling class is bigger than the gap in batting.

      -So they never needed to be the No 3 or no 4, or open as say Ravi Shastri had too and Kallis bat in the top 4.

      -Botham, Hadlee, Khan, Dev were all strike bowlers, who could or were leaders of the attack, Kallis for mine has never been good enough to be the leader of the attack. I rate Shane Watson as good a bowler as Kallis, if not better. And a semi-all rounder like Stuart Broad or Mitch Johnson, for mine are certainly better bowlers than Kallis.

      -So in terms of the role there batting played for these teams, it was just as vital if not more vital a role these guys performed, and the margins are small. These teams were able to have a talented guy come in at no 6 who could make quick runs, or control and innings from no 6 or 7, plus be the team’s strike bowler , a rare luxury .

      -So basically what I am saying for the balance of the side, South Africa were less dependant on Kallis bowling than, these teams were dependant on these (big 4 all rounders of the 80’s batting).

      Ian Botham’s Born 1955 stats 1977-82 before injury are awesome
      Ian Botham (1977-1982)
      Tests = 54
      Wickets = 249
      Best = 8-34
      Average = 23.32

      And botham averaged around 37 with the bat too in this time.

      That’s as good as any one out there on the market.

      Imran Khan born in 1952:
      Whats amazing with Imran was he got better with age . And some of the stats I am going to show, are remarkable after doing about , and when you also add in he was captain a lot of the time, and one of the best captains ever too in my opinion, that is another bow to Imran Khan’s skill set, that Kallis didn’t have.
      Imran Khan, bat ,bowl, field, and top class captain , Kallis was never a good captain.

      But here are Imran Khan’s stats , incredible , and why i think he should be no 1 ahead of Kallis. Both are incredible but Imran Khan’s are very good.

      -From 1980-1988, Imran Khan averaged almost 40 with the bat and less than 18 with the ball. None of his competitors had even come close to displaying such consistency with both bat and ball. Against a great Indian batting line-up consisting of Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Gundappa Viswanath, he took 40 wickets in 6 Test matches at an average of 13.95 , incredible.

      (Australia fared only a little better – 29 wickets at 16.65).

      -Also take into account in Pakistan , pace bowlers didn’t get much help, Imran really developed the art of reverse swing that Safraz Nawez started.

      And when you think Imran khan missed almost 3 years on the prime of his bowling career 82-85, with chin problems he could have had around 460 test wickets, bearing in mind they played less test cricket then.

      And Imran made runs when batting pitches were tougher.

      • January 27th 2013 @ 6:38am
        Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 6:38am | ! Report

        But this is where Imran Khan get’s even better :
        Imran Khan born in November 25 1952: By 1988 Imran Khan was 36 years of age and getting older, but he only got better and especially on his batting check this out. And bear in mind this is in the 1980’s when pitches were tougher, than in Kallis post millennium time, and better bat technology etc.

        Imran khan batting from 1987-1992

        -Between 1987 and 1992, Imran khan averaged 59.69 with the bat over 28 matches, scoring 1552 runs. His average was second to only Martin Crowe in the world at that time.
        And he was still bowling very well at 35-40 years of age, remarkable stuff. And pitches tougher back then etc.

        And his bowling statistics are equally impressive 34-39 years of age., bowing pace bowling.

        28 test 80 wickets best 7/40 Average 27.52

        -So Imran could bat,bowl, field,captain,. Gets the nod and some of those stats are remarkable, and he was a better bowler no question and captain.

        -Also Kallis vs Australia is not as favourable in general both batting and bowling, And Kallis bowling gets boosted by good averages vs Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

        Botham was high flyer, form 1977-82, but injury slowed him down. Khan got better with age, and also had 3 year out and restricted with bowling . Kapil Dev highly talented, had a lot of batting potential.

        But after all that, Imran Khan is the man, and the winner he is the top goat in my opinion, and clearly not just over the line.

        Kallis at no 2, just shading botham 3 and Kapil Dev 4 .

        • January 27th 2013 @ 7:00am
          Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 7:00am | ! Report

          imran Khan also form 1980-92 averaged over 50 in australia with the bat.
          50 in England
          45 in Pakistan but it really gets higher around the 1987-92 mark
          A whopping 140 in NZ VS Hadlee , Ewan Chatifeld, Bracewell, Snedden
          31 VS the west indies total (his only failure being he only played 3 tests in West Indies in this time averaging 22 with the bat in 1988, bit only blemish, is decent at home more around the 33 mark.

          But vs the west indies his bowling is awesome, he bowled well in the wets indies average around 18 . Awsome stats vs the likes of Viv Richards, and his bowling vs India, Australia, is simply brilliant too.

          2ND to Martin Crowe only in averages 1987-92, yes he batted lower just like Adam Gilchrist did, and i take that into account he batted around no 5 or 6 or 7. But to do all this , and with tougher pitches , not as good bats and less wide bats, No boundary ropes, No video technology to review like today, and having to work on his bowling, and captain the team, remarkable.

          Kallis bats at no 4 anyway, not at no 3 much and not as opener. And Kallis record vs Australia in Australia is not that good, post millennium in his time, with all the benefits modern cricket players get today, plus his bowling goes up due to impressive figures vs Bangladesh and ZImbabwe, Imran Khan didn’t have these options. And khan missed almost 3 years of bowling too, even more remarkable. COuld of had 450 wickets in his time, in the same number of tests impressive stuff.

          58 in India , and includinng Pakistan games a total of 65. So in Pakistan VS India Imran Khan average close to 70 vs india, awesome.

          Imran khan for mine as i said above is the winner, the top goat.

          • January 27th 2013 @ 7:14am
            Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 7:14am | ! Report

            And finally i just was reading, he did most of his batting in test career at no 6, and just about all in the 1980’s at no 6, when his batting career really took off.
            And one has to look as well why Imran’s batting averaging a bit over 60. By 1987-92 the sport was far more proffesionail than say 1975, or 1980 or 1982, when Imran was playing. By 1987-97 it had really stepped up a notch and Imran was 34 years of age by the start of 1988 turning 35 that year, and he wasn’t getting any younger , while the next generation , better coached, and younger, had more resources thanks to the world series cricket impact, now really helping cricket by the late 80’s. So Imran was matching it with all the younger stars on the world stage and 2dn only to a young Martin Crowe batting averages, even more remarkable , that he had this boom with the bat. Guys like Ponting went down hill after say 33. He developed his batting as he put less time into his bowling but still had very high and good bowling stats around the 27, 28 mark at 34-39 years of age. Incredable.

            One can only wonder if Imran never bothered with his bowling he would of been maybe one of the great batsmen of all time perhaps.

            • January 27th 2013 @ 8:24am
              Allanthus said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

              Johnno, you are an absolute machine…

              Thanks Glenn, nice series. Not surprising but interesting to note how most of the main contenders have low batting averages against the West Indies. I think we can excuse them all for that.

              Tough choice for No1, Kallis’s record is obviously compelling, but Khan doesn’t have the minnows to boost his. I like how he improved with age – very rare, particularly with the bat.

              • Roar Guru

                January 27th 2013 @ 8:36am
                biltongbek said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:36am | ! Report

                Funnily enough Kallis in his last 60 test matches scored Nearly half of his centuries, he also only averages 25.75 against Bangladesh in this time, so his averages are not boosted by the Minnows.

                His strike rate since SA has a solid batting line up has gone from 42 to 52 during his last 60 tests. He has averaged near 59 during this time as well.

                Whilst his batting has improved in the last 5 years, his bowling was only effected in the sligthtest, his strike rate went up by 2, and his averaged by 1.6.

                Overall Kallis has lost nothing in the batting department, compared to other “greats” who’s performances have waned in the past few years.

              • January 27th 2013 @ 8:39am
                Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

                Allanthus I know, I got going . Thanks mate, I got the machine going. After reading about Khan, he started to grab my attention, and Allanthus I am going to add another set of statistics, even more remarkable, I missed Khan’s career only at the end the world cup when in the 1992 final , as i was to young a little kid. But in the 92 semi-final vs NZ and the world cup ODI final, Khan played major batting roles too, and from no 3 as well.

                But here is another amazing stats on khan. His bowling average as Glen point out 19 with the ball ;sat 50 tests. And his all time stats are better than Dayle Steyn’s too.

                But here is some remarkable stats, this is Shane Warne like but even better, check these out, Allanthus.

                – Khan reached the peak of his powers in 1982. In 9 Tests, he got 62 wickets at 13.29 each, the lowest average of any bowler in Test history with at least 50 wickets in a calendar year.
                13.29 bowling average phenomenal hot – run.

                In January 1983, playing against India, he attained a Test bowling rating of 922 points.

                Although calculated retrospectively (ICC player ratings did not exist at the time), Khan’s form and performance during this period ranks third in the ICC’s All-Time Test Bowling Rankings.

                Khan achieved the all-rounder’s triple (securing 3000 runs and 300 wickets) in 75 Tests, the second fastest record behind Ian Botham’s 72.

                He is also established as having the second highest all-time batting average of 61.86 for a Test batsman playing at position 6 of the batting order.

                But what’s makes Khan’s bowling even more remarkable , not only did he get better, but from 1982 after his hot-run, the man basically lost almost 3 years of cricket at the peak of his bowling powers due to chin problems, so at his absolute prime he was injured for most of it.

                And he came back so well, as Hadlee did as well , but Khan missed 3 years basically. And he was around 32 or 33 by the time he came back, and came back so well, as cricket was becoming more advanced too, and Khan was not getting any younger.

                Awsome stats this man had, and he was one of the great captains of all time to Allanthus, I now know why he is revered with such hero status in Pakistan, Sachin Tendulkar levels.

                And he took wickets vs all teams, all batting line ups, and only time he didn’t bat well was a 3 test series vs the windies in 1988 other than that, everywhere else home and abroad he is the man, bat and ball, and ball everywhere. the man’s stats are freakish.

                And you think with the burden of captaincy which takes up a lot of time, setting fields, worrying about the team, dealing with the media, having to also work hard on your own game, and comeback form injury and not getting any younger to when he got injured, and be an all rounder.

                This is freakish stuff, and in the 1980’s when the pitches were tougher, and bats were not as technologically advanced, no ropes at the boundary fence, all these factors, Imran Khan is a real machine, how he had the time to juggle , bat, ball, captain, with such world class standards, what a man , what a star, a machine,the top goat greatest all rounder ever, gam , set match, Imran Khan Allanthus.

              • January 27th 2013 @ 8:46am
                Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

                biltongbek , what helps Kallis more though is this.

                He had a good batting line up to support him, and good bowlers, Steyn,Nintni, Morkel, and Phillander now,.

                Imran Khan had good spinners no doubt, but for a lot of his career, like Kapil Dev he had to be the strike bowler, as Wasim Akram didn’t come on to the scene until much later in Imran’s Khan career 1987 type time, and waqar, so this is lat in Khan’s career.

                Also Kallis has benifitted from a top class batting line up around him.
                Plus the help of
                -Ropes now on boundary fences
                -Better bat technology and wider bats
                -Less hostile pitches most of the time
                -Better coaching and video analysis
                -better sports medicine for having operations , rehab, and fitness programs
                -better sports medicine and injury player welfare management
                -better hotels, and travel issues, compared to the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s
                -Players are fitter, but that is all relative as it across the board,

                -I don’t know Biltongbek, if Kallis would of had the talent to of had such impressive batting stats in the 80’s, with less help of all the mod-cons of modern life that today’s cricketers get.

              • Roar Guru

                January 27th 2013 @ 8:58am
                biltongbek said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

                Johnno you can’t add on the one. Side and remove benefits on the other. true Kallis batted in a better envrionment, yet if you compare him to the greatest batsmen of his era, he stacks up better than almost everyone.

                He has the highest average of Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting. So even in better conditions as an allrounder he bats better than almost anyone.

                Then as you note he bats in better conditions, you then have to concede he bowls in worst conditions. Look at the bowling average of modern day bowlers. Not exactly exemplary now is it?

                You admit that Imran’s average improved later in his career, sure his experience helped, but conditions and equipment in the nineties made drastic improvements as well.

                Youare saying Imran averaged near 59 in 28 tests, Kallishas been doing that his last 60 tests.

                There is no doubt Imran ended his career on a high. But when you consider his overall career, he does not come close to Kallis.

                And to even suggest that Botham and Kapil Dev is just shded by Kallis, is more in protest than anything else.

                One lst thing, you cannot argue Kallis benefitted from a strong batting lineup for the frist 12 years of his career. SA had a brittle batting line up at best for a long time. only since 2007 have we had a batting line up that could be seen as great, and since then the shackles have been released and Kallis has increased his strike rate and play with more freedom.

      • January 28th 2013 @ 7:51am
        Jammel said | January 28th 2013 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        Agree. Kallis is a batting all rounder who bowls.

        Imran. And hadlee botham dev. Are all better genuine all rounders. Probably Wasim and Marshall too!!

    • Roar Guru

      January 27th 2013 @ 8:40am
      sheek said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      Hi Glenn,

      Thank you for these series of articles on batsmen, bowlers & all-rounders, they have been most informative & entertaining reading.

      That’s compelling stats about Imran – batting average of 50 & bowling average of 19 in his last 50 tests.

      Imran debuted as an 18 year old in 1971, but by 1976 had only played 4 tests for five wickets & few runs.

      It seems at age 23 going on 24, he decided it was time to get serious about his cricket & put the playboy lifestyle on the back burner (only slightly though).

      His three series in 1976/77 against NZ at home & Australia & Windies away made people suddenly sit up & take notice of this ‘new’ star.

      The rest was history……….

      You can’t argue about Kallis as the best since 1970. And his stats seriously challenge Sobers from a previous time, although that’s another story…..!

      • January 27th 2013 @ 8:50am
        Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        And sheek this stat too is truly freakish, as i put above, of Imran Khan.

        — Khan reached the peak of his powers in 1982. In 9 Tests, he got 62 wickets at 13.29 each, the lowest average of any bowler in Test history with at least 50 wickets in a calendar year.
        13.29 bowling average phenomenal hot – run.

        Then Khan got injured and basically missed 3 years of cricket straight after at his bowling peak, but that stat above is best ever type stats for a hot-streak.

        -he came back great from injury, but one can only wonder what he would of done from 82-85 wife he didn’t miss those 3 years.

        -And I rate captaincy guys, as another important fact that Khan had to juggle, and also another bow he can add to his skill set that Kallis didn’t have, and one of the great captains too .

        And one has to also think if you could average say 40 or 45, or 50, or 55, or 60, in the 1970’s 80’s, and mid 90’s, you did all that with out ropes around the boundary and longer boundaries.

        So Kallis batting stats have been boosted by that.

        One can also argue fielding standards were worse then too. But teams like the windies were awesome fielders, and Aussies and kiwis were not bad. And Imran Khan was playing for Pakistan, so he was on one of the worst fielding teams, so that can’t be held against him either.

    • Roar Guru

      January 27th 2013 @ 8:42am
      biltongbek said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Overall if you remove the “minnows” from Kallis’ stats, he still maintains an average of 54.29

      • January 27th 2013 @ 9:00am
        Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        Imran’s khan’s batting average was 59.69 in th least 5 years 28 tests of his career, batting at no 6. 2nd only to Martin Crowe in world cricket in this time. 2nd highest batting average of a no 6 batter ever.

        And in the time as said above with out all the benefits. and by that stage fielding sides like Australia, NZ, west indies, 1987-92 were really high standard and game was becoming more modern playing standards were increasing and Imran was aged 34-39 not getting any younger ,. And 1987-92 they still didn’t get all the benefits of today that Kallis generation get.

        -And one can talk pure stats too, Kallis more than 10,00 test runs, they also play more cricket now too. And Khan missed almost 3 years at his peak 1982-85 due to injury , which is another compelling stat, and he came back so well too,and wasn’t a young guy when he came back , 32. So too play so well for last 7 years even more amazing as he wasn’t getting nay younger. He would of played even more test crick tif he didn’t miss almost 3 years straight to injury.

        • Roar Guru

          January 27th 2013 @ 9:14am
          biltongbek said | January 27th 2013 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          So he had a lot of not outs getting stranded without a partner. He had11 not outs in 37 innings. That is a huge percentage of not outs to boost an average.

          15 of those 28 matches were played on flat tracks in asia. 20 innings which already suggests it was near impossible to bowl a team out twice. As half those matches only went one innings. He averaged 66 in Asia during that time.

          There were 3 test in OZ where he averaged 69 (sign of a good series, not career) during that time he played 2 tests in NZ averaging 140.

          He had a good run, but most of the runs came in Asia, on flat tracks.

          • January 27th 2013 @ 9:29am
            Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            lol ture, but Kallis as well Biltonbek has equally feasted out on some roads on the sub-continent , so they are 1-1 there mate lol. Both play spin well no doubt about it.

          • January 27th 2013 @ 10:26am
            Sailosi said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:26am | ! Report

            Are these the same flat Asian tracks where Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting only scored 1 test hundred between them in India.

            • January 27th 2013 @ 10:52am
              Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

              Ponting only averages 26 in India, average stuff.

            • January 27th 2013 @ 10:37pm
              The Greatest Game Of All said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

              Are you implying Lara struggled in Asia?

      • January 27th 2013 @ 9:27am
        Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        Biltongbek. You make some very good points about Kallis.
        Imran was good in the 80’s full stop but hit a purple patch 1987-92 without he bat but he already was impressive but really stepped up a gear.
        By 1990 equipment had really improved technologically true, but nothing like today, . Pitches were better looked after by then, but the late 80’s and early 90’s was still much tougher to bat, than post millennium.

        Your right about the shackles being lifted from Kallis, in his batting no doubt. Kallis does bat at no 4 and that is tougher usually to bat than at no 6. Mind you pitches get worse back then faster, Imran Khan was very good vs spin , but Kallis is awesome vs spin too.

        Both great batsmen, but Kallis is the better batsmen still ,. I don’t always think batting at no 6 should be seen as a sign your a weaker batter. Just look at Micheal Clarke he bats at no 5, and Steve Waugh bats at no 5 or 6, for most of his career.

        And Khan batted often at no5 to, but 6 you have to be very good vs spin which Khan was, and he did make runs vs a lot of pace bowlers too.

        But Kallis is the better batter yes. But I think Imran win’s the bowling contest.

        You make a very good point about Kalli’s bowling in a tougher time, there can be no doubt about that. Kallis would of been a better bowler in the 80’s . But Imran Khan and Botham were both the team’s strike bowlers, I don’t think Kallis in any era of STH African cricket say 1970-2010 would of been the team’s strike bowler .

        The reason I bring up Ian Botham is this.

        Ian Botham born 1955:

        Ian Botham 1977-82 was overall stats wise the best out of the big 4, and was just about the best stats for a bowler in world cricket at the time. Then he did his back, and was never the same gain.

        Botham’s stats 1977-82:
        58 tests
        3229 runs
        37.11 batting average
        11 hundreds with a highest of 208 vs India in England (a lot of hundreds for a supposed bowling all-rounder coming in at no 6)
        262 wickets
        8/34 best figures (irrelevant that but still)
        24.52 bowling average

        And a real matchwinner Andrew Flintoff type, can win the match from Anywhere, Botham’s 1981 ASHES heroics evidence of that.

        He never really fired vs the west indies but many struggled. Khan did well vs the west indies especially bowling wise both in west indies and in Pakistan.

        But Botham;s 1977-82 stats are right up there with the best in world cricket. And he did that in a time with no ropes either, but yes he bowled in friendlier conditions than what Kallais has had too.

        But Botham is no 3 here, and i agree with that. But Ian Botham of 1977-82 before he got his back injury , are right up there.
        And Kapil had so much talent, was inconsistent. Imran Khan admit’s Kapil Dev had more talent, than him , but Imran khan said he was a harder worker.

        • January 27th 2013 @ 12:28pm
          Lroy said | January 27th 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          without wanting to diminish the great mans achievements, in 77-78, and 78-79, the worlds best players were all involved with world series cricket, (including Imran Khan) Beefy played against the Aussies when over 20 of their best players were involved with the Packer competition. So his early years figures might be a bit more succesful than they would have been otherwise. Having said that, 1981, Bothams Ashes…

          Interestingly, Imran Khan was tested as the third fastest bowler in the world behind Jeff Thompson and Michael Holding back in 1979… in those days, the speed was recorded along the whole 22 yards wheras today, it is only recorded at is highest speed as it leaves the bowlers hand.

          Khan had an incedible inswinger… he took a swag at the WACA one day in the early 1980’s (82 or 83) … he was slinging it at 140 kms per hour 2 feet outside offstump, and it was hitting the batsmen on the body or crashing into the stumps, it was probably THE day reverse swing was introduced to Australia.

    • Roar Guru

      January 27th 2013 @ 9:19am
      peeeko said | January 27th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      i think you can distort stats by only picking certain periods of a career eg “between 87-92 her averaged 50” i think we have to look at stats over a whole career, it shows consistency and dedication and resilience from injury. to me hadlle was the best bowler who could hold a bat, kallis the best batter that could bowl well and Khan very good at both. Dev and Botham were slightly inferior but still excellent versions of Khan

      • Roar Guru

        January 27th 2013 @ 12:32pm
        sheek said | January 27th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report


        There are many different ways to interpret stats, & you could argue we should be thankful for this, because it allows us to push our favourites to the front of the queue!

        One reliable method perhaps is to see how the best batsmen & bowlers performed against the top three teams of their times. A mark against Ian Botham for example, is that his performances against West Indies were well below his overall record.

        When discussing who might make Australia’s ‘team of the century,’ announced in early 2000, SMH journalist Phil Derriman suggested it was a legitimate exercise to remove the beginning (say first 5-10% of tests) & end (say last 5-10% of tests) of each player’s career, & see how productive they were in the middle (peak) period.

        I think this is a legitimate analysis as well. A player is often still learning the ropes in his first 5-10% of tests, & his career is waning in the last 5-10% of tests. Of course, this doesn’t run true for everyone but generally it makes sense.

        • January 27th 2013 @ 5:24pm
          Brian said | January 27th 2013 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

          Totally agree. When Ponting retired there was an article in the fairfax papers on why he wasn’t our second greatest batsman comparing his average against his peers over his career then comparing the result to Chappel and Border.

          What the article ignored was that Ponting international career had much more longevity and he did very little in his first 3 years or his last 5.

          I never properly saw Both or Khan but i do think Kallis deserves credit for longevity and for performing for such a long time. Likewise I would hardly have Flintoff in the top 10.

    • January 27th 2013 @ 10:16am
      Jason said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      Kallis doesn’t average 48 against Australia, it is 41 which is only slightly above his bowling average of 37.

      For what it’s worth, of all the players listed, I would chose Imran first for my team (with probably Hadlee second). Great bowling allrounders are more valuable than great batting ones because great bowlers are worth more than great batsmen.

    • January 27th 2013 @ 10:37am
      Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      -How is this to sum them up

      -Kallis- Great batsmen /decent bowler
      -Khan – Great bowler/ very Good batsmen/Great Captain
      -Dev- very good bowler/ good batsmen
      -Botham- very good bowler/good batsmen
      -Hadlee – Great bowler /decent handy batter
      -Flintoff- very Good bowler/ good batter, better than decent/handy(Hadlee)
      -Shane Watson- Very Good batsmen/ decent bowler
      -Stuart Broad- Good bowler/handy batsmen handy-same as decent both Broad and johnson could be good batters one day easy
      -Mitch Johnson-Good bowler/handy batsmen
      -Heath Streak- Very good bowler/decent batsman/good captain
      -Dwayne Bravo-Good bowler/good batsmen
      Shaun Pollock-Good batsmen/good bowler(i never rated Pollock’s bowling that highly, it lacked menace)

      And spare a thought for Heath Streak. The rubbish and burden guys like him and Andy Flower had to put up with in that Zimbabwe team, were endless, on so many levels. Plus playing in teams with less talented players, and less money for top coaching etc.

      -Heath Streak pulled of a very handy career with all these problems and carrying the team a lot with Andy Flower and no depth,.And by the last half of his career most of the star players left the team , making Heath streak a lone soldier. In any other team Heath streak’s figures would of been much better. Not the greatest all rounder but one who deserves a mention and I think is pushing the tope 20 in the last 40 years.

      When you think all the burden he had to do, especially carry the bowling on his own for a lot of his career.
      -And like Glen Mcgrath or a Shalk Burger or Brad Thorn rugby style player, Heath Streak is as gutsy and as hard a man as they come, a lot of endurance too, a real fighter. ANd a natural leader, a good captain

      65 tests
      1990 runs
      22.35 batting average , would of been higher in a better team always had to come in in high pressure situations no support
      1 hundred
      216 wickets
      28.14 good average would of been better if he had more support to bowl in tandem.

      A good cricketer would of done better if in a better team, and less problems to deal with that sadly Zimbabwe had to deal with when in his prime eg players leaving , political problems etc, not as much money for coaches etc.

      • January 27th 2013 @ 10:59am
        Jason said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Pollock is a better bowler than that.

        He was like the bowling equivalent of Ken Barrington. Barrington would pretty much score 50 to 60 every time he went out to bat. Pollock would take 2/50 or 3/70 every time he bowled.

        Neither were to be feared but both were to be respected and admired.

      • January 27th 2013 @ 12:24pm
        Allanthus said | January 27th 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        Johnno, I hope you put Watson and Johnson on that list just to provide some current day and local context. Because really, as talented as they are, they don’t belong with the elite guys who have done it better for longer.

        Kallis or Imran…?? Really it’s like having to choose between Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford. The vital stats might differ a bit but you’d be very happy to have either on your team.

        • January 27th 2013 @ 12:32pm
          Lroy said | January 27th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          ha ha, that is gold, well played sir 😉

        • Columnist

          January 27th 2013 @ 12:34pm
          Glenn Mitchell said | January 27th 2013 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          I like your thinking Allanthus. Maybe my next column could be on the respective merits of supermodels since 1970. Chances are those spoil sport editors would probably not consider it to be sport!

          • January 27th 2013 @ 12:42pm
            Jason said | January 27th 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

            It’s worth giving it a shot I’d say. Maybe it could be about “greatest supermodels who dated sports stars”. You could start with Gisele and Liz.

            • January 27th 2013 @ 7:11pm
              Johnno said | January 27th 2013 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

              elle mcpherson, and daisy fuentes, Linda evangalista, so many hotties .Wasn’t’ Imran’s khan ex-wife a model, she was very glamourous .

      • January 27th 2013 @ 9:25pm
        DCO said | January 27th 2013 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

        Johnno, good points on Streak and Andy Flower. Their performances are underrated and fantastic given the lack of support of other quality players.

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