September 14, 2011

Test-series performances: the top allrounders

A detailed stats analysis of the greatest Test-series performances by allrounders
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Garry Sobers: 722 runs and 20 wickets in a five-match series
Garry Sobers: 722 runs and 20 wickets in a five-match series © PA Photos

Last month I had embarked on a major project. This had been triggered by a few comments on performance of allrounders in series. Finally after covering the batsmen, bowlers and teams, I have covered the allrounders in Test series, the idea I started with. This concludes the current series of articles but there are some very good follow-up ideas, especially relating to the teams analysis which will be done later.

I am aware that Cricinfo statistics section gives you an insight into the runs scored and wickets captured in Test series. However those are raw numbers and also do not show the results by series types. Even Statsguru might not provide that. What I intend to do is to weight the individual player performances in series with various relevant parameters. It is necessary to recognize where players performed (home or away), how did the performance measure against those of the other bowlers, what were the quality of wickets captured, what was the quality of bowlers, what was the pitch condition, was there a critical series situation et al. That would let us judge performances at their true worth.

The weight basis is the same as has been done in the batting and bowling analyses. The relevant factors considered is given below in summary form. I do not want to repeat the details here.

Batting - Runs scored
1. Where the series was played
2. Series situation
3. Quality of bowling
4. Pitch type
5. Support provided / % of score

Bowling - Wickets captured 1. Where the series was played 2. Series situation 3. Quality of wickets captured 4. Pitch type 5. Bowler's average vs Teams' series average


The key to the all-rounder analysis is in setting the criteria for selection as an all-round performance. Independent bars have to be set up for batting and bowling. These bars cannot be too high: Very few performances would come in. These bars cannot be too close to the ground: Batsmen who can bowl and bowlers who can bat would sneak in. I have arrived at the following criteria after a few trials.

No of Tests Minimum runs Minimum wickets 3 200 10 4 250 12 5 300 14 6 350 16


This stiff set of criteria let in only 60 series-level performances making this quite an exclusive and privileged group. That is the purpose behind the exercise also.

Acknowledging the importance of wicketkeepers in a side and the prevailing conviction that wicket-keepers are allrounders, I have done a set of tables for wicketkeepers at the end.

Since we need to consider runs and wickets captured together, I have used 30 runs per wicket as a rough conversion factor to work out a common Run index. The overall 135-year average is just short of 30.0. I debated using the series RpW figure. However this figure has already been used in determining the Pitch type and I did not want double counting of this. Already steps have been taken to see that, if the RpW was high, the runs would discounted and wickets inflated and vice versa. So I have used a standard measure for conversion across. This conversion is necessary to determine the average contribution per match, of players across the series. One table is drawn based on this.

Readers would note that this average is not used in setting up the criteria for selection. These are two different factors. The criteria have been set using ball-park figures and my judgement while the equalization methodology of determining the Run index requires a more objective basis.

This time I have used the actual number of Tests played while determining the average performances. Only series which a player has played a minimum of 3 Tests have been included in this analysis. Also, the three Triangular tournaments, the 1912 one and the two Asian Championships are not included. This is because these are not bi-lateral series.

The tables are shown for 6, 5, 4 and 3 test series. These are ordered on the base information, which is the Run index.

Ser Year Hme-Awy Player          For  #-P RunIdx  Avge   R  W  Wt-R  Wt-W

232 1981 ENG-Aus Botham I.T (Eng) 6-6 1397.0 232.8 399 34 457.2 31.33 234 1981 IND-Eng Botham I.T (Eng) 6-6 1081.4 180.2 440 17 503.7 19.26 190 1974 AUS-Eng Greig A.W (Eng) 6-6 1063.3 177.2 446 17 532.3 17.70 ... 152 1966 ENG-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1474.0 294.8 722 20 840.2 21.13 18 1894 AUS-Eng Giffen G (Aus) 5-5 1454.6 290.9 475 34 541.3 30.44 185 1974 WIN-Eng Greig A.W (Eng) 5-5 1319.2 263.8 430 24 476.5 28.09 33 1910 SAF-Eng Faulkner G.A (Saf) 5-5 1317.7 263.5 545 29 552.5 25.51 113 1957 SAF-Aus Benaud R (Aus) 5-5 1268.2 253.6 329 30 408.9 28.64 526 2005 ENG-Aus Flintoff A (Eng) 5-5 1178.1 235.6 402 24 421.1 25.23 103 1955 WIN-Aus Miller K.R (Aus) 5-5 1175.8 235.2 439 20 469.6 23.54 161 1968 AUS-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1169.7 233.9 497 18 551.9 20.59 38 1920 AUS-Eng Gregory J.M (Aus) 5-5 1142.4 228.5 442 23 415.6 24.23 131 1962 WIN-Ind Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1084.7 216.9 424 23 412.3 22.41 135 1963 ENG-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1073.5 214.7 322 20 379.4 23.14 126 1960 AUS-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1071.8 214.4 430 15 525.4 18.21 ... 76 1947 ENG-Saf Edrich W.J (Eng) 5-4 994.5 248.6 552 16 501.8 16.42 248 1983 ENG-Nzl Hadlee R.J (Nzl) 4-4 993.4 248.4 301 21 367.5 20.86 157 1967 AUS-Ind Surti R.F (Ind) 4-4 885.1 221.3 367 15 377.5 16.92 157 1967 AUS-Ind Cowper R.M (Aus) 4-4 866.6 216.7 485 13 479.2 12.92 106 1955 IND-Nzl Mankad M.H (Ind) 5-4 858.1 214.5 526 12 506.5 11.72 443 2001 WIN-Saf Pollock S.M (Saf) 4-4 849.8 212.4 285 19 313.7 17.87 507 2004 ENG-Win Flintoff A (Eng) 4-4 802.2 200.6 387 14 384.6 13.92 ... 240 1982 ENG-Pak Imran Khan (Pak) 3-3 912.7 304.2 212 21 250.3 22.08 582 2009 SAF-Aus Johnson M.G (Aus) 3-3 829.2 276.4 255 16 295.0 17.80 153 1966 IND-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 3-3 797.5 265.8 342 14 370.6 14.23 208 1978 NZL-Eng Botham I.T (Eng) 3-3 734.8 244.9 212 17 239.8 16.50 40 1921 SAF-Aus Gregory J.M (Aus) 3-3 718.9 239.6 205 15 229.0 16.33 181 1973 PAK-Eng Mushtaq Mohd (Pak) 3-3 713.2 237.7 327 12 341.6 12.39 156 1967 ENG-Pak Asif Iqbal (Pak) 3-3 705.5 235.2 267 11 313.8 13.06 181 1973 PAK-Eng Intikhab Alam (Pak) 3-3 704.0 234.7 202 15 200.5 16.78


Botham leads the 6-Test series. In the 5-test series, Sobers' once-in-a-100-years performance of 722 runs and 20 wickets leads the way. Giffen, with 475 runs and 34 wickets, is just behind. Look at the number of times Sobers has appeared in the 5-test table.

Bill Edrich, with 552 runs and 16 wickets is a surprise leader in the 4-test group. However look at the performance of Imran Khan in the series against England. 212 runs and 21 wickets. Johnson is a surprise presence here, however, 255 runs and 16 wickets indicating a real allrounder. It is also interesting to note that 4 out of the 8 players in the 3-Test category are Pakistani players.

Now for the second table, a completely performance-based one. This is ordered on the average Run index per match. In other words, consider as approximately equivalent to the number of runs scored per match. To understand the significance a Run index average of 200 indicates 1000 runs in a series, a figure not yet reached.

Ser Year Hme-Awy Player          For  #-P RunIdx  Avge   R  W  Wt-R  Wt-W

240 1982 ENG-Pak Imran Khan (Pak) 3-3 912.7 304.2 212 21 250.3 22.08 152 1966 ENG-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1474.0 294.8 722 20 840.2 21.13 18 1894 AUS-Eng Giffen G (Aus) 5-5 1454.6 290.9 475 34 541.3 30.44 582 2009 SAF-Aus Johnson M.G (Aus) 3-3 829.2 276.4 255 16 295.0 17.80 153 1966 IND-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 3-3 797.5 265.8 342 14 370.6 14.23 185 1974 WIN-Eng Greig A.W (Eng) 5-5 1319.2 263.8 430 24 476.5 28.09 33 1910 SAF-Eng Faulkner G.A (Saf) 5-5 1317.7 263.5 545 29 552.5 25.51 113 1957 SAF-Aus Benaud R (Aus) 5-5 1268.2 253.6 329 30 408.9 28.64 76 1947 ENG-Saf Edrich W.J (Eng) 5-4 994.5 248.6 552 16 501.8 16.42 248 1983 ENG-Nzl Hadlee R.J (Nzl) 4-4 993.4 248.4 301 21 367.5 20.86 208 1978 NZL-Eng Botham I.T (Eng) 3-3 734.8 244.9 212 17 239.8 16.50 40 1921 SAF-Aus Gregory J.M (Aus) 3-3 718.9 239.6 205 15 229.0 16.33 181 1973 PAK-Eng Mushtaq Mohd (Pak) 3-3 713.2 237.7 327 12 341.6 12.39 526 2005 ENG-Aus Flintoff A (Eng) 5-5 1178.1 235.6 402 24 421.1 25.23 103 1955 WIN-Aus Miller K.R (Aus) 5-5 1175.8 235.2 439 20 469.6 23.54 156 1967 ENG-Pak Asif Iqbal (Pak) 3-3 705.5 235.2 267 11 313.8 13.06 181 1973 PAK-Eng Intikhab Alam (Pak) 3-3 704.0 234.7 202 15 200.5 16.78 161 1968 AUS-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 5-5 1169.7 233.9 497 18 551.9 20.59 232 1981 ENG-Aus Botham I.T (Eng) 6-6 1397.0 232.8 399 34 457.2 31.33 537 2006 IND-Eng Flintoff A (Eng) 3-3 693.6 231.2 264 11 302.3 13.04


Imran Khan, with a Run index value of 304, stop for a moment to digest this figure, 300+ runs per Test, leads this performance-oriented table. Sobers' stupendous series during 1966 follows closely with a near-300 figure. Giffen has also got a Run index value exceeding 290. How about Johnson going through a 3-test series averaging 276 runs per test.

Just to complete the Series bowling analysis, I have given below the table of allrounders who have met the tough criteria set. This is a clear indication of the quality of allrounders. Very few would be surprised at the results. Sobers leads with 6 such performances, indicating that he is the supreme allrounder. Botham, five times, Miller and Flintoff, possibly unexpectedly, four times each, confirm their claim to greatness. Surprises, Kapil Dev just once and the presence of Johnson and Harbhajan Singh.

Sobers:     6
Botham:     5
Miller:     4
Flintoff:   4
on 2, plenty (J.M.Gregory, Imran Khan, Hadlee, Greig, Kallis).

On this strong evidence, there is very little doubt that Sobers is the supreme allrounder. Botham has also performed the all-round feats in series quite often. Miller, not surprisingly, and Flintoff, quite surprisingly, have reached the lofted heights four times each.

To download the complete list of players who have crossed 500 runs in a Test series, please right-click here and save the file.

Now for the allrounders hall of fame (or more correctly, shame). While I sympathise with these players, I like this part of the exercise since it throws a challenge to me to identify such performances. The only criteria I have set is that the concerned player should have captured 100 Test wickets and scored 2000 Test runs. This is to ensure that the list contains only regular allrounders.

Ser Year Hme-Awy Player          For  #-P RunIdx  Avge   R  W

302 1990 WIN-Eng Hooper C.L (Win) 4-3 67.1 16.8 71 0 96 1953 ENG-Aus Benaud R (Aus) 5-3 89.9 18.0 15 2 99 1954 ENG-Pak Bailey T.E (Eng) 4-3 106.0 26.5 81 1 296 1989 ENG-Aus Botham I.T (Eng) 6-3 163.3 27.2 62 3 322 1992 SAF-Ind Shastri R.J (Ind) 4-3 124.0 31.0 59 2 107 1956 NZL-Win Sobers G.St.A (Win) 4-4 138.9 34.7 81 2


Sobers and Botham are arguably the top two allrounders ever. However they had nightmare series. The above players scored less than 30 runs per Test and captured fewer than one wicket per Test. Their average Run index was less than 35, in eminently forgettable series for all. However, let us not forget that Sobers and Botham are the top two allrounders in the performance table.

The minimum number of wicket-keeper dismissals has been set at a slightly higher level than the wickets (12/14/16/18). The wicket-keeping allrounder table is ordered on the Run index, which is determined by assigning a value of 20 runs per dismissal. This has been done with some basis. 26 is the highest number of dismissals in this group and 600 runs. Hence the number 20 has been chosen. In case you think that this is arbitrarily done, it is true. However do not forget that it is the same for all wicket-keepers and we are not comparing outside the wicket-keeper domain.

Ser Year Hme-Awy Player          For  #-P RunIdx  Avge   R  D  Wt-R

463 2002 SAF-Aus Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 3-3 829.7 276.6 473 14 549.7 418 1999 ZIM-Slk Flower A (Zim) 3-3 679.5 226.5 388 13 419.5 154 1966 SAF-Aus Lindsay D.T (Saf) 5-5 1083.9 216.8 606 24 603.9 377 1997 NZL-Eng Stewart A.J (Eng) 3-3 605.9 202.0 257 16 285.9 350 1994 SAF-Nzl Richardson D.J (Saf) 3-3 571.8 190.6 247 16 251.8 399 1998 ENG-Saf Stewart A.J (Eng) 5-5 943.7 188.7 465 23 483.7 591 2009 NZL-Pak Kamran Akmal (Pak) 3-3 561.3 187.1 257 13 301.3 447 2001 ENG-Aus Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 5-5 924.1 184.8 340 26 404.1 416 1999 AUS-Pak Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 3-3 537.4 179.1 264 13 277.4 499 2004 SLK-Aus Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 3-3 527.7 175.9 201 14 247.7 126 1960 AUS-Win Alexander F.C.M(Win) 5-5 877.4 175.5 484 16 557.4 443 2001 WIN-Saf Jacobs R.D (Win) 4-4 698.4 174.6 299 17 358.4 178 1972 AUS-Pak Marsh R.W (Aus) 3-3 517.3 172.4 210 16 197.3 515 2004 AUS-Pak Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 3-3 505.6 168.5 230 14 225.6 475 2002 AUS-Eng Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 5-5 830.3 166.1 333 25 330.3 565 2008 NZL-Eng McCullum B.B (Nzl) 3-3 495.1 165.0 212 14 215.1 593 2009 SAF-Eng Boucher M.V (Saf) 4-4 655.1 163.8 341 16 335.1 439 2001 SLK-Eng Sangakkara K.C (Slk) 3-3 484.9 161.6 215 13 224.9 592 2009 AUS-Win Haddin B.J (Aus) 3-3 479.1 159.7 225 14 199.1 259 1984 AUS-Win Dujon P.J.L (Win) 5-5 781.9 156.4 341 19 401.9 615 2011 ENG-Ind Prior M.J (Eng) 4-4 610.9 152.7 271 17 270.9 404 1998 SAF-Win Jacobs R.D (Win) 5-5 763.0 152.6 317 19 383.0 190 1974 AUS-Eng Knott A.P.E (Eng) 6-6 908.0 151.3 364 23 448.0 289 1988 ENG-Win Dujon P.J.L (Win) 5-5 749.2 149.8 305 20 349.2 587 2009 ENG-Aus Haddin B.J (Aus) 5-4 598.9 149.7 278 15 298.9 481 2003 WIN-Aus Gilchrist A.C (Aus) 4-4 583.2 145.8 282 15 283.2


Look at Gilchrist's 2002 series against South Africa. In 3 Tests, Gilchrist scored 473 runs (this is a performance Bradman would have been proud of) being weighted into 549 runs, away against top quality bowling. He dismissed 14 batsmen, this working out to 280 runs. The total is 829 equivalent runs, averaging 276 runs per Test. One would be at a loss of words to describe this performance.

Andy Flower was equally impressive against Sri Lanka. Playing for a weaker team, he scored just a few runs fewer and almost the same number of dismissals. An average Run index of 226 is ample proof of Andy Flower's contribution in a decent series for Zimbabwe.

Dennis Lindsay's performance in the South African series against Australia has been discussed quite a lot during the Series Batting analysis discussions. 606 runs and 24 dismissals must rank amongst the most impressive all-round performances ever, bowling or wicket-keeping type.

No Indian wicket-keeper has met the criteria set indicating the lack of wicket-keeper-batsmen amongst the Indian players.

Now for the wicket-keepers who have cleared the bar a number of times.

Gilchrist:    7
Stewart:      2
Dujon:        2
Jacobs:       2
Haddin:       2
1 (10 keepers have reached this once each).

The above table tells a story, loud and clear. Gilchrist has achieved the selected landmarks in seven series. Four other keepers, twice. For those who compare Dhoni and Gilchrist, I would like to point out that Dhoni has not reached the set target even once. At least Prior, Akmal, McCullum, Boucher, Haddin, Sangakkara amongst modern keepers have got at least one successful jump over the bar.


I would conclude saying that, as wicket-keeper allrounders go, Gilchrist is as far ahead of the rest of the field as Bradman was, of the next batsmen.

The Readers' list

This is not a merit list since I have not come out with my list. This is just a list of all-rounders who missed the cut. Please check the downloaded file before sending an entry. Also please send the complete series figures for me to consider inclusion.

1. Warne's 249 runs and 40 wickets during 2005 vs England, away (Boll/Raghav).
2. Davidson's 212 runs and 33 wickets during 1960 vs West Indies (Waspsting).
3. Marshall's 244 runs and 33 wickets during 1983 vs India, away (Ravi).
4. Botham's 187 runs and 19 wkts in 3 tests during 1979 vs Aus away (Gerry).
5. Kapil's 278 runs and 32 wkts vs Pak during 1979 (Ganesh).
6. Noble's 417 runs and 16 wkts vs Eng during 1903 (Boll).
7. Healy's 356 runs and 15 dismissals vs Win in 1996-97 (Boll).
8. Marsh's 297 runs and 17 dismissals vs Win in 1972-73, away (Boll).
9. Procter's 209 runs and 28 wickets, in 4 Tests, vs Aus during 1970 (Blakeley).

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Darren Lucas on November 26, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Hello, not related to article, just musing... was wondering about a rating system for allrounders... take every player as an allrounder... rate the batting, bowling, fielding across all in groups as you have done so well and then use that score weighted (ah there is the rub!) anyway... say average batting score is 28, allrounder x's score is 35 so = +7, the bowling score across the group is 28 say, but allrounder x'x is 35 = -7 so they rate 0, then add the fielding depending how it is scored... say they score 26 and avg across group is say 28 they are -2 overall (for an average allrounder as an example) i will try and play with your lists to see if i can crystalize this idea somewhat [[ So much time has passed that I have to do some work before relating to this comment. Will do. Ananth: ]]

    oh and i think the comment on Chris Cairns is deserved, he was as good as Flintoff for example, with that fierce determination to take hold of the game no matter what the scoreline might say despite not the best looking stats he was always tough on the Aussies (when fit) during a strong period for them

  • RANGArajan on October 31, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    A pretty late entry but suddenly remembered about a forgotten allrounder - Chris Cairns: One of the last few greates who never achieved what he should have. [[ If you go back to the BCG charts, Cairns stands quite tall there. Ananth: ]]

    From a nation of under-achievers, Cairns stood out with both bat and ball (fielding for NZ is a hygiene factor - Boycott's mom from NZ would match our best fielders in the world) . . . His records are comparable to the best in business and has done well when it matters . . . Of course, injuries did hamper his bowling after 2005, but he still has close to 3.5 wkts per test which is what some leading bowlers managed to, during their entire careers (And he has an entry into this list as well) . . . He deserves a bit more accolades than he actually managed to get in the end

  • Boll on September 30, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Based on the bat ave/bowl ave. ratio , here are the Top 10, qualification 1000runs/100wickets

    1. Kallis 1.79 2. Sobers 1.70 3. Imran 1.65 4. Miller 1.61 5. Pollock 1.40 6. Goddard 1.31 7. Greig 1.26 8. Hadlee 1.22 9. Noble 1.21 10. Botham 1.18

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 30, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Boll - On all rounders against Windies: surprise again - Kapil shone less with the bat than i thought, and more with the ball.In the period 1979-1989 (full strength Windies only, not Kalli's teams)

    Name; tests; runs / test; batting avg; wickets/test; bowl avg Kapil; 19; 39.5; 25.21; 3.8; 22.98 Botham; 19; 39.8; 21.02; 3.1; 35.84 Hadlee; 10; 38.9; 32.41; 5.1; 22.03 Imran; 10; 40.9; 27.26; 5.1; 16.68

    So barring Botham, the other three all gave a hard time to the West Indies. Hadlee and Imran clearly raised their game against the best of the best...

  • Boll on September 29, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    @shrikanthk. Yep, obviously the batting average-bowling average metric is a fairly crude instrument, and I would agree with Ananth that the ratio is a fairer, although far from foolproof, measure.

  • Mark on September 28, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    -All-Rounder Qualifications- Post 1920; :Min. of 15 Games played :Must have played Home & Away

    Batting top5 :Must’ve Bowled in 75% of Matches played. :Bowl Ave. Less than 45 + Min. 0.5 Wkt per Match. :Runs per Test Innings Greater than 40 Ave.

    Batting 6 :Must’ve Bowled in 90% of Matches played. :Bowl Ave. Less than 40 + Min. 1 Wkt per Match. :Runs per Test Innings Greater than 33 Ave.

    Batting 7or8 :Must’ve Bowled in no. 150% of the no. of Matches played. :Bowl Ave. Less than 35 + Min. 2 Wkts?per Match. :Runs per Test Match Greater than 30.

  • arch on September 27, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    Pollock: poor man's Proctor. Now that was a player! Too bad we will never know exactly how great he was.

  • RANGArajan on September 27, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Due apologies and thanks for the correction!!! My expression (Poor Man's Flintoff) typifies the recognition received by SAF cricketers!! They have beaten all teams in their backyards but yet, were never considered as world beaters / all time great teams!!!

    One most important aspect of Pollock is his aggression not crossing the line - The way he conducted himself with decorum, befitting the great man he was. Interestingly, he still has an entry into this list just once.

  • RANGArajan on September 27, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    @ Boll . . . Interesting point to be noted - People have spoken a lot about Kallis but have forgotten his fellow South African, Shaun Pollock. Apart from the excellent batting / bowling record, he has also captained SAF in 26 tests, winning 14, with a success rate of over 50% . . . Like most of his fellow South Africans, he has not received his due.

    South Africans have produced excellent match winners, but none of them have hogged the limelight as much as occasional performers (Like Ind & Eng.

    Pollock may not quite belong to the Flintoff league, but he is a poor man's Flintoff (and a more consistent bowler. And he definitely did not have the hero worship of Freddie/Kapil, but in the end he achieved as much (or even more). He also took captaincy well, till infamous WC2003 debacle.

    To me, he may not be a legend, but definitely an ALL TIME GREAT [[ Poor man's Flintoff. No, sir. He was a poor man's Botham. He and Flintoff could both lay claim to that sobriquet. Now, Broad may be a poor man's Flintoff. Ananth: ]]

  • Mark on September 27, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    My Post that was sent prev. was not received correctly, I used all 1000 char. it, maybe, was the problem... O.K. -3 Criteria, for the 3 Types of A/R's being.... the "top5" batting A/R; 1/ RPI's > than 40, 2/ Bowled in 75% of matches played, 3/ Bowl ave. < than 45 + Min. 0.5 Wkt per match.... the "6" genuine A/R; 1/ RPI's > than 33, 2/ Bowled in 90% of matches played, 3/ Bowl ave. < than 40 + Min. 1 Wkt per match.... the "7or8" bowling A/R; 1/ RPM > than 30, 2/ Bowled in 150% of matches played, 3/ Bowl ave. < than 35 + Min. 2 Wkt per match.... -I hope that this analysis or something along this line, will uncover more than the usual suspects!

  • Darren Lucas on November 26, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Hello, not related to article, just musing... was wondering about a rating system for allrounders... take every player as an allrounder... rate the batting, bowling, fielding across all in groups as you have done so well and then use that score weighted (ah there is the rub!) anyway... say average batting score is 28, allrounder x's score is 35 so = +7, the bowling score across the group is 28 say, but allrounder x'x is 35 = -7 so they rate 0, then add the fielding depending how it is scored... say they score 26 and avg across group is say 28 they are -2 overall (for an average allrounder as an example) i will try and play with your lists to see if i can crystalize this idea somewhat [[ So much time has passed that I have to do some work before relating to this comment. Will do. Ananth: ]]

    oh and i think the comment on Chris Cairns is deserved, he was as good as Flintoff for example, with that fierce determination to take hold of the game no matter what the scoreline might say despite not the best looking stats he was always tough on the Aussies (when fit) during a strong period for them

  • RANGArajan on October 31, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    A pretty late entry but suddenly remembered about a forgotten allrounder - Chris Cairns: One of the last few greates who never achieved what he should have. [[ If you go back to the BCG charts, Cairns stands quite tall there. Ananth: ]]

    From a nation of under-achievers, Cairns stood out with both bat and ball (fielding for NZ is a hygiene factor - Boycott's mom from NZ would match our best fielders in the world) . . . His records are comparable to the best in business and has done well when it matters . . . Of course, injuries did hamper his bowling after 2005, but he still has close to 3.5 wkts per test which is what some leading bowlers managed to, during their entire careers (And he has an entry into this list as well) . . . He deserves a bit more accolades than he actually managed to get in the end

  • Boll on September 30, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Based on the bat ave/bowl ave. ratio , here are the Top 10, qualification 1000runs/100wickets

    1. Kallis 1.79 2. Sobers 1.70 3. Imran 1.65 4. Miller 1.61 5. Pollock 1.40 6. Goddard 1.31 7. Greig 1.26 8. Hadlee 1.22 9. Noble 1.21 10. Botham 1.18

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 30, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Boll - On all rounders against Windies: surprise again - Kapil shone less with the bat than i thought, and more with the ball.In the period 1979-1989 (full strength Windies only, not Kalli's teams)

    Name; tests; runs / test; batting avg; wickets/test; bowl avg Kapil; 19; 39.5; 25.21; 3.8; 22.98 Botham; 19; 39.8; 21.02; 3.1; 35.84 Hadlee; 10; 38.9; 32.41; 5.1; 22.03 Imran; 10; 40.9; 27.26; 5.1; 16.68

    So barring Botham, the other three all gave a hard time to the West Indies. Hadlee and Imran clearly raised their game against the best of the best...

  • Boll on September 29, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    @shrikanthk. Yep, obviously the batting average-bowling average metric is a fairly crude instrument, and I would agree with Ananth that the ratio is a fairer, although far from foolproof, measure.

  • Mark on September 28, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    -All-Rounder Qualifications- Post 1920; :Min. of 15 Games played :Must have played Home & Away

    Batting top5 :Must’ve Bowled in 75% of Matches played. :Bowl Ave. Less than 45 + Min. 0.5 Wkt per Match. :Runs per Test Innings Greater than 40 Ave.

    Batting 6 :Must’ve Bowled in 90% of Matches played. :Bowl Ave. Less than 40 + Min. 1 Wkt per Match. :Runs per Test Innings Greater than 33 Ave.

    Batting 7or8 :Must’ve Bowled in no. 150% of the no. of Matches played. :Bowl Ave. Less than 35 + Min. 2 Wkts?per Match. :Runs per Test Match Greater than 30.

  • arch on September 27, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    Pollock: poor man's Proctor. Now that was a player! Too bad we will never know exactly how great he was.

  • RANGArajan on September 27, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Due apologies and thanks for the correction!!! My expression (Poor Man's Flintoff) typifies the recognition received by SAF cricketers!! They have beaten all teams in their backyards but yet, were never considered as world beaters / all time great teams!!!

    One most important aspect of Pollock is his aggression not crossing the line - The way he conducted himself with decorum, befitting the great man he was. Interestingly, he still has an entry into this list just once.

  • RANGArajan on September 27, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    @ Boll . . . Interesting point to be noted - People have spoken a lot about Kallis but have forgotten his fellow South African, Shaun Pollock. Apart from the excellent batting / bowling record, he has also captained SAF in 26 tests, winning 14, with a success rate of over 50% . . . Like most of his fellow South Africans, he has not received his due.

    South Africans have produced excellent match winners, but none of them have hogged the limelight as much as occasional performers (Like Ind & Eng.

    Pollock may not quite belong to the Flintoff league, but he is a poor man's Flintoff (and a more consistent bowler. And he definitely did not have the hero worship of Freddie/Kapil, but in the end he achieved as much (or even more). He also took captaincy well, till infamous WC2003 debacle.

    To me, he may not be a legend, but definitely an ALL TIME GREAT [[ Poor man's Flintoff. No, sir. He was a poor man's Botham. He and Flintoff could both lay claim to that sobriquet. Now, Broad may be a poor man's Flintoff. Ananth: ]]

  • Mark on September 27, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    My Post that was sent prev. was not received correctly, I used all 1000 char. it, maybe, was the problem... O.K. -3 Criteria, for the 3 Types of A/R's being.... the "top5" batting A/R; 1/ RPI's > than 40, 2/ Bowled in 75% of matches played, 3/ Bowl ave. < than 45 + Min. 0.5 Wkt per match.... the "6" genuine A/R; 1/ RPI's > than 33, 2/ Bowled in 90% of matches played, 3/ Bowl ave. < than 40 + Min. 1 Wkt per match.... the "7or8" bowling A/R; 1/ RPM > than 30, 2/ Bowled in 150% of matches played, 3/ Bowl ave. < than 35 + Min. 2 Wkt per match.... -I hope that this analysis or something along this line, will uncover more than the usual suspects!

  • shrikanthk on September 27, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    Here are the Top 10 with the biggest difference between batting and bowling average...

    Boll: This whole idea of evaluating all-rounders by examining the difference between their batting average and bowling average is somewhat flawed.

    Why? Because this metric quite naturally gives batting all-rounders an edge! If you're a bowling all-rounder (with batting avg LT 35), no matter how good you are as a bowler, the difference in the averages cannot be too high, since bowling averages generally have a floor of around 20.

    On the other hand, batting all-rounders fare better on this metric since the ceiling on the batting average is a lot higher. It can go as high as 55-60.

    No wonder Kallis and Sobers are on top using this particular metric.

    Ofcourse, I am not contending your view that Kapil may not have been among the top half-a-dozen all-rounders in history. But I wouldn't be looking at the difference in batting and bowling averages to make that point. [[ Boll/Shri I have used both BattingAvge - BowlingAvge and BattingAvge/BowlingAvge. The later one, the ratio, seems to work out better as it reduces the bias towards batting all-rounders. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 26, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    @Gerry, very fair point about Kapil`s performances against the Windies, perhaps particularly his batting.

  • Boll on September 26, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Just for the record, I thought I might have look through the 54 men who have taken more than 100 wickets and scored more than 1000 runs - not quite a parallel with this series-focused article, but informative nonetheless.

    Here are the Top 10 with the biggest difference between batting and bowling average...

    1. Kallis (plus)25.42 2. Sobers 23.75 3. Imran 14.88 4. K.Miller 14.00 5. S.Pollock 9.20 6. TL Goddard 8.24 7. AW(Tony)Greig 8.23 8. MA Noble 5.25 9. Botham 5.14 10. RJ Hadlee 4.87 ... 14. Kapil Dev 1.51

    To be fair, only 3 of the 54 have scored more runs than Kapil, only 3 have taken more wickets, and only 4 have played more tests.

    Only 4 players have both better bowling and batting averages than Kapil.

    Still, we haven`t heard a peep from fans of a player such as Shaun Pollock, barely mentioned here, who averaged more than Kapil with the bat and 6 runs per wicket less with the ball...let alone Imran fans (7 more with bat, 7 less with ball). [[ Kapil 5248 @ 31.05 and 434 @ 29.65 Pollock 3781 @ 32.32 and 421 @ 23.12. Granted Pollock bowled on seamer-friendly teracks, but Kapil batted on batsman-friendly tracks. If nothing else they are comparable. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 26, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    cont`d...however, as Vinish notes `Ananth’s space and the data in this post is based on some facts` - generally how many runs or wickets at whatever average. Woodfull was the Australian hero of Bodyline; Arjuna put Sri Lankan cricket on the map; Border dragged Australian cricket out of the doldrums; and Kapil gave India the confidence to believe. These memories are as much a part of cricketing folklore as Bradman`s runscoring, Sober`s genius or Marshall`s dominance. So what if there have been better openers than Woodfull, better middle-order bats than Arjuna or Border, better all-rounders than Kapil. They all made an indelible mark on the game.

    What continues to annoy me though is the suggestion that these articles are written with the specific intention of denigrating a particular player. It is simply arrogant to assume that individual significance to a national team equates to international individual superiority.

  • Boll on September 26, 2011, 14:19 GMT

    I think Vinish makes some very relevant points there, particularly re. the importance/contribution of some players `beyond all statistics`. Strangely enough, in an analysis of test matches, many of those greats have contributed significantly in the one-day arena, and I think specifically of the captains who led teams to World Cup victories between the 2 great dynasties - the West Indies (1975-1979, final in 1983) and Australia (final in 1996, 1999-2007). Those captains were of course Kapil, Border, Imran and Arjuna (Aravinda). Each of them, for different reasons, made lasting and unforgettable contributions to cricket in their homeland.

    Above all of them though I would place Sir Frank Worrell, the first Black Captain, who forever changed the face of West Indian cricket, and in every country in which his team toured.

  • arch on September 26, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    We all have our disappointments but that is no reason to accuse Ananth of bias. It just means that the numbers stack up that way.

    I have found this series of articles to be the most insightful, honest and introspective grouping on cricket history. Rather than gripe, we should appreciate the excellence of all these players on whom the spotlight shines. I know now, for example, how much of an impact player Flintoff was; I had no idea.

    Let us not sour this with either our prejudices, nor lump them on Ananth. [[ Thanks, Arch. These mean a lot to me. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on September 26, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    I understand the feelings of Kapil supporters. The fact is that he was one of the *heroes* who put Indian fast bowling on world map. There are some players whom we just love beyond all statistics. As a cricketer, Kapil had some unique qualities, most notably the *never-say-die* spirit which was missing in many cricketers of his generation. [[ Vinish, The funny thing is that these few readers have not understood that I personally think that Kapil Dev has contributed most, in terms, of performances, fitness regime, on-field-inspiration, the WC triumph et al, towards Indian Cricket than any one else, SRT/SMG included. Ananth: ]]

    But Anand’s space and the data in this post is based on some facts. Lets not accuse Ananth of being biased, if we see some players (or we do not see some players), it is because they make it (or do not make it) based on those stats. Nowhere it means that the missing players are less lovable, or were lesser players. I know many genuine fans who love MWaugh more than SWaugh, for the sheer delight though statistically, SWaugh was ahead. Let us separate the *emotional reasons* to love a player from the *statistical reason*.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 26, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    Haryana Hurricane, i am surprised at your comments. most of these articles have followed in a set sequence, with the conclusions of one article often flowing into another as inputs. E.g. the team strength analysis, which rated the 2005 Australian team as the strongest, Batsmen across bowler groups across ages. etc. These are some of the most important analyses ever done in cricket by anyone, and will not be forgotten for a long long time by most serious readers. In fact, bowler groups and BQI have become part of my thinking thanks to Ananth's articles. While Ananth is indeed opinionated, i am not sure that colors the analysis at all. The fact that the cut off points are not disputed or debated shows that Ananth's judgement is generally considered good enough, and if one feels very strongly about a particular cut-off, it does get debated, and woven into the next analysis. So perhaps Ananth (and his readers) are not so arbitrary after all... [[ Thank you, Gerry. The two defences of me, one from remote Japan and the other from nearby Mumbai, have certainly made my day, and probably week. Ananth: ]]

  • Mark on September 26, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Anath, Following on from my earlier comments, Another requirement might be, must have played both Home & Away, also a Min.no. of games, 15. The previous criteria given would have to be post 1920. Other criteria would have to be considered for the 1877-1914 period...(I have suggestions there) -In looking up Australian players, J.Ryder would meet the criteria of "top5" a/r. also S.McCabe, R.Cowper & B.Simpson! I noticed also that K.Dev, R,Hadlee & V.Mankad qual. as "7or8" a/r's!! G.Sobers qual's in all 3(the only 1)!! The "6" a/r criteria might need to be 1.5 wkt's per Match Min. But that would exclude J.R.Reid.. -Anyhow, this certainly lifts their importance (or their strength of play) in my notebook. -The quality of such players in this analysis would be Noteworthy!

  • Mark on September 26, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    I'm interested that you are considering a re-qualifying criteria for an all-rounder article, after previously not considering "batting strong" a/r's. How about, when selecting a team, modern day or not, all-time, country or era! that 3 a/r's are selected, besides W/K;s. -An a/r batting, "top5", "6" & "7or8",(depending on w/k'ing strength). O.K. The 3 criteria for the 3 a/r's being.... firstly the "top5" batting a/r; 1/ RPI's > than 40. 2/ Bowled in 75% of matches played in. 3/ Bowl ave. < than 45 & Min. 0.5 wkt per match played.... secondly the "6" true a/r; 1/ RPI's > than 33. 2/ Bowled in 90% of matches played in. 3/ Bowl ave. < than 40 & Min. 1 wkt per match played.... thirdly the '7or8" bowling a/r; 1/ RPM > than 30. 2/ Bowled in 150% of matches played in. 3/ Bowl ave. < than 35 & Min. 2 wkt's per match!!! -It,(the criteria) may seem slightly weak (I'm sure it will to you Anath, but Cricket is a team game & Bowlers Win Matches. Extra Bowling options, without losing any batting = ?

  • Haryana Hurricane on September 25, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    I am sure Anantha you do realize that your opinion colors your analysis quite a bit; it shows probably in the form of arbitrary cut-off points that you choose—most of the work that you do (those hundreds of articles as you refer to) is like 20/20 stats, no one remembers it after a time. Kapil Dev's work and spirit will live forever, yours will not be remembered even for a week.

    Just thought will provide you some honest perspective. [[ You are perfectlty correct. In the eyes and minds of the follower, Kapil's 175 will live forever, my articles will live for a month and your comment will live for 5 minutes. That is the way it should be. No analytical article remains forever. On the other hand Ray Robinson's article on McCabe's innings or Fingleton's on Bradman or one by Neville Cardus on Laker would remain forever. As far as the arbitrariness of the cut-offs are concerned, it is in the eyes of the beholder. If you (amongst 3% of the commenters) feel that Kapil's performances are excluded, you will term the cut-offs arbitrary. 97% of the readers would feel that the cut-offs are fair. They would also understand that the cut-offs are kept high not to exclude Kapil but to exclude Warne, Vaas and such pseudo all-rounders.. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 25, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    Ananth, have you done a "streak" analysis for all-rounders? Say a 50 innings (or since all rounders do batting and bowling) a 35 test streak? if not then that would be my recommendation for the next entry into your list of projects to do... [[ Good idea. Now I am adept at doing the streak work. It is also something the traditional statistical analyses do not give. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 24, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    Ananth -

    I'd have - - Rhodes (particularly for his opening ability) - Proctor (better bowler than Kapil, Botham) - Shaun Pollock or Tony Greig (depending on what seems more needed - bowling and batting)

    Lindwall, Botham and Kapil getting the axe.

    @whoever-considers-the-point-important - Blaming Ananth for Kapil Dev (or anyone else) not making the lists is like blaming whoever invented the number system based on 10 numerals for Shane Warne having never made a century.

  • Alex-alt on September 24, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    On the subject of Flintoff, there are the people that judge his career as a whole and people that single out a series or two, neither of which is really fair. Statistics don't tell the whole story but they don't lie either, you just need to put them into context

    Andrew Flintoff during his fit(he was never really fit at all but there weren't as many injuries between 2003-2007) period (let's say between 2003 and 2007 World cups) played 44 matches, took 164 wickets at an average of 29 with a strike rate of 57, and made 2738 runs at 38~39 including 22 50s and 4 tons, the fact he only took 2 5/ innings isn't a freak of nature nor does it illustrate a lack of ability or endurance(I can think of at least twice where he has bowled unchanged through an entire session... admittedly both of those innings he took 5/) all that figure says is that he spent most of his career as a member of a 5 man bowling attack.

    if he had been a bit thinner he may have been less injury prone and still be playing. [[ There uis no doubt that Flintoff was a match winner. His role in the 2005 win, a tight series, can never be forgotten by anyone in a hurry.I am not a great fan of giving addl weight to 5-wkt hauls or 100s. 4 for xx or a 95 might be more valuable than 5 for xx or 105. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on September 24, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    I look forward to the updated analyses, and I guess it should be two articles: one for allrounders and one for pure impact irrespective of discipline or cutoffs, as that will be utterly fascinating.

    But a few things struck me as possible caveats in the upcoming analyses: how does one measure the bowling workload of a fast bowler versus a spinner? Fast bowlers are a different breed altogether, and rip roaring fast bowlers suffer greater. Maybe the strike rate comes into play? Second, does a smaller bowling workload indicate a great strike bowler or a limited one?

  • ICF_Lurker on September 23, 2011, 20:00 GMT

    @ Ananth. The question remains as to when statisticians became Analysts. Most statisticians stick with number crunching and leave the decision to those who need to take the decision. Personally I have seen a tacid development of you moving from number crunching to self proclaimed expert, maybe you can revisit your old blogs and see if it is apparent to you too.

    With regards to Kapil Dev, I would be very interested to find a few articles from you where you have shown him in good light. Somehow you always end up picking a bone against him. Again, check your past blogs and you would know what I mean. [[ I get these short messages often. The gist of one was more or less "If you have to prove your sincerity to someone, don't do it. It is not worth the effort". Very true. Not even to a Wichita-based cricket follower. Ananth: ]]

    As for people reading what they would like to, I completely agree with that. Its a free (cyber)world.

  • Ruchir on September 23, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    I think Boll's list of 10 all-rounders needs to be expanded by 1 to make it a proper cricket 11. My nomination is the great Vinoo Mankad

    3.7 wickets and 56 overs per match 48 runs per match, avg position 3.6

    56 overs is an unbelievable workload esp. if you consider that he opened the batting in about half of his innings. A true jack of all trades

  • pxm1969 on September 23, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    Is there a chance that basing your criteria on the number of tests in the series rather than on the number of innings played could be a little unfair?

    As an example, consider Mat Prior in the 2010/2011 Ashes - he only batted 6 times but scored 252 runs at an average of better than 50, and picked up 23 catches as well. Had it been a three match series (with the same number of opportunities for him to bat) he would have been high up in your list. He misses out because England's dominance of the series restricted him to 6 innings in 5 matches.

    I'm sure there are other examples (Shane Warne, for instance, must have often missed chances to bat) [[ The problem with innings is what to do with bowling. If a bowler nbowls 8 overs is it a spell. A test is a good basis. Ananth: ]]

  • ICF_Lurker on September 23, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    @Boll.

    Cricket does not work on ifs and buts. If Kapil would have played for Australia he may have ended with more wickets in lesser tests. He played all his life on Indian wickets with no support at all. Please feel free to field a Lillee, a Mcgrath, a Thomson with Kapil and then question his credentials. As for Botham he played with Willis, Old and many others who were miles better than Madan lal. Same with Imran and even Hadlee.My point is not to start an all-rounder war, but to look at stats meaningfully.

    With regards to Ananth, my point remains, he should stick to number crunching and arriving at some conclusion from it, instead of analysing player A vs B when he starts losing his unbiasedness. [[ I am not sure whether you are someone new or you have come before and are coming now with a different name. There are many who have followed this blog for years.The majority of my readers know that I may have my preferences but my analyses are not biased. One reason why I continue to have my core readers. I will continue to express my opinions and will ensure that these do not colour my analysis. Afterwards it is the individual's discretion whether to continue to visit this blogspace or not. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on September 23, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Ananth - Reg both your comments in bold - I dont think you need to refine the eligibility criteria. I am rather new to your blogs but till date, I have not seen an article that says "X is better than Y". All that you have done is to put forward numbers with a different perspective.

    Your articles are one of the very very few "non opinionated" articles. There is no end to that. I would think Manoj Prabhakar is a better allrounder than Paul Collingwood and hence to include MP, I would start filtering out matches where he bowled more than 25 overs and say he averaged 5 wickets per test.There is no end to it. To me, the success of your articles are its unbiased, plain and straightforward honesty.

    If readers feel you have to include Kapil or Kallis, I would say have a different blog - may be on "workhorses" and include Kapil, Walsh, Lance Gibbs and so on and say how valuable Kapil was instead of saying Kapil was more valuable than Y

  • SR on September 23, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    Nice article. Good to see the impact of Gilchrist being recognized. The trinity of McGrath (who I feel is the most underrated cricketer of the past two decades), Warne and Gilchrist along with the aggressive captaincy of S.Waugh led to probably the greatest Team ever and definitely the most exciting team. Having Gilchrist at 7 gave Hayden, Langer and Ponting the freedom to play aggressively knowing that he was there to bail them out. The number of times he has turned a 150/5 to 450 all out is amazing.

    Also, on topic, how about Warwick Armstrong in 1907/08

    5M 410R 133*Hs 45.55Avg 14W 3/53BB 25.78Avg

  • Ruchir on September 23, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    Having started seriously following cricket in the early 90s, my opinion of Kapil has been (unfortunately) colored by his last 2 years where he inched towards his record (12 matches - 24 wickets in 93 and 94) Nothing frustrated me more than the fact that Srinath was out of the test team in those 2 years especially when India played at home. Here was someone bowling in the high 140s, probably the first Indian bowler to put thoughts of personal safety in the minds of opposing batsmen and he was out of the team (even when he played in away matches, he would come in first change)

    Having said that, Kapil is definitely a great all rounder. when you compare his impact against Botham, one thing to realise is that Kapil's impact on Indian cricket goes way beyond numbers. He made seam bowling fashionable in India. India always had great batsmen and slow bowlers but before Kapil, you probably have to go way back to Nissar in the seam bowling department

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 23, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    Boll, well said. However,

    1) Botham even apart from the 1980 and 1981 series, when he was burdened by captaincy for which he was, at any rate at age 25, ill suited, was repeatedly roughed up by West Indies. He declined rapidly after 1981 as a bowler, in consistency more than in skill, and showed enough flashes of brilliance against West Indies in 1984 (8/103 at Lords). But as a batsman, he faltered throughout England's 10-0 beating.

    2) Kapil Dev hammered the full strength West Indies for a 100*, 98, then won the World Cup, then took 29 wickets in 6 tests including a 9/83, then scored a 104 in 1986-87, took a hatful of wickets an an excellent average in 1989 in a 3-0 beating at the hands of West Indies.

    West Indies will remain for long as the gold standard opposition in batting or bowling across ages. Those who played with distinction against them (Lillee, Chappell, Gavaskar, Imran, Gooch, Kapil etc.) deserve to be applauded for that.

  • Ananth on September 23, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    To all readers In my 300 articles I have never, barring once, set out to deliberately push up one person or pull down one person. It will also never happen in future. The dice falls in one way and I have built my articles around the fall and have provided explanations. Without fail, I have accepted any errors pointed out without papering the cracks. The only time I have deliberately set out to push up one guy was in the "Worst batsmen in Test Cricket" article. In deference to my Kiwi friends and my own preferences, I tried my best to make Chris Martin the worst batsmen who ever picked up a bat. Unfortunately whatever I did, however I fudged figures, I could not do it. Our dear Zimbabwean, Pommie Mbangwa, would not budge from that exalted position. I published as such and I can still feel the anguish let out by many a Kiwi reader. That is the only one time. I am reminded of the "Fawlty Towers" one-liner. When someone says "This is the worst hotel in Britian", the Major pushes his chest forward and says "No way, I know of a hotel in Torquay !!!". Probably the one in which Cleese stayed and got the idea for the series.

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    @Ananth. I`m not sure too much needs changing re.qualifying criteria, although your suggestion to `re-do the qualifying criteria, allowing for shortfalls in one to be compensated by the other and incorporating the bowling workload and even batting workload and keeping workload (balls bowled/faced/kept)` would be interesting.

    I think the players who batted in the middle-order (Kallis, Sobers, Miller) were there for a reason - they were better batsman than those who usually batted at 7/8 (Hadlee, Akram, Kapil). Not only runs per test, but batting averages bear this out.

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    @Naikan, re.`After all when you compare the career data of Kapil and Botham (who figures extensively in the lists) they are not too far apart.` True to some extent, and Kapil played 30 more tests, which is a feat in itself. However, based on averages/impact Botham is a fair way ahead in a analysis of this type.

    Per test...

    Botham: 51 runs, 3.8 wickets, 1.2 catches Kapil: 40 runs, 3.3 wickets, 0.5 catches

    Overall...

    Botham: Batting average: 33.5 Kapil: Batting average: 31.0

    Botham: Bowling average: 28.4 Kapil: Bowling average: 29.6

    Botham : Century every 7.3 tests Kapil: Century every 16.4 tests

    Botham: 5 wickets/innings every 3.8 tests Kapil: 5 wickets/innings every 5.7 tests

    Sure Botham had his failures, but I think people tend to forget his stunning brilliance. Kapil was darn good himself, but loses out here convincingly on every measure. How dare Ananth contrive such a thing!? [[ Warms the cockles of my heart to be defended by an Australian, probably over 20 years my junior, teaching English in a small Japanese town. Thank you, Boll. May your tribe flourish. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    @ICF_Lurker. Ananth is more than capable of defending himself, but I`d like to add my 2 cents worth to your comments. Ananth`s modus operandi has always been statistics/statistical analysis/discussion/opinion. Why you feel this is somehow inappropriate, or why analysts are `typically biased` is beyond me. I presume `the usual suspect` is Sobers. How this analysis is an obvious attempt to `deride` anyone is also difficult to justify. Kapil played in 31 series of 3 tests or more, Sobers/Botham only 21, Miller 11 - plenty of chances, deal with it.

    As to when Kapil should have retired, I can only say that NO Australian team would ever have allowed a player to continue with the obvious and stated reason as `the pursuit of an individual record`. I think many people would agree that he did his team and himself a disservice by continuing until, and only until, he had achieved a personal milestone. [[ ICF/Boll: Pl see my separate response. Ananth: ]]

  • Vish on September 23, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    Hats off to Ananth for some outstanding analysis. His willingness to be introspective is refreshing.

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    Thought I might as well have a look at some of the keepers (only in tests where they played as designated keeper). Based on runs per tests, (also included batting average in those tests, because in some case it differs significantly from the overall average), and dismissals per test.

    1. A. Flower, 80 runs per test (average 54), 2.7 dismissals per test. 2. Sanga, 65 (at 40), 3.0 3. Gilchrist, 58 (at 48), 4.3 4. Haddin, 57 (at 38), 3.7 5. Stewart, 55 (at 35), 2.9 6. Knott, 46 (at 33), 2.8 7. Dujon, 40 (at 31), 3.4 8. Jacobs, 40 (at 28), 3.4 9. Marsh, 38 (at 27), 3.7 10. Healy, 37 (at 27), 3.3

  • Ananth on September 23, 2011, 2:51 GMT

    Boll has provided some fine insights recently. My thanks to him. These numbers makes me think that I must re-visit the Series-AllRounder analysis with a different look, in the future. This time I had, for a start, looked at raw runs and wickets. However all-rounders like Hadlee, Akram, Kapil suffered a bit because they fell short on the batting front. Maybe I should re-do the qualifying crireia, allowing for shortfalls in one to be compensated by the other and incorporating the bowling workload and even batting workload and keeping workload (balls bowled/faced/kept). My next article is scheduled for 1 Oct. That is going to be a definitive one, based on the recent Series-Team analysis. That will put to rest the question on strong teams once and for all. So there is a week for readers to come in with their suggestions. Ananth

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    @Ananth - ah, could have saved myself the trouble if I`d gone back and checked! I think Sobers was the only player here who had opened (once) so no worries there. Yes, Miller quite high, but these stats correct I think ( 11 innings at No.3, 17 at 4, 52 at 5, 3 at 6, and 4 at 7) - a classic No.5 batsman I suppose.

    I suppose we can separate these players out re.batting position as follows.

    No.4 - Kallis No.5 - Sobers, Miller No.6 - Botham, Gregory No.6/7 - Flintoff No.7 - Imran, Kapil No.8 - Hadlee, Akram

    As you say, not surprisingly, those who usually batted at 7 and 8 averaged less runs per test, and were less likely to appear in your list of top all-round series performances.

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    For the same 10 players I also looked at average wickets per test, and again just out of interest (raised by shrikanthk earlier) average number of overs(6 balls) per test (overs recalculated for those who played in 8 ball over tests).

    1. Hadlee, 5.1 wickets per match, 39 overs per match 2. Imran, 4.1 (37) 3. Akram, 4.0 (36) 4. Botham, 3.8 (36) 5. Gregory, 3.5 (39) 6. Kapil, 3.3 (35) 7. Miller, 3.1 (32) 8. Flintoff, 2.9 (32) 9. Sobers, 2.5 (39) 10. Kallis, 1.9 (21)

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    I`ve had a look at 10 of the players mentioned here (some of the best performed re. this criteria and some notable omissions). Since we`re looking at aggregates, I looked at runs per test, and just out of interest, average batting position. I calculated this simply by multiplying number of innings played in a position by that position number, adding together and dividing by number of innings played. (so a player who played 10 times at No.5 and 10 times at 6, would have an average position of 5.5). [[ That is the BPI I had worked out in the Batting Position Analysis I had done couple of years back. Just for interest the opening positions could be 1-1 or 1.5-1.5 or 2-2. Ananth: ]]

    1. Sobers, 86 runs per test, average position 5.1 2. Kallis, 82 (3.8) 3. Miller, 54 (4.7) 4. Botham, 51 (6.2) 5. Flintoff, 49 (6.5) 6. Jack Gregory, 48 (6.3) 7. Imran, 43 (7.1) 8. Kapil, 40 (7.2) 9. Hadlee, 36 (7.8) 10. Wasim Akram, 28 (8.1) [[ Miller's number seems unusually high. The last four tended to bat at 7 or afterwards.So they might certainly have missed out scoring runs. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    @Naikan. I think, particularly in individual series, averages can be misleading. 170 runs at 170 in a 6-test series is obviously less dominant than 600 runs at 50. Similarly with bowling. Hussey`s 2 wickets at 3.5 in the recent series, is far less important than Herath`s 16 at 23.

    I thought it might be interesting (After your comment about Kapil/Dev) to have a look at where these all-rounders usually batted. Obviously those who batted higher in the order had greater chances to score more runs - perhaps a reason why Kapil rarely makes the runs aggregate cut-off. I`ll look into it.

  • Boll on September 23, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    @Alan Richards/Chetan. Love to see the simulated series as well. Players such as Akram (and probably)Lindwall are a little hard to judge - possibly neither quite makes the cut batting-wise to be judged a true all-rounder. Nevertheless, particularly in Akram`s case, I think BOTH teams would like to have him. I agree with Anand`s comments, if I was picking a World XI I wouldn`t be worrying to much about all-round skills (apart from fielding), I`d go for the 6 best bats, best keeper, 4 best bowlers. Of course, players such as Sobers (bat), Imran (ball) and Hadlee (ball) might make the grade regardless. I agree with Ananth, that the specialists would win pretty comfortably.

  • Boll on September 22, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    @chetan. I can certainly see why you might choose Murali over Warne, although I`m not sure I agree with your assessment/reasons for doing so. Yes, Warne took most wickets against England (195 in 36 tests), South Africa (130 in 24 tests), and New Zealand (103 in 20 tests) in no small part because these were the 3 countries he played against most often - hardly a point worthy of criticicsm. While his struggles against India are well documented, his performances against Sri Lanka (59 wickets at 25) and particularly Pakistan (90 wickets in 15 matches at 20, SR.45) don`t suggest they negotiated him competently at all. Of course Murali also had difficulties with certain teams/in various conditions. He averaged 36 against Aus (75 in Aus), and 32 vs India (45 in India). So, choose Murali by all means, but not wthout a more balanced appraisal. [[ I thjink Murali-Warne is 51-49 or 49-51 whicever way you look at. Playing both would be wonderful. It would be 100-0. Ananth: ]]

  • ICF_Lurker on September 22, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    Anath Narayan has increasingly changed from number cruncher to an opinionated person. Nothing wrong with being Analytical except Analysts are typically biased, which clearly shows in Ananth trying to uphold the usual suspect while deriding Kapil Dev all the time. Of course Ananth thinks he is doing the right thing, fact is he has always been biased. Keep to number crunching Ananth, dont bother with passing analysis as to when Kapil should have retired...or not. [[ Over the past 7 years I have done over 300 articles for Thirdlsip.com, Cricinfo and CastrolCricket. I cannot just be a number-cruncher then. My opinions have to come out sometimes. Anyhow when people have problems with my opinions, which I have every right to have, I give them the respect by answering such objections. Kapil's only mistake in his wonderful career was the period of last 15 Tests when he dawdled in search of 433. Even his most ardent supporter should realize this. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the old one) on September 22, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    Off topic,

    In checking the future tours program, it appears that India will be playing just 4 Tests (in Australia) in the next 8 months.

    Is this correct? If so, the careers of Dravid and Tendulkar probably will have just 4 more Tests added to them. [[ I get the feeling they will play on until end of 2012. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 22, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    I've also toyed with the idea of a "Specialists" vs "Allrounders" series in my free time.

    @Ananth, regarding your selections -

    - its hard to justify Lindwall being "allrounder" while Wasim Akram is a "specialist"

    - personally, I'd exclude Knott on the grounds that he might be said to have been "expected to score runs", thus making him more an allrounder. Maybe somebody like Wasim Bari - no pushover with the bat but not "expected" to do much with it either - is a fairer choice for "specialist" keeper.

    - think I'd throw Wilfred Rhodes into the allrounders team as genuine opening bat, along with Mankad.

    Thoughts? [[ Rhodesi has better numbers than Vettori. It is difficult to find a candidate for dropping. Mankad and Sobers are sufficient to take care of spin.. Ananth: ]]

  • Kirthivasan on September 22, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    An unsophisticated nerd uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than for illumination. Though Ananths intention is not to belittle the great allrounders like Paaji, this article psychologically urges one to think that way. This is the strength and the weakness of Statistics Long live Paaji [[ I don't fully understand your comments. However one thing should be understood. This is not a statistical analysis at all. It is a 100% non-statistical analysis defining minimum criteria for different types of series and listing all-rounders who cleared twin bars. Kapil Dev did not do that often. That is all. Kallis also did not clear that too often. Might also be an indicator that these two all-rounders were more consistent in their all-round efforts than others who might have had peaks and troughs. Ananth: ]]

  • chetan on September 22, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    Wasim Akram, should be an all-rounder, not specialist. Whereas I have no dispute with you on the 1st 7, my bowling attack would read - Holding, Lillee, Marshall & Murali. The bulk of Warne's wickets have been against England, SA & NZ. India / Pak / SL have been able to negotiate him competently, often batter him and 3 of your allrounders are India / Pak.

  • Anand on September 22, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Ananth: Are you planning a similar article for ODIs? I agree with your intuition that specialists will beat allrounders 4-1. We need to read into the "all rounders" more carefully. While it would be wonderful to have someone who can bat as well as bowl, I am not really convinced it will "add balance" on all occasions. Like the WI of the 80s and Aussies of the noughties did not need all rounders because THE SPECIALISTS DID THEIR JOB. I would say all rounders become redundant when BOTH BATTING AND BOWLING ARE VERY STRONG INDIVIDUALLY. Teams like India and Pakistan in recent times have had one department strong while the other did not have any ability to shoulder responsibiities if the strong one fails. Such teams need all rounders to add balance. England did not win against INdia because of their all rounder balance. It had more to do with the fact that they had superior bowlers, fielders and attitude (I still believe that Indian batsmen are better). [[ ODIs - Bilateral series leave me cold. Tournaments, probably yes. Ananth: ]]

  • Naikan on September 22, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    While I commend this extensive analysis of a rather difficult task, I was perplexed by the regular absence of Kapil Dev in most of the lists. After all when you compare the career data of Kapil and Botham (who figures extensively in the lists) they are not too far apart. Additionally Botham was part of a very strong seam / swing bowling combination operating usually in favourable conditions. Closer introspection shows some of the goal posts make a big difference. For one I felt there too much empasis on batting as vs on bowling. A good batting performance dictates the course of match less than a good bowling performance. Secondly using total runs rather than Average runs is a mistake. In some series Kapil had a high batting average with low total runs - did enough with the ball and supported well by the batsmen so he did not get to bat much. Lastly this statistial process cannot recognise the impact of some performances. For ex: Test 895 Kapil ousted Australia for 83 in 2nd ings. [[ A higher average only means that a batsman has remained not out more number of times. Especially with all-rounders who bat late in the order the average does not mean much. When we talk of the batting exploits of Dravid or Mike Hussey what do we say. One scored 461 runs in a tough series. What does it matter if his average was higher or lower by 10. Similarly Mike Hussey scored 463 runs in 3 Tests. Does it matter whether his average was 93 or 116. Runs are like gold. Like wickets. Ananth: ]]

  • Alan Richards on September 22, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    A marvellous article; thank you for doing the statistics. I'd love to see a series between the World XI and the XI Greatest Allrounders. Of course Sobers and Gilchrist would first have to decide which side they played on. Perhaps an analysis would show whether generalists beat specialists and jacks-of-all-trades overcome masters of one. [[ Alan A great idea. My Test simulation program has been in hibernation over the past 10 years since the tinme I did the Times Simulation work. I must resurrect it and get it going and then we could play a 5-Test series between the following two teams, Specialists vs All-rounders Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Lara Richards Tendulkar Knott Warne Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath vs Mankad Faulkner Sobers Kallis Miller Imran Khan Botham Gilchrist Kapil Dev Hadlee Lindwall. I feel the specialists will win 4-1. Ananth: ]]

  • ted on September 22, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    amazing list again.gilchrist his greatness as it my belief that he changed how cricket is played and changed the w/k position forever as every w/k has to bat simple.george griffenis interest i reccommend people look at his 1st class career aswell it is amazing and apparently didnt get along with all in the team

  • eran on September 22, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    Where is Great SANATH Jayasuriya???? Is something Wrong in CALCULATIONS????????????? [[ Jayasuriya as an all-rouder when he has captured 98 wickets in 110 matches, not even one wicket per Test. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 22, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Ananth, Lara, Pietersen and Botham were very impetuous characters, but Tendulkar was very sober, and had played for 7 years, and was around 26, so no problem in his case relating to being rushed into the job. Maradona was 25 when he led Argentina to the 1986 world cup victory.

  • RANGArajan on September 22, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    In the hindsight, captaincy skills are beyond the imagination of on-field exploits. Botham, SRT, Lara, etc demonstrated situational leadership at various times, in shouldering responsibilities, inspiring team during crunch matches prompting their elevation. But none of them were actual captaincy materials. Gifted people and Indispensable players seldom become good captains. Ricky Ponting could be an exception, but he was not indispensable.

    It is here that Imran's value as a player improves manifold, simply because he had to manage the egos of Miandad, Raw talents of Wasim, Waqar and inhuman expectations of Pak people - And most importantly - PERFORM with bat and ball. It has to be Gary Sobers and no one else, who can push Imran out of an allrounder's spot. I still feel Imran hasnt got his due as a performer . . . probably due to one and only Sir Gary, for which he has no option!!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 22, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    Waspsting, I am too lazy to look this up in cricinfo, but Botham's reputation of butchering weak sides existed two years after his debut also. Thereafter he put the record straight in the next 2 years. The three tests in Australia (mentioned now by Ananth in reader's list), the jubilee test v/s India (13 wickets and a century in a single match in India), the 1981 Ashes all came in quick succession. He did not assume captaincy responsibilities too well, else he may have provided a top class battle in 10 tests against West Indies during this time (the English management must have been incredibly daft to put a cricketer with 3 years exprience as captain in 10 successive tests against WI without any prior captaincy experience). [[ It is true that many a great player has been rushed into captaincy, blunting their outstanding skills. Botham, Tendulkar, Pietersen, Lara (to a lesser extent) are examples. Ananth: ]]

  • chris butters on September 21, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    Great stuff. I feel Kallis gets little attention here in relation to his stature as all rounder - being a long lasting great rather than spectacular during short periods. Botham for example was not much of a batsman for the first part of his career. Few of the best all rounders who were primarily bowlers (Botham, Kapil, Imran, Hadlee) have batting averages much above 30 - !! Of all the candidates, ONLY Sobers and Kallis have huge batting averages as well as a very large number of wickets! Though as all rounders I think wicketkeepers have to rate very highly. Kallis the best ever all rounder after Sobers? I think so. But then, I grew up in Capetown ...

  • Waspsting on September 21, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    @Ajinkya - worth noting that Botham's inspired performances in the lates 70s/early 80s mostly occurred against Packer weakened sides. That doesn't mean they weren't good performances, just not as good as they would have been if done against full strenght sides.

    When the Packer players returned, his success dwindled considerably (though he of course still had his moments, esp. the 81 series).

    The question is did this happen because he "lost his form"? or because he wasn't good enough to achieve such results against the highest level of competition in first place - i.e. - his level of play didn't change, the quality of the opposition did?

  • Waspsting on September 21, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    Ajinkya raises a point about fielding, which i think is very interesting.

    its hard enough being a quality batsman-bowler without being an expert fielder too, but i wonder what we'd find if we looked into fielding as well?

    Exercise would have to be subjective, since the objective measure (catches) doesn't apply equally to all fielders.

    Imran was possibly the WORST FIELDER i've ever seen. in the Tufnell league!

    Sobers and Miller both have good reputations as catchers, but at least in the case of Sobers, he dropped many, many catches. He dropped Gavaskar 3-4 times in SG's debut series, and a bundle in Australia in 68 (hard to imagine Mark Waugh or Brian Mcmillan doing that in a single series).

  • Ajinkya on September 21, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    In terms of pure matchwinning impact, few players come close to Botham at his peak in the late 70s and early 80s. The number of times he would come up with inspiring performances out of nowhere is amazing. Also, he was at his peak as both a batsman and a bowler at the same time. An excellent slip fielder to boot. Had he kept close to that level for the latter half of his career, he and not Sobers would have been called the greatest allrounder of all time, simply because Botham, unlike Sobers, was capable of winning matches with either ball or bat.

  • shrikanthk on September 21, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    One interesting fact that should add some light on the Sobers vs Kallis debate -

    Sobers bowled 21,599 deliveries over 159 innings in his career. That makes it 136 balls per innings! So, on an average, he bowled over 22 overs each time he took field! That's a LOT of bowling.

    Kallis, on the other hand, has bowled 18,337 deliveries over 240 innings in his career. Which translates to 76 balls per innings. A little over 12 overs.

    Kallis has a better bowling avg than Sobers. But that isn't saying much at all. Sobers bowled almost twice as much as Kallis, which implies that his importance to the side as a bowler was far greater than that of Kallis. It is also a commentary on the strength of the respective sides. Sobers played for a much weaker bowling side, and as a result had to shoulder a greater share of the bowling burden.

    One has to keep this in mind while evaluating Sobers as a cricketer.

  • Mark Kinzi on September 21, 2011, 0:02 GMT

    Article has showed its deficiency by not ranking Great Kallis, Great Kapil Dev and even Danielle Vettori—it shows methods are inefficient rather than assuming that these all-rounders were not good enough. [[ I don't think you guys read the article at all before rushing off with comments. If the great Kallis and great Kapil Dev and the great Vettori do not appear in the tables often it only means that they did not exceed the series performance criteria often enough. That is all. Who said this is a Rating list of all-rounders. You have come to the conclusion that I said these all-rounders are not good enough. Hialrious. Kindly re-read the article. Ananth: ]]

  • Hamid on September 20, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Imran Khan as a captain had a batting average of 50+ and a bowling average of 18 in over 50 test matches. Clearly, he developed into something exception, probably better than any allrounder ever.

  • Waspsting on September 20, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    @Ghalib - I agree with your mentioned threesome, and would like to throw in two "just missing" it.

    Mike Procter was one of the top bowlers in the world, and had potential with the bat. sadly, little scope to prove himself at test level.

    Aubrey Faulkner was the best leggie of his time, and averaged as high as the best in the world with the bat. Don't know as much about him as Sobers, Miller, Imran.

    @Deepanjan - while i would have Marshall in my world 11, I don't think he qualifies automatically quite like the other three players.

    put another way, its significantly more absurd to replace Bradman with Viv Richards than it is to replace Marshall with Lillee, Akram, Hadlee etc. [[ Very well made point. Ananth: ]]

    Re: Kallis... i think his situation is a bit like what Sobers' would have been like had Sobers played with the Holding, Roberts, Garner etc. he wouldn't been NEEDED, so wouldn't have performed as he has (batting alone, of course, could get either man into the side)

  • Sayem Khan on September 20, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    I think Sakib Al Hasan should be in the reckoning as well for Bangladesh vs West Indies 2009 series. He scored 159 runs in the series at an average of 53.00 and was Bangladesh's second highest run-scorer for the series;13 wickets at an average of 18.76 from both matches meant Shakib was the equal highest wicket-taker for the series along with West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach.

  • Deepanjan on September 19, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    Great analysis. Have been waiting for this. All told, this only elucidates one fact - if there are there are four automatic picks in any cricketing All Time XI, they must be:

    Don Bradman Garfield Sobers Adam Gilchrist Malcolm Marshall

    Other positions might have some debate. But these four were veritable alpha men in their bracket. As an allrounder Sobers is really incredible - he could make it in a team as a batsman, bowler or like Collingwood did, even as a fielder for all occasions. Imran would be next man, since his allround skills also include captaincy skills. [[ Your selections are right on the dot. The four select themselves. The other 7 could vary from person to person. Ananth: ]]

  • dale brown on September 19, 2011, 18:54 GMT

    It is quite simple : Pakistan did not require Imran to make a lot of runs because he batted low in the order. He also took a lot of wickets in low scoring matches which means that he himself did not make may runs. When he made runs , he did not take many wickets because it was a batting track or he simply did not bowl much.

  • arch on September 19, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    Well, I guess this series of articles is now building up to a point where you should be able to compare the performances of batsmen, bowlers, wicketkeepers and all rounders in a series to see the greatest impact a player had on a series, irrespective of cutoffs. You will have to find a way to account for catches though. How to do that? [[ Yes, probably starting at a Test level and then on to the Series level. Catches can always be valued at a % of wicket level. Ananth: ]]

  • Chris on September 19, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Ananth, another awesome achievement. People can have their opinions, but no-one can doubt the supreme forensic analysis you bring to the stats.

    However, as you and others have commented, there are other ways to measure all-round greatness. Personally, I am in favour of the number of centuries and five-wicket hauls as a barometer, as these tend to (but not exclusively) mark a match-winning performance - which is surely what the great all-rounders are there for. In this instance then, Botham emerges as a much stronger match-winning batsman than Imran and Kapil (14 centuries against 6 and 8), and just as important a bowler (27 5fors, against 23 for the others).

    But this measure would seem to downgrade Sobers on the bowling front - he only took 6 five-wicket hauls. I know it is sacrilege to criticise Sobers, and of course his batting was amazing, but really, how good a bowler was he? I know he was a jack of all the bowling trades....but was he a master of none? [[ Sobers was amongst the top-5 left-handed batsmen of all time. I had mentioned this in my earlier responses. Why have an artificial cut-off like a century. By that reckoning, Hussey's 95 would not be considered and Jayawardene's 105 would come in. Ananth: ]]

  • Ghalib on September 19, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    Whatever the stats say. The ranking will always be like. 1)Gary Sobers 2)Imran Khan 3)Keith Miller [[ As good as a trio as anyone can suggest. My personal selection would match yours although, on a bowling-centric day, I would switch nos 1 and 2. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on September 18, 2011, 14:19 GMT

    Yet another awesome analysis as we have now come to expect of Ananth. I am actually NOT surprised not to see Kallis. Kallis is an out of the world all rounder but he is more a batsman than a bowler. I dont remember any of his standout bowling performances though he is a very useful bowler. Almost for the same reason, Shaun Pollock may not feature often. If Pollock could bat like Kallis or Kallis could bowl like Pollock that allrounder would have featured several times in your list. It is unfortunate to still see some readers against an analysis just because someone they thought should be there did not feature. Someone not featuring means they dont meet the set of criteria you chose. That does not make them lesser players. In a similar analysis for ODIs I am guessing Saurav's 222 and 15 wkts at Toronto to be at the top. Just shows that he dominated ONE series with BAT AND BALL, cant compare his allround abilities vs Kapil or Imran.. just common sense.

  • Ruchir on September 18, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    [let us get Healy in, at least to compensate for the almost unceremonious exit from Test cricket.]

    Ananth, actually Healy's wicketkeeping in his last series (the tied rubber in WI) was definitely below par. He dropped Lara during the famous 153 in Barbados. He was going to have make way for Gilchrist sooner rather than later. The only consideration could be that the next match was at Healy's home ground in Brisbane and maybe he could have been given a chance to quit on his own terms But the Australian selectors have not been known for such emotional considerations. I remember Gilly getting a somewhat cold/hostile reception from the Gabba crowd when he walked in to bat on debut. A run a ball 80 later, they were won over

  • MattB on September 18, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    As a kiwi I'm surprised Vettori hasn't snuck in here somewhere, though I know he doesn't get many big wicket hauls. If you went down to 2-match series I'm sure he'd make it in with one of his performances vs Zimbabwe, which isn't saying a lot I know. [[ Vettori has one entry, the recent series against Pakistan. 3-Test series, nearly 300 runs and 10 wickets. Ananth: ]] One name not mentioned is that of Mike Procter. Didn't he average something like 34 with bat and 15 with ball in the 4-0 win over Australia in the last series before South Africa were banished? His stats in the Rest of World series vs England were also fairly impressive : 290 runs at 41, 15 wickets at 24. His first class averages of 36 with bat and 19 with ball show that he could have been one of the greatest if he was just born 15 years earlier or 20 years later... [[ Procter captured 28 wickets but only 209 runs. However the great player that he is, I think he deserves to come into the Readers' list. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 18, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    @Sambid Sharma. I think @adnan shafique is the only person here to have (rather strangely) questioned Kallis` all-rounder status. He has obviously been a fantastic player with bat, ball and in the field. Somewhat strangely to my mind though, in the last few years, Kallis has gone from a very good test cricketer rarely mentioned with the greats, to (according to some people) the greatest cricketer to have played the game/ first man chosen in an all-time World XI. I think the truth lies somewhere in between. For your info, I think he makes the grade batting-wise (as per Ananth`s criteria) in 15 series, bowlng-wise in 5, only twice together. Remember, he averages under 2 wickets per test. Wonderful player, very consistent, occasionally brilliant.

  • Sambid Sharma on September 18, 2011, 1:29 GMT

    haha..we are talking about allrounders and I cant see the name of jaques kallis anywhere..the man whose overall batting average is greater than of great sachin tendulkar and bowling average is almost equal to present great bowlers like zaheer khan and harbhajan singh..Kallis has the highest runs and centuries in this decade, way above sachin tendulkar. he also has more than 200 wkts in both test and ODI..and no one agrees that he is an allrounder. I wonder where he would be if he was indian player.. [[ I will never understand the readers. They do not read the articles thoroughly. They will make their own conclusions and rush to send a message. What is this article. It is simply a post listing, in no particlular order, the players who have reached a certain level of all-round achievement in Test series. There is no selection nor subjective conclusions. If Flintoff reached this level 4 times, he appears 4 times. If Kallis reached this level once he comes in once. That is all. Is it that difficult to understand. Where does Kallis'Test batting average come into the picture. What this analysis probably tells is that Kallis is not prone to flashes of all-round performances in certain series but is a consistent achiever, probably staying below the bowling radar often. And may I know where the statement on Kallis being an Indian player comes in. This article is totally bereft of any Indian all-rounders. And the reader has not read my previous analyses wherein I have analyzed all-rounders at career levels and Kallis is placed way up there. Ananth: ]]

  • S R on September 17, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    We also would like an analysis on 'chains' of players in test cricket. What is the minimum number of test cricketers we need to 'bridge' the teams in the post-war era.

    For instance - in India- possibly Vijay Manjrekar, Venkatraghavan, Kapil Dev and Tendulkar form one thus chain. As Vijay Manjrekar played atleast one test together with Venkat and Venkat played atleast one test together with Kapil etc.and so on.

    Can we have similar chains for other countries also - since 1950s ?

    THanks [[ Interesting but quirky request. Will keep in mind. Ananth: ]]

  • Deemi Zafar on September 17, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    The reason for Imran's infrequency is that he would often sit out of easy rubbers, particularly at home. Notable ones are: vs Eng at home '87-8, vs Aus at home '88-9 & vs Hadlee-less NZ at home 90-1, all won easily by Pak. In fact, he played against SL in '85-6 only to ascertain his comeback fitness after a 3-year absence. Then again in '91-2 he played against them as practice for the world cup, as he was not playing in Pak first-class cricket.

  • shrikanthk on September 17, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    A pretty good, almost unnoticed, all-round performance from the interwar years is Wally Hammond's show in 1936-37.

    12 wickets at 25 runs a piece including a 5 wicket haul. 468 runs at over 58 per innings including a match winning 231*.

    I know the wickets tally isn't substantial enough to warrant an entry to this elite list. Nevertheless, a good all-round show from one of England's greatest finest all-round cricketers. [[ I feel 12 wickets in 5 Tests is too low. 2 wicket-less Tests. Ananth: ]]

    Unlike a lot of other "all-rounders" whose batting and bowling peaks never overlapped (eg : Wilfred Rhodes), Hammond was regarded as a genuine all-round cricketer throughout his career (barring possibly the post-war years).

    Alec Bedser apparently claimed once that Hammond was the finest all-round cricketer he ever saw. A somewhat contestable claim given that Bedser also saw a lot of Sobers and the great 80s all-rounders. Nevertheless, Hammond is one chap who is never even mentioned these days as an all-rounder, leave alone a great one. That's a tad unfair I think.

  • Boll on September 17, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    @Harsh Thakor. No place for Giffen`s 475 runs and 34 wickets in 5 tests in your list? (not that we got to see any of it, of course). Kapil at 5? - surely a little high. I`m not sure the Pakistan team at that time were considered all that invincible either, particularly away from home. Prior to that series they`d only ever beaten NZ away from home, and would beat no-one else for the better part of a decade. Love the list though, and no arguments from me about Botham`s pre-eminence. Possibly because I was only a young impressionable lad, saw quite a bit of it on TV, and was memorably woken up by my father to watch his 100 at Headingley, the Shakespearean tragi-heroics of Botham in that series still resonate with me 30 years on. As for his commentary...

  • adnan shafique on September 17, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    to me imran, botham, hadlee and kapil were the best. sobers is the greatest batting all rounder of all time. i don't consider kallis as a genuine all rounder

  • Geoff on September 17, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    Anath: I posted this earlier. Perhaps a simpler and better way to assess and compare test all-rounders is simply to sum the number of 50+ scores and 4W+ innings they achieved in tests, then divide this total by the number of matches they played (with a minimum of perhaps 5x50+ scores and 5x4W+ innings as the cutoff)

    In your response you mentioned that "your method ignores nothing". Your method ignores the fact that all-rounders seldom perform at their peak with bat and ball in the same series. Your method is biased towards allrounders who might have had only 1 or 2 very successful all-round series in their career. My method would take into account series-to-series fluctations in batting and bowling performance, thereby providing a better assessment of an allrounder over their career. [[ I had also mentioned that your method would ignore an invaluable 49 and a great 3 for 15. Why would you ignore anything. I have only brought out the series in which players performed with the bat AND ball. That is all. Over 5 Tests most top all-rounders contribute very well, even if they do not do in individual Test matches. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on September 17, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    My best in order of merit are 1.Ian Botham-1981 Ashes 2.Gary Sobers-1970 Rest of the World V.England 3.Gary Sobers -1966 in England 4.Imran Khan-1982 in England 5.Kapil Dev -1979-80 against Pakistan in India. 6.Keith Miller against England in 1946-47 at home 7.Gary Sobers -1963 in England. 8.Keith Miller in 1950-51 Ashes series at home 9.Andrew Flintoff in 2005 Ashes at home. 10.Tony Greig in 1974 series in West Indies 11.Ian Botham in 1986-87 Ashes in Australia 12.Jacques Kallis against West Indies at home in 1998-99. 13.Shaun Pollock in New Zealand in 1999.

    Never forget the responsiblity Imran carried in 1982 coming so close to winning the series for his country and Kapil Dev's stupendous role in 1979-80 when Pakistan were considered virtually unbeatable.Kapil Dev 's swashbucking batting in Bombay and Madras and his match-winning spell in Madras was Soberesque.

  • Harsh Thakor on September 17, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    Botham's 1981 Ashes to me is at the vey top.After relinquishing the captaincy he literally turned the tables of the Ashes single-hnadedly with bat and ball in 3 consecutive tests.In 4 tests of that series he made an impact unequaled like a Geek God carrying the globe.In terms of consistency Gary Sobers was the supreme giant and in the 1970 unofficial series for Rest of the World gave the greatest performance ever by an all-round cricketerin international Cricket.scoring 688 runs and capturing 21 wickets.Close on his heels was Keith Miller in Ashes series where he scored hundreds and took a booty of wickets.In my time after Botham the best performances were by Imran Khan on the 1982 tour of England and Kapil Dev in 1979-80 against Pakistan,who both held the fort at crucial junctures.The greatest match-winning cricketer of the modern age was without doubt Adam Gilchrist.In recent years the most impressive to me have been Chris Cairns and Andrew Flintoff . [[ Yes, in many ways, Headingley 1981 and Calcutta 2001 were similar. Follow-on, given up, third innings heroics, unexpected bowling performances in the fourth and both were watersheds in test match cricket. My personal feeling is that India's subsequent greatness in Tests would have been still-born if Steve Waugh had not enforced follow-on. We would have lost 3-0 nd Australia would have had their halo of invincibility very firmly with them for longer periods. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 16, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    Another `keeper who just misses out is Rod Marsh, I`m fairly sure the first Australian `keeper to score a test century. `72/`73 in the Windies he scored 297 runs at 50 (3 runs short) in 5 tests and took 17 catches. [[ Probably also deserves an entry since one edge through slips would have got him in. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 16, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    Ian Healy had a lot of excellent series, and for one reason or another just missed out on qualifying. Probably his best effort was against the Windies in Aus in `96/`97 against what was still a very formidable bowling attack (Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Benjamin). He scored 356 runs at 59 and took 15 catches (1 short of the required)in the 5 tests. [[ Boill, let us get Healy in, at least to compensate for the almost unceremonious exit from Test cricket. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 16, 2011, 23:43 GMT

    Measuring keepers statistically is very difficult since they can't control how many chances they get for a catch or stumping.

    In my opinion the best measure would be reversing scoring the number of chances missed, but of course, there's no statistics for that.

    Ananth, might I suggest byes per innings/match as a possible measure of keeping quality (not necessarily for this article, but for any analysis for keepers).

    come to think of it, might I request one of your splendid analysis' just on keepers?

    I'd be curious to see how Healy rates with Gilchrist, and if the likes of Knott, Marsh really outstrip others. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't. it seems to me some keepers catch the imagination and have a huge reputation (like Knott, Marsh, Healy) while others don't (Ridley Jacobs, Mongia, Stewart). I rarely saw any of the latter three mentioned miss anything. [[ In one of my earlier replies I have already talked of a fresh look at keepers and use peer performances, both across career-span and across own country to get a better insight. If we leave out the subjective keeper-quality factor, I am almost certain that that analysis will only confirm my last sentence in the main article. But would be a nice exercise, with almost no subjective elements. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on September 16, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    Mr.Veldtman, If you want your comment published, kindly make your (valid) cricketing observations and stop there. Personal insults will mean your comment will go to its deserving place. And I would not edit your comment just so that I can publish it. Make a proper cricketing comment and I will respond properly. Thank you Ananth

  • arijit on September 16, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Vijay Kumar, Kapil's performance in the 1982-83 West Indies misses out because of bad luck. It was a five-Test series but the third (at Guyana) was washed out after a day's play, with Kapil neither getting a chance to bat nor to bowl. His performance, which actually came over four Tests, would have made the cut had the series been a four-Test one. BTW, (in relation to an earlier reader response) it's unfair to rate Vinoo Mankad at just over average. He got the 1,000-runs-and-100-wickets double in 23 Tests, which was a record and is second only to Botham (21 Tests) in 134 years of Test cricket. He got 12 wickets in India's first ever Test win and 13 in the second. He held India's highest individual Test score (231) for 28 years and also the second-highest (223) jointly with Umrigar. Add to that the 1952 "Mankad's Test" and the fact that WWII forced him to debut only at 29. Also, 162 wickets in 44 Tests (Indian record for 2 decades) compares favourably with the famous quartet's stats

  • Vijay Kumar on September 16, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    There are two series where Kapil excelled that meet one but not both the threshold criteria you have established. The first was v Pak Pakistan in India Test Series, 1979/80 6T 278r HS:84 Avg.30.88 32wkts BBI 7/56 Avg. 17.68 3ct

    32 wkts @ 17 is remarkable by itself. If you add the 278 runs, truly a magnum opus. [[ Kapil's 1979 performance has already been included in the Readers' list. Ananth: ]]

    But the more impressive performance came against the Windies at their peak, on THEIR turf, where he was the captain, to boot India in West Indies Test Series, 1982/83 5T 254r HS:100* Avg.42.33 17wkts BBI 4/45 Avg. 24.94 4ct

  • Paul on September 16, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Great analysis. As a South African supporter I'll never forget that 2002 series. Gilchrist completely humiliated us!

  • Boll on September 16, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    A couple of people have mentioned the great Wasim Akram, although his test batting stats (ave. 22.6 with the bat, 23.6 with the ball) are relatively poor. I think the closest he comes is his performance in Aus `89/90 - 197 runs and 17 wickes in 3 tests. I`d also like to put my hand up for the great Alan Davidson, recently inducted into the Hall of Fame (also a left-handed bat, left-arm fast bowler). His figures compare motre than favourably with Akram`s (24.6 with the bat, and a brilliant 20.5 with the ball). As I think someone has mentioned, in the Tied Test series `60/`61, his 212 runs and 33 wickets in 4 tests was a wonderful all-round performance. [[ You will see that Davisdon's is the first one to be included in the Readers'list. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on September 16, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    You may pulish the comment as is or modify. I am still wondering why the readers are getting so subjective on the issue of some players not featuring and trying to justify . . . Like the comment on Dhoni and Sangakkara not featuring while Gilly does . . . If Dhoni does not feature, it is so simple - he does not feature. Why does the subjectivities like, "had he played with pacers" or "had we had pacers / spinners" . . .

    in fact the comment was "Dhoni v/s Sanga is no comparison" . . . the entire article actually has no comparison. It is just listing down top performances. Inferences are there, direct, backed by numbers. But there is no decision or proclamatio in the article that Sobers was the best or Gilly was the best. It says they simply had many many more better allround performances than most other. [[ Ranga, probably I must own up. My comment that there is no comparison between Gilchrist and Dhoni, while may be factually true, immediately raises the heckles of the ultra-sensitive Indian supporters. Ananth: ]]

    Strange to see so many misinterpretations from a very knowledgeable set of readers!

  • Jimmy the Don on September 16, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Ananth, Fantastic article once again.

    There has been a lot of comments about the different stages of Imran Khans career and i have always found it curious that so many all rounders have different stages to their careers. Both Botham and Kapil Dev had great starts to their careers but then declined as where players like Hadlee and Vettori both improved as all rounders towards the end of their careers.

  • Boll on September 16, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    @agar12. Even in terms of runs qualifications, I think Dhoni only makes the cut 3 times (Gilchrist 10). Sangakkara has made the runs qualification on 12 occasions so far, although only 4 times as keeper.

  • agar12 on September 16, 2011, 0:46 GMT

    Also, is the number of dismissals for dhoni (or say even sanga) versus gilchrist a fair comparison? The subcontinent pitches coupled with the bowling attacks do not create a lot of opportunities for the 'keeper. Gilchrist used to keep to the likes of mcgrath/gillespie and lee, not to mention warne. [[ Why should anyone bother about these finer points. This is a macro analysis. If Dhoni did not get as many opportunities as Gilchrist, that is the nature of the game they play. However I must say that over the past five years the Indian pace bowlers have probably taken as many wickets as the spinners. Ananth: ]]

  • agar12 on September 16, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    I agree that one should not compare Dhoni and Gilchrist. However, I was surprised to see Sangakarra only once in the list. Is this because he has not kept in tests in the latter part of his career? [[ Probably two reasons. One is what you have mentioned. Second is that Sri Lanka played in many 3-Test series. While Sangakkara would have gone past the runs requirement relatively easily he might have found it difficult to go past the keeping requirements. It is possible that Jayawardene took as many catches as Sangakkara. Ananth: ]]

  • Manasvi on September 15, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    I haven't been able to look up the exact stats but I am sure that some of the older guys must have had some great performances - G. Faulkner, W. Armstrong, J. Sinclair, S. Gregory, etc. On a different note, it would be interesting to look at one-off all-round performances, i.e the greatest in a Test. A lot come to mind such as Giffen's test, Mankad's, etc. [[ Yes, I have plans to do a Test-level analysis of great contributions. Ananth: ]]

  • Smudge on September 15, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Ananth, Yes, I did miss them. I'll see if I can find them sometime in the cricinfo archive. My point was though that especially when you are trying to equate one one parameter to another (runs vs wickets vs dismissals) whereas taking the absolute number of runs or wickets works fine, taking absolute number of keepers dismissals is rather unsatisfactory as the % difference between a first class performance and a barely adequate one is so small, even if the number of dismissals were more in the control of the keeper than they are in reality. I realise though I am commiting the sin of doubting your methodology without offering a viable alternative. For that I apologise! [[ Peer comparisons are great. Gilchrist averaging 4.33 (exact) dismissals per Test while his exact contemporaries average 2.1 (guess) will be a true indicator of Gilchrist's standing. Ananth: ]]

  • Chris Keylock on September 15, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    In terms of impact in individual tests (rather than series), if one looks at people who got a century and a 5 wk innings in the same match, then a few people have done this once, Jacques Kallis has managed it twice, while Botham having done it 5 times is in a different league. An index that combines series average allrounder performance with individual match impact would be interesting. [[ Why combine two disparate factors. Probably better to look at individual match performances by combining player contributions in matches thru runs/wickets/dismissals etc. Ananth: ]]

  • Haroon Alvi on September 15, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    It is well agreed by all cricketing experts that the Australian team under Don Bradman, West Indies of 1970s-80s and the Australian team of 1990s-00s were the greatest teams of their time. How about writing an article about players who performed well against these teams in their prime (probably in their own backyard) because I think such an analysis will really bring out the gretness that we associate with Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Kapil Dev and a less celebrated legend Jacques Kallis .[[ Looks like a nice iidea. After I do the series follow-up article on the team performances over consecutive series, this can come in. Ananth: ]]

  • Haroon Alvi on September 15, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    This list is a good representation of all-rounders who performed admirably with BOTH bat and ball at the SAME time (or in the same series). This cannot justify one all-rounder being better than the other purely because if an allrounder averages 100 with bat and 50 with ball in one series and averages 0 with bat and 1 with ball in the next series, though his combined performance would be better than many greats of the game but it would not make it to the cut-off in this article. I guess that should explain why Imran Khan and to an extent Kapil Dev aren't mentioned here. But I do believe that Imran is clearly as good as Sobers and Kapil as good as Botham.

  • James on September 15, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    Good stuff as ever, Ananth.

    My facetious suggestion is Graeme Hick's 1992/3 series v India (3 tests):

    315 runs at 52.50 and 8 wickets at 25.25

    England's leading run-scorer, wicket taker and catcher (5), in a complete pummeling (probably more so than 2011). A faintly heroic effort considering the shambles that surrounded him. Just misses your cut on wickets taken.

    And then Dexter dropped him three tests later. [[ 2 more wickets and poor Hick, surprisingly one of my favourite batsmen during those yers, could have got in. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 15, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    Ananth, would have loved to see Botham's 1979-80 performance v/s Australia here. 187 runs @38 with a century in Melbourne. 19 wickets @19. England lost 3-0 to perhaps the best (or second best) Australian team of all time. In Australia to boot. And in the one day series, Botham took some fantastic catches, especially to dismiss Greenidge in one match (knock up, turn and dive catch). Perhaps your cutoffs should be based on adjusted runs / wickets. [[ Yes, I can see a lot of merit in your suggestion. Although England lost 0-3, Botham was outstanding. Will put this in. I agree this might have got in if adjusted figures had been used for selection. There was some programming problem in doing that. I felt it would be okay if I used raw figures. Might have made a difference in certain cases like this instance. Ananth: ]]

  • Smudge on September 15, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Ananth,The problem with wicket keeping stats is that, more than any other cricket performance parameter, it is dependant on the action of others (both the bowler and the batsman) and probably the majority of dismissals are fairly routine that any competent keeper would take. Given the exact same circumstance in which, say, Jack Russell took 12 dismissals, Kamran Akmal would probably have taken 10 of them. The mark of the quality of the keeper is in the 2 difference, not the 10 taken. I realise that I am saying that the number of dismissals is an unsatisfactory measure without proposing an alternative (a bit like Chruchill's forms of government). For a career with a suitable big sample you could probably do something like count the number of dismissals per test above the average dismissals per test of his contemporaries (so sort of measuring the "delta")or a more sophisticated variation on this but I suspect this wouldn't work well with what you are trying to do with much smaller sample [[ Since you are a recent entrant to this blogspace yopu might have missed a series of very tricky articles I had done doing analysis of batting and bowling career figures with exactly matching peer performances (exact start test to finish test for each player). I had not done this for wicket-keeping. Probably I should do that. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on September 15, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    @ Ananth: I would add one more line to your response to alanm: "This stiff set of criteria let in only 60 series-level performances making this quite an exclusive and privileged group."

    Special emphasis on "EXCLUSIVE AND PRIVILEGED"

    Showing both batting and bowling prowess in the same series is a rare occurance and it should remain so. That is where we can separate wheat from the chaff. We all admire a particular player and may love to see their name in "ALL LISTS OF ALL TIME GREATS" . . which is not possible. Some of our favourite cricketers not making the cut, is a reflection of their impact on an entire series, but not a questionmark on their greatness.

    I still feel the cutoff is very fair, and shows OBJECTIVELY how many series impacting performances were there from the legendary allrounders, without questionning the greatness of the absentees. [[ I love the last sentence. It has always been my objective never to put down any player, even the not-so-great ones. Ananth: ]]

  • Venkat on September 15, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I have come across fact that Imran averaged 50 with bat, adn 20 with ball in the last 10 years of his career. So, I'm surprised that he appeared only once in the table.. [[ The reason might very well be that the twin criteria have to be satisfied. Ananth: ]]

  • alanm on September 15, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    Great article, but it looks biased towards bowling all rounders.

    For starters, since your runs-per-wicket value was taken at 30, surely your minimum runs/wickets qualification values should reflect the same ratio?

    Something like: No of Tests Minimum runs Minimum wickets 3 200 7 4 250 9 5 300 10 6 350 12 [[ The following paragraph, extracted from the article, should explain this partly. ""Readers would note that this average is not used in setting up the criteria for selection. These are two different factors. The criteria have been set using ball-park figures and my judgement while the equalization methodology of determining the Run index requires a more objective basis."" Your numbers would get in too many average performances. 7 wkts in a 3-test series ??? Only an average of 2 wickets per test. Too low. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on September 15, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Correct me if I am wrong. Not only in this blog, but in many places, we have seen justifications (or defense) of people playing in weak teams. Like had x been in Australia instead of Ind, he would have scored 150 centuries or won 200 matches or taken 800 wicktes so on and so forth.

    In my opinion, playing for Australia (in 1995-2008) was the toughest thing because of the fact that it is a high performance team where all and sundry just cant get into the team. As your place is constantly under threat, Aussies have to maintain the high level of performance (shown by their consistent entries in series honors across all parameters). Unlike in Ind, they dont have emotional affinity for past performances. You cant show a CV with tons of runs/wkts at a declining average. At the same time, they do give them a decent run to prove themselves. So when we provides weightage for the quality of opposition, we should not forget that BEING in Aus team is so tough and shouldnt reduce the weightage. [[ Ranga, I am not a fan of adjusting anything based on the strength of own team. Whether it is Murali in Sri Lanka or McGrath in Australia, it does not mke any sense to adjust because they played in weaker or stronger teams. As you say it would not at all have been easy getting into the stronger teams and then maintain one's place there. However I don't mind weighting based on strength of opposition team. Ananth: ]]

  • Naveen Rao on September 15, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    Ananth, I understand that this purely based on performance and no ratings have been provided for individual performances in a series. But it might be a good idea to rate individual performances in a series considering if the player was a batting allrounder or a bowling allrounder. Not sure if this is valid, but as an example, might be a good idea to see if we could rate the bowling allrounder scoring a match winning innings and see how players stack up amongst the top allrounders?

  • RANGArajan on September 15, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    Excellent analysis, as usual. A reminder as to why Botham and Sobers were real matchwinners. If someone's name does not feature here, it does not mean they are not great, but they havent performed well within the series in question. I guess most readers get it wrong when Kallis or Kapil dont feature here.

    Whenever you do an analysis of the Australian success (1995-2008), the most notable feature is that during that period, they did not have any genuine allrounders. Of course, Gilly does get into that (as a WKB). But as a bowling/batting allrounder, Aussies did not have one. It goes on to show that if those who have been selected for their roles do well in their own jobs, the allrounder is not actually not necessary, though he can provide the balance. Our Indians still rue the absence of an allrounder - If only the batsmen and bowlers do they jobs adequately, we neednt blame the lack of an allrounder. Doing well with what you have is more than enough to win the matches like Aussies

  • Chris on September 15, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Vishnu,

    The best World Cup performance was surely Klusener in 1999. Highest batting average and fourth-most wickets of any player.

  • S Ganesh on September 15, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    Ananth

    firstly , I would like to say that your articles and analysis are absolutely a marvel. For some one like me who has been following Cricket closely for 30+ years it gives a really good insight into he various facets of the game.

    On this particular analysis, I think it really reinforces the fact that Sobers specifically and to an lesser extent Miller and Botham were very high impact players. This is what differentiated Sobers from the all rounders who followed him like Imran, Kapil, Hadlee and Kallis. Sobers really dominated quite a few series in the mid 60's with both bat and ball simultaneously. The only potential negative against sobers can be his mediocre captaincy. I would like to nominate Kapil's performance in the 1979 series against asif Iqbal's captaincy for the readers choice. A total of 278 runs and especially 32 wickets is a highly commendable performance. In fact the Pakistan Batting consisted of Majid, Asif, Zaheer, Javed and wasim Raja ( Formidable) [[ I think Kapil deserves an inclusion since he seems to have missed the batting cut-off. Will do so. Ananth: ]]

  • Smudge on September 15, 2011, 7:45 GMT

    Another great peice of analysis. This supports well an argument I've tried to make about Botham in the past. Because of his long decline and the effect on his career averages, people tend to forget just what an impact he had in his youth and pomp. I am a huge admirer of Imran, and arguably his career as a whole eclipsed Bothams's but as you show he wasn't as allround dominant as often as a young Botham. Similar things could be said of the batting all rounder Kallis. Interesting to see flintoff faring so well. His prime seemed all too brief, but it seems he packed a lot into it

  • Nitin on September 15, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    How to rate an allrounder ? In you analysis you are checking which all rounder performed with bat and bowl in a single series. I can't say its not a fair criteria but I am more willing to check how an all rounder either performed by Bat or ball or both in a single series. I mean suppose one player performed with bat and ball in 7 series but another performed with bat in 6 series and with bowl in 4 series. Now which player you will prefer. if apalyer perfomed with bat and ball both in a series you can count it as 2. That will provide you more stable all rounder and not some exceptional performances in some odd series. [[ These are questions which do not have clear-cut answers. As Ranga says later, Australia did wonderfully well with no great all-rounder in their ranks. For that matter the West indians. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 15, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    I know someone else noted the absence of Monty Noble from the lists (I`ve spent many enjoyable afternoons in the Noble Stand at the SCG), so here`s probably his best series performance.

    1903/4 vs England in Aus.

    5 tests, 417 runs at 60, 16 wickets at 21, 7 catches, as captain. [[ Will look into it. Ananth: ]]

  • kamran wasti on September 15, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Ananth, I did not assume anything and agree 100% with you. In fact I fully agree with what you have written and it was only to reassure you that we are on the same wavelength. Cheers! :-) [[ Kmran, my sincere apologies. Ananth: ]]

  • kamran wasti on September 15, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    I understand that your analysis is about good series shows rather than overall rankings. Shane Warne in 2005, for example, had a great all-round series but that does not make him a great all-rounder. [[ Why do you assume that this is an analysis of great all-rounders. Has this been mentioned anywhere. This article is exactly what has been stated, a collection of all-round performances in test series, that is all. Ananth: ]]

    Anyway, regarding Imran, what people don't realise is that before he became captain, he was Pakistan's only genuinely fast bowler and doing most of the bowling and then being made to bat late in a very strong batting line-up. It was simply a case of not getting opportunities: In parallel he was scoring loads of runs for Sussex and only started getting his chances after Asif Iqbal and Mushtaq retired. That is when he scored his second 50 in I think 29 tests and then immediately scored his first 100 and his record kept getting better and once he was made captain, he could bat like he wanted to. As a bowler he was sensational. I think between 1981 and 1986 he averaged under 15 with the ball for over 150 wickets and averaged 11 against the West Indies in a series once.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 15, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Ananth, great work. yet to get into the details. But it should be noted on Imran Khan that 1) not only was he a great captain but 2) he played very few tests in his best years 1977-83 and 3) in 1983, he suffered a stress fracture, which for a brief period (World Cup, Oz-83-84) made him play as a batsman alone. When he came back, he was a genuine all rounder, with ONLY Wasim for company in pace, and succeeded with the ball spectacularly, BUT, in Pakistan largely, on very poor quality pitches, where no one (including Richards) made big runs, thus significantly tilting the balance in his stats towards bowling. After this period, he was finished as a bowler anyway (1987 onwards). So a very discontinuous career as an all rounder.

  • Geoff on September 15, 2011, 2:47 GMT

    Perhaps a simpler and better way to assess and compare test all-rounders is simply to sum the number of 50+ scores and 4W+ innings they achieved in tests, then divide this total by the number of matches they played (with a minimum of perhaps 5x50+ scores and 5x4W+ innings as the cutoff) [[ Such cut-and-dried methods never work out. A wonderful 49 or 3 for 15 will get lost. Why ignore such performances. My method ignores nothing. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on September 15, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    Ananth great analysis. You are the best. This kind of quantitative insight is what separates the men from the boys. Though Sobers and Gilchrist top the ratings, I feel, Gilchrist is the greatest cricketer ever, Bradman notwithstanding. While he was carrying out all these impossible feats in tests, his ODI records too were second to none. Do you think Gilchrist gets all the recognition he deserves? [[ On my part I would put Bradman at the top and then discuss till the cows come home on the next best. One day I should analyze the Australian success story, looking at the batting might, the bowling variety and incisiveness AND Gilchrist's contributions. Ananth: ]]

  • Mark on September 15, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    Besides the 5 Tests v Australia '05, A.Flintoff vs C.Cairns is a very close matchup! His 3 Tests in '06 v Ind, compare to C.Cairns 3 Tests in '04 v S.A. Certainly, at times A.Flintoffs could be intimidatory, overall C.Cairns bowling length contributed to a greater return, at a better S/Rte! but, higher Econ.Rte. --If we were to conceed the '05 series, due to the amount of ball movement, (whether by choosing the right cherry in most inn's, or by the 'other' more excepted means) the contributions of both are similiar. Yeh, I'd choose C.Cairns before A.Flintoff.

  • Anand Ramanathan on September 15, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    Great article. I am a little surprised about Jacques Kallis. Thorough analysis nevertheless. A small point on MS Dhoni. While Dhoni cannot compare to Adam Gilchrist in terms of his contribution with the bat, we should remember that he has been captain (and successful). A captain has a larger role: managing players (on and off the field), setting fields, encouraging bowlers, and in general is thinking all the time. Just as Ananth felt that wicket-keepers are also all-rounders, I feel that the captain also should get similar credit. [[ Just captaining or results. Sometime back I had done a diffrent type of All-rounder analysis. This question came up especially re Imran Khan. It was generally agreed that it is difficult to quantify captaincy. Wickets/Runs/Dismissals, yes. But Captaincy, quite vague. Captaincy is rimarily man-management, strategizing and leading by examples. How can we quantify these. Ananth: ]]

  • James Wing on September 15, 2011, 1:00 GMT

    For batting should we compensate for the number of inning rather than the number of games? For instance in the recent series against India Broad scored 182 runs (@60) and took 25 wickets (@13.84), however because it was a four match series he falls short of the 250 run cut off. On the other hand he only actually batted four times. Should we compensate for this or should he just consider himself unlucky that he only batted once per game? [[ I have already made one significant difference to my batsman/bowler/team analysis. I am taking the Tests played as the base rather than Tests in series. Let us leave it at that. Let us not lower the bars. You could push for Broad into the Readers' list. However his batting reached only 60% of the requirement. The price a stronger team's batsman pays. 45 runs per Test is just not enough. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on September 15, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    To the previous post, sorry, I meant as captain Imran was never carried by the team. I have made my arguments for including the 1983 series: if it is not included, it is only because he was too good. Ironic.

  • arch on September 15, 2011, 0:02 GMT

    Ruchir I have to respectfully disagree. The idea that Imran had two phases to his career is a false claim bandied about often, and often as a dig. Any analyses of his career shows he had three phases to his career. In his first phase, he was a distinct lower order batsman, but once he became captain his batting and his performances improved tremendously. It is not for nothing that he has the lowest bowling average of a captain in test cricket history, and the 4th highest batting average. Before 1980, he averaged 22 with bat and 31 with the ball (excluding WSC). Between 1980 and 1988, he averaged 40 and 17. After 1988, in his mentoring phase, he hit 73 with the bat and 33 with the ball. That is sensational: as captain he was carried by the team. The middle phase (48 tests with 4 centuries) is not the phase of just a handy batsman. Kapil had 69 tests with 5 centuries at 32. Miller in the middle of his career went 33 tests with 3 centuries at 32. It is time to put this canard to rest.

  • vishnu on September 14, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    Dear ananth, Great article truly appreciate the effort. Suprising to see kallis not in any of the lists, for he is probably the only modern day cricketer who was compared to the great sobers. Further supports the view of the two sobers was likely the guy to have a greater impact although kallis is undoubedtly world class. Have a question for you is yuvraj's recent performance in the world cup the best allround one so far in world cups? [[ If and when I do an ODI analysis we will get an answer. I am wary of these bi-lateral ODI series. If I do I will retrict myself only to tournaments. Ananth: ]]

  • us_indian on September 14, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    We had allrounders like Abid ali & solkar who were not grromedn handled properly. We also had an answer to Sobers our Salim Durrani who sobers himself admired but unfortunately successive captains didnt handle him properly. Closest we had was irfan whose career was sabotaged by chappel , our bunch of jokers and even dhoni to a certain extent.Even yousuf can be groomed.

  • us_indian on September 14, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    There were a few allronder apart from kapil n mankad, like Abid Ali & solkar who were not given due recognition and improperly utilized, then we had the answer to Sobers, our own Salim Durrani unfortunately our successive captains didnt use his real potential. We also had a good allrounder in the making Abdul Jabbar of TN who did not get a chance to represent india at all. The next closest was Irfan whose career was destroyed by chappel and our own selection team and to a certain extent dhoni, even yousuf could be groomed as an allrounder

  • Ravi on September 14, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    Ananth, We all remember Malcolm Marshall for his bowling exploits. But he had a wonderful series vs India in 1983/84. Batting: Mat6, Inn7, Runs244, HS92, Avg34.8, fifties 2. Bowling: Mat6, Inn11, Wkts33, Avg18.8, BBM9/102 and 2 5fers. [[ He should get in, as Warne, in 2005, would. Ananth: ]]

    The runs don't meet your criteria for 6 tests. But he scored them in 7 innings! And the bowling figures are even more impressive considering the attack also had Holding, Roberts, W Davies and Daniel. Worth a mention at the top of the readers' list?

  • KS on September 14, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    "Imran Khan, with a Run index value of 304, stop for a moment to digest this figure, 300+ runs per Test, leads this performance-oriented table."

    what does this mean? he scored 212 runs in a 3 test series with 2 50s in 5 innings? even with weighting that's a huge difference from his 'real world' performance [[ I don't think you have got the basis correctly. You will get it if you read the article carefully. The average per Test was a notional Run index figure after converting adjusted wickets captured to a Runs basis. It is a single number indication of an all-rounder's contribution in a series. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on September 14, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    Excellent article as usual. I am yet to go through in detail and absorb the finer points. But very refreshing read. Since you are being generous with Reader's choices of great performances which did not make it due to strict criteria, I would like to nominate Warne in Ashes 2005 in England. He played a lone hand most of the times, even in batting. And it was away.

    The Ashes (Australia in England), 2005 M Runs Avg Wkt Avg 5 249 27.66 40 19.92 [[ Already Warne has had multiple nominations. Will add it tomorrow. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on September 14, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Hi ananth

    This is not a comment on the blog but a personal Thank You note. Your blogs (both the statistics and your opinions) make for excellent reading/discussion. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the discussion for the last few blogs and only wish I had followed you earlier Your blog is a great forum for true fans who love the game and not just a particular team/player.

    Keep up the great work

    Thanks Ruchir [[ Will publish your comment since comments like these make my days. It is wonderful to be thanked. I do not often get that. Thank you, in return. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on September 14, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    I must say that as a batting allrounder, Kallis is highly underrated. His career stats actually are as good as Sobers

    Kallis : batting avg 57, 270 wickets at 32 Sobers: batting avg 57, 235 wickets at 34

    He probably does not figure as prominently in this article because he had a very specific role in the SA bowling lineup. His job was to hold up one end and provide respite for Donald/Pollock, Steyn/Morkel. The fact that he has an economy rate of below 3 in the last decade's context means that he has done his job brilliantly [[ Yes, this article does not do justice to someone like JKallis buts gives someone like Flintoff more importance. But no problems as long as we are aware of the methodology. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on September 14, 2011, 15:08 GMT

    [Imran Khan was as good a Bowling allrounder as Sobers was a batting allrounder with his overall career stats]

    Imran had 2 distinct phases. He was a great bowler and a handy lower-middle order batsman in the 1st phase of his career. In the 2nd phase, he became more of a mentor/bowling coach to Wasim/Waqar, was often the 3rd/4th bowler but a very conssitent batsman As can be seen from Ananth's analysis, Sobers had a much longer period where he excelled with both bat and ball simultaneously

    Ravi already asked the question whether the lack of simultaneous batting and bowling excellence makes a lesser all rounder. There is not much to choose between Imran and Sobers' overall career stats but the above fact probably pushes Sobers up a bit

    Imran was an inspirational captain (one of the few who added to the team performance, mark Taylor being the other one I can think of) Sobers could bowl 3 different ways and was an excellent fielder [[ Very well done. Sobers was an individual performer par excellence. Imran was a leader par excellence. I would select both in my team. That takes care of everything. Ananth: ]]

  • Mike on September 14, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Is there any way to compensate for the likes of Andy Flower who had less opportunities to take dismissals, because he spent a smaller number of innings keeping due to his team's weakness? I suppose Gilchrist has the reverse problem - he usually got to keep through two completed innings, but rarely had two good opportunities to walk to the crease and add runs to his aggregate! I have no doubt that I'd rather select Gilchrist in a Play-For-My-Life XI than Flower, but it's not obvious to me whether their respective disadvantages are balanced out well in this scoring system. [[ No way in which this sort of ticklish problem can be tackled. There is not much adjustment done in this analysis. It is based on raw numbers. We have to assume that some sort of evening takes place between players playing for stronger and weaker teams. Ananth: ]]

  • James on September 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Very interested to note that Kallis (whose overall test averages compare to those of Sobers) does not feature in this list. I assume he (or seldom) achieved the wickets required? Probably doesn't help having Donald, Pollock and Steyn in your side.

    On the "nightmare" list, Beefy was well past his best in 1989, and I think Sobers was very young in 1956? [[ Sobers was 20. But he scored 365 within two years !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Re: Sobers in Eng 66, he also held 10 catches (and won all 5 tosses!)

    Throw out another honorable mention have to Sobers' record in the Rest of the World vs England series in 1970 -

    5 matches, 588 runs at ave. 73.50 21 wickets at ave. 21.52

    Ananth, do you have Sobers' stats for the other World Eleven series against Australia played around that time?

    Either those 2 series' should be recognized as official tests, or the one-off Aus vs ROW match in 2005 should have its official status removed. Nothing else makes any sense. [[ I would vote for the removal of the 2005 match. Some serious impact will be there. Poor Murali will wake up one day and realize that he has captured ONLY 795 wickets, Hayden would lose 0.5 off his average and MacGill would go below 200 wickets. Most of the ICC batsmen would gain, though. Ananth: ]]

  • Sudarshan P.N. on September 14, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    Ananth, I guess a fair reflection. Sobers, Miller, Imran and Botham could perhaps be classified as the best in business and if fielding/ catching is taken into account, Sobers perhaps stretches the lead. I am a little surprised though that Vinoo Mankad and Monty Noble didnt even qualify. Thought both of them had a couple of very good series. [[ The cut-offs for the 4/5 Test series are quite steep. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on September 14, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    I would certainly encourage a readers list. The 1983 series included 2 innings victories, and a 10 wicket win and so Imran only batted 5 times in the series. I would rate his impact as a player in this series above his 3 match 1982 series against England. I think if you don't penalize him for scoring 75% of the cutoff, he will average roundabout 300.

  • Tom on September 14, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    What the figures don't reflect, of course is the number of series each player participated in. It won't matter for the series figures but it means that some players have more chances than others to qualify. Taking that into account, Sobers (6 times in 22 series) and Miller (4 times in 13 series) look even more impressive in comparison with the other top performers, each having qualified in more than a quarter of the series they played. Flintoff (4 in 25), surprisingly, is roughly on a par with Botham on this measure (5 in 32). [[ Good idea. Let me see hwo quickly I can do this. I have to tweak the program, create a new table and post the same. Will do it tomorrow. Ananth: ]]

    Perhaps this is in part because Botham (along with Imran Khan, Hadlee etc.) was an automatic pick whenever fit, regardless of form, and had a long twilight to his career, whereas Flintoff was only an automatic selection towards the end of his career and retired when he started to struggle. Or was Flintoff actually a better all-rounder (in particular, a better bat) than he looked?

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    @arch. OK, I`ll see your 247 runs and 40 wickets in a 6-test series, and raise you 249 runs and 40 wickets in a 5 test series...away. S.K.Warne, 2005 Ashes. [[ Ah! I hope Arch is familiar with Poker. However Warne's is a great choice. I will create the Readers' list tomorrow morning since this is late in the night now. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    @Hamza. Yes, I think of all the great all-rounders, probably only Imran and Hadlee (perhaps Miller at his best) are real all-time top 10 opening bowler material, and only Sobers makes it into the top 10 bats of all-time (shall we make that top 3?).

    I think I`ve said before that, quite apart from his other skills, Sobers would walk into my all-time XI on his batting alone. No problems with either Hadlee or Imran opening the bowling for me either. But...

    I think you might be selling Botham a little short there. When he was on, he dominated matches and series in a way matched by only the true greats of the game.

  • arch on September 14, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    You have to make an exception for Imran's 6 match series versus India in 1983. Reasons: a. It includes a century and a 10 wicket haul in a match - the very definition of a great all round performance b. The bowling was so strong that at times he did not need to bat. c. He averaged 61 with the bat, with with the ball. [[ I fully understand your angst. 247 runs and 40 wickets in a 6-Test series deserves inclusion. The cut-off for 6-Test series is 350 and 16. He has reached 70% of the batting target and 250% of the bowling target. I can have a complex and artificial methodology of compensating shortage up to some (what) % in one with twice that in the other. But that would be what it is, artificial. Nicer if readers like you bring in really world class performances such as this. I do not mind starting a Readers' selection of really great performances which fall below the twin bars. However I will publish ONLY if the reader takes the trouble of compiling the player performance summary for the series. I cannot be doing computations for every suggestion. Ananth: ]]

  • Hamza A. Khan on September 14, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    How can you say that "Sobers and Botham are arguably the top two allrounders ever"? Imran Khan was as good a Bowling allrounder as Sobers was a batting allrounder with his overall career stats. A bowling average of 22.8 is favourably compared to a batting average of 55+(Sobers' Batting) while a batting average of 37 is also comparable to a Bowling average of 34(Sober' bowling). Botham was a mere mortal when compared to these two. Can you prove otherwise? [[ No problems, Hamza. My comments were only in the context of this article. I have also agreed with Boll's submission of Sobers and Miller. I would not have any problems in accepting your case for Sobers and Imran. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on September 14, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    @Boll I absolutely agree & believe that vettori will be the 2nd to make 5K+ runs with 400+ wickets if he managed to play for another 3-4 years with NZ playing almost 8-10 test a year(though this luks improbable), all i wanted to say was despite of having such a record which no one could could match till date, kapil who is widely regarded as one of the best all rounders does not feature in even the top 15 list. something on the lines Vettori & Kapil with such unique record will always be remembered as the workhorse for their team playing against stronger opposition with comparatively weak companions. This blog also proves Kallis doesnt come even close to players like sobers, botham, Imran, Miller let alone be the best ever as many people have always said. @Ananth dont exactly remember when it hpnd but flower made almost 341 runs against mighty SA in perhaps 2 test series. could you work on that n come out where does tht performance stands out among the equals. [[ Andy Flower's only entry is the 1999 home series against Sri Lanka where he had figures of 388 & 13. Andy scored over 400 runs but had only 3 dismissals in the 2-Test series against South Africa. Ananth: ]]

  • West Indies Follower on September 14, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    I do think that Flintoff and Botham are very similar players. When fit and in the right mental frame, they were brilliant, Flintoff for around 33 tests mid career and Botham first 51 tests. What separates these two from the other post - 1975 all rounders IMO is their ability to perform with both bat and ball at the same time. When unfit, we saw performance drop, with their genius emerging at certain times (Flintoff 5 for at Lords '09, Botham 5 for in melbourne '86). Imran Kahn's batting developed late, whilst with the emergence of Wasim/Waqar he shouldered less of the bowling burden, and as a result we saw his number of entries reduced. However, purely as a bowler, IMO the best on this list. ( Sobers bowling also had a purple patch of about 33 games, much similar to Flintoff, when he decided to bowl pace. They both took around 130 wickets in thhis period.)

  • Ravi on September 14, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    A good article as ever Ananth. Two questions come to mind. 1.Is a good alrounder one who has contributed handsomely with both bat and ball "in the same series or match"? Does very good batting and bowling streaks by the same player but "in different matches/series" make him a lesser alrounder. 2.I think it will be useful to chart out the batting and bowling numbers (avg, SR, economy etc (y) over a player's career ie time axis (x). Good allround performance "in a series or time period" would show up as an overlap (troughs for the bowling nos and crests for batting figures). Just a thought, following on from Gabriel's article on streakiness. [[ Will look at this carefully to see what can be done. Ananth: ]]

    3.As for Gilchrist it is fair to say that a part of his success came from great bowlers feeding him edges and stumping opportunities? Of course he grabbed them with both hands (pun intended).

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    @Nitin Gautam. I`m not sure that Kapil`s record (from 133 tests) is all that insurmountable. Dan Vettori, after a little over 100 tests, at age 32, has about 4100 runs and 350 wickets. If he plays for another 3 or 4 years he`ll get there. Both wonderful players, but not World XI class.

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    It certainly doesn`t surprise me that the greatest all-rounder and greatest wicket-keeper/batsman of all time come out on top in an analysis of this sort.

    Recent World XI selections have encouraged discussion about such things, and I`ve been flabbergasted that people have gone for Kapil/Kallis over Sobers, or Dhoni/Flower/Sanga over Gilchrist. It`s as clear as day for me.

    I would like to point out though that (per my calculations) Sobers(6 entries in the list) and Botham (5) played in 21 series which qualified, Flintoff(4)from 19, and Miller(4) from only 11.

    Miller also had easily the best bowling average of the 4 (22.97) - (only Botham of the others averaged under 30), and averaged more with the bat than either Botham or Flintoff. He`s my pick for No.2 behind the mighty West Indian. [[ Yes, I have always felt that the modern followers have never given due credit to Miller. And the opposition during the 1940s-50s that he faced was quite good. He probably under-achieved as a batsman but more than made up with his bowling. Ananth: ]]

  • george m on September 14, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    I see that you've made a sincere attempt to rate the keepers performance. However, isn't it the bowlers getting the edge creating all those catches for the keepers to take? Giving credit to the keepers is a little misleading but stumpings would be fair call. [[ The comparisons are only across keepers and only across all-rounders. Why mix these up. The credit given to a dismissal is notional and is the same for ALL keeper dismissals. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 14, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Throwing out an "honorable mention" to Alan Davidson. He was, like many, a bowling all rounder, and unfortunately doesn't meet Ananth's criteria, but he put out some handy performances.

    180 runs, ave. 36 & 24 wickets, ave. 19 - 58/59 vs Eng 212 runs, ave 30 & 33 wickets, ave. 18 -60/61 vs WI 151 runs, ave 30 & 23 wickets, ave. 24 - 61 vs Eng

    Furthermore, he probably didn't get to bat in every innings in those matches either, which might have something to do with him missing the cut off for runs. [[ WS, I have mitigated such situations to some extent by using as the basis the number of Tests the player played in and not the number of Tests in the series. I should (but would not, since it will open that Pandora's box !!!) make a special entry of the 1960-61 series performance. But your reference to that is some recognition. Ananth: ]]

    re: Adam Gilchrist, I agree with Ananth's assessment. I keep hearing "he wasn't as good as Healy behind the stumps", but based on what I've seen, that just isn't true. He missed just as little behind the stumps - which is a greater indication of keeping ability than how many he took - as Healy. Probably less.Its just that he didn't look as good as stylish, largely because he was a taller man. And obviously, he was a far better bat.

    Ananth - nothing by Les Ames make the cut? [[ While Ames had a good average as a batsman, his keeping was only at around 2 dismissals per Test, quite low as fas as keepers go. Ananth: ]]

  • kayman on September 14, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    No one was ever as great as Wasim Akram as an all rounder. Which people feared when he is bowling and they feared when he was batting. Their are still a lot more like him in Pakistan if one wants to look deep in the paying grounds across the country. If Pakistan doesn't pick this talent soon foreign nations should do that. [[ How can other nations pick up a great all-rounder playing in, say, Quetta today. They have got couple of exciting youngsters into the team now playing in Zimbabwe. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    Ah, been waiting for this one! Thanks Ananth. I`ll go ahead and read it now shall I...

  • shaun on September 14, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Excellent article especially the wicketkeeping section , amazed Haddin even gets a footnote given how many people want to get rid of him asap however it does rather prove what a legend Gilly surely was.

  • Santosh Sequeira on September 14, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Ananth

    Since Sobers and Gilchrist lead their repespective tables is there any way you can compare and evaluate who could have been more effective, I know Gilly was involved in more wins but in terms of their personal contribution? [[ Instead of comparing, and indirectly pulling down one, Laver(Sobers) and Federer(Gilchrist) let us enjoy their true greatness. In my opinion, the two greatest all-round players ever. Ananth: ]]

    Secondly it shows the dirth of quality allrounders in the history of Indian cricket if you leave aside Kapil Dev. You can say Mankad was better than avarage.

    Cheers

    Santosh

  • Nitin Gautam on September 14, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Another exceptional statistical blog. Actually I used to open cricinfo to see if another edition of "IT Figures" have come or not. Though I have never been a big fan of Kapil Dev as an allrounder but its still somewhat disappointing not to see his name among the foremost all-rounders in the cricketing history & equally surprised to see Flintoff outnumbering the great Imran Khan even after such tough parameters even though Flintoff, for me, didnt have such exceptional all-rounding skill as Imran had. Having said that No one so far N probably no one ever will surpass Kapil Dev's record of 5K+ runs & 434 wickets in the cricket history.

    thoroughly enjoyed this blog [[ Pl see the response to Pawan. I think Kapil would have made a greater impact as an all-rounder if he had retired 16 tests earlier, immediately after reaching 400, or at least after another 5 tests or so. Ananth: ]]

  • Pavan on September 14, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    'I would conclude saying that, as wicket-keeper allrounders go, Gilchrist is as far ahead of the rest of the field as Bradman was, of the next batsmen'

    Very true.. He changed the way wicketkeepers were considered.. Dhoni may be a match for Gilly in the shorter versions but he has yet to achieve similar success in Tests

    There was no doubt that in terms of series wise performances Sobers as an all-rounder was unparalleled but was surprised by the high no of such performances by Freddie and lack of them from Kapil and Imran to an extent [[ I think Flintoff has been under-rated by many, including English followers. He was an impact player and but for injuries would have scaled Bothamian heights. Ananth: ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Pavan on September 14, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    'I would conclude saying that, as wicket-keeper allrounders go, Gilchrist is as far ahead of the rest of the field as Bradman was, of the next batsmen'

    Very true.. He changed the way wicketkeepers were considered.. Dhoni may be a match for Gilly in the shorter versions but he has yet to achieve similar success in Tests

    There was no doubt that in terms of series wise performances Sobers as an all-rounder was unparalleled but was surprised by the high no of such performances by Freddie and lack of them from Kapil and Imran to an extent [[ I think Flintoff has been under-rated by many, including English followers. He was an impact player and but for injuries would have scaled Bothamian heights. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on September 14, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Another exceptional statistical blog. Actually I used to open cricinfo to see if another edition of "IT Figures" have come or not. Though I have never been a big fan of Kapil Dev as an allrounder but its still somewhat disappointing not to see his name among the foremost all-rounders in the cricketing history & equally surprised to see Flintoff outnumbering the great Imran Khan even after such tough parameters even though Flintoff, for me, didnt have such exceptional all-rounding skill as Imran had. Having said that No one so far N probably no one ever will surpass Kapil Dev's record of 5K+ runs & 434 wickets in the cricket history.

    thoroughly enjoyed this blog [[ Pl see the response to Pawan. I think Kapil would have made a greater impact as an all-rounder if he had retired 16 tests earlier, immediately after reaching 400, or at least after another 5 tests or so. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on September 14, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Ananth

    Since Sobers and Gilchrist lead their repespective tables is there any way you can compare and evaluate who could have been more effective, I know Gilly was involved in more wins but in terms of their personal contribution? [[ Instead of comparing, and indirectly pulling down one, Laver(Sobers) and Federer(Gilchrist) let us enjoy their true greatness. In my opinion, the two greatest all-round players ever. Ananth: ]]

    Secondly it shows the dirth of quality allrounders in the history of Indian cricket if you leave aside Kapil Dev. You can say Mankad was better than avarage.

    Cheers

    Santosh

  • shaun on September 14, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Excellent article especially the wicketkeeping section , amazed Haddin even gets a footnote given how many people want to get rid of him asap however it does rather prove what a legend Gilly surely was.

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    Ah, been waiting for this one! Thanks Ananth. I`ll go ahead and read it now shall I...

  • kayman on September 14, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    No one was ever as great as Wasim Akram as an all rounder. Which people feared when he is bowling and they feared when he was batting. Their are still a lot more like him in Pakistan if one wants to look deep in the paying grounds across the country. If Pakistan doesn't pick this talent soon foreign nations should do that. [[ How can other nations pick up a great all-rounder playing in, say, Quetta today. They have got couple of exciting youngsters into the team now playing in Zimbabwe. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 14, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Throwing out an "honorable mention" to Alan Davidson. He was, like many, a bowling all rounder, and unfortunately doesn't meet Ananth's criteria, but he put out some handy performances.

    180 runs, ave. 36 & 24 wickets, ave. 19 - 58/59 vs Eng 212 runs, ave 30 & 33 wickets, ave. 18 -60/61 vs WI 151 runs, ave 30 & 23 wickets, ave. 24 - 61 vs Eng

    Furthermore, he probably didn't get to bat in every innings in those matches either, which might have something to do with him missing the cut off for runs. [[ WS, I have mitigated such situations to some extent by using as the basis the number of Tests the player played in and not the number of Tests in the series. I should (but would not, since it will open that Pandora's box !!!) make a special entry of the 1960-61 series performance. But your reference to that is some recognition. Ananth: ]]

    re: Adam Gilchrist, I agree with Ananth's assessment. I keep hearing "he wasn't as good as Healy behind the stumps", but based on what I've seen, that just isn't true. He missed just as little behind the stumps - which is a greater indication of keeping ability than how many he took - as Healy. Probably less.Its just that he didn't look as good as stylish, largely because he was a taller man. And obviously, he was a far better bat.

    Ananth - nothing by Les Ames make the cut? [[ While Ames had a good average as a batsman, his keeping was only at around 2 dismissals per Test, quite low as fas as keepers go. Ananth: ]]

  • george m on September 14, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    I see that you've made a sincere attempt to rate the keepers performance. However, isn't it the bowlers getting the edge creating all those catches for the keepers to take? Giving credit to the keepers is a little misleading but stumpings would be fair call. [[ The comparisons are only across keepers and only across all-rounders. Why mix these up. The credit given to a dismissal is notional and is the same for ALL keeper dismissals. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    It certainly doesn`t surprise me that the greatest all-rounder and greatest wicket-keeper/batsman of all time come out on top in an analysis of this sort.

    Recent World XI selections have encouraged discussion about such things, and I`ve been flabbergasted that people have gone for Kapil/Kallis over Sobers, or Dhoni/Flower/Sanga over Gilchrist. It`s as clear as day for me.

    I would like to point out though that (per my calculations) Sobers(6 entries in the list) and Botham (5) played in 21 series which qualified, Flintoff(4)from 19, and Miller(4) from only 11.

    Miller also had easily the best bowling average of the 4 (22.97) - (only Botham of the others averaged under 30), and averaged more with the bat than either Botham or Flintoff. He`s my pick for No.2 behind the mighty West Indian. [[ Yes, I have always felt that the modern followers have never given due credit to Miller. And the opposition during the 1940s-50s that he faced was quite good. He probably under-achieved as a batsman but more than made up with his bowling. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 14, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    @Nitin Gautam. I`m not sure that Kapil`s record (from 133 tests) is all that insurmountable. Dan Vettori, after a little over 100 tests, at age 32, has about 4100 runs and 350 wickets. If he plays for another 3 or 4 years he`ll get there. Both wonderful players, but not World XI class.