January 2, 2014

Can Kallis really be called an allrounder?

Jacques Kallis was among the greatest of batsmen who could bowl, but he doesn't belong to the pantheon of legendary allrounders like Sobers, Imran and Botham
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Kallis never assumed the responsibility for South Africa's bowling that Imran, Sobers and Botham did for their teams
Kallis never assumed the responsibility for South Africa's bowling that Imran, Sobers and Botham did for their teams © AFP

I have argued previously that Jacques Kallis is not a Test allrounder because that is not what South Africa wanted him to be. South Africa did not use him as an allrounder. They used him as a batsman who could bowl. The cricket world, by and large, seems to disagree. I'm curious as to why that is, because an allrounder is a player who is good enough to make the team as a specialist batsman, or as a specialist bowler, and is used in both those roles.

We are far more willing to accept modest bowlers as allrounders than we are modest batsmen. A batsman who averages 30 and bowls well immediately becomes a "bowling allrounder". Ian Botham and Imran Khan have been categorised in this way. A bowler who bowls at a decent speed is categorised as an allrounder far more readily, like Shane Watson over Shane Warne. Bowlers who can deliver a few overs each day, maybe bowl to an established partnership, are considered bowlers far more readily than are lower-order batsmen who can figure in a stand with a set batsman and make 25 on their own, especially if these bowlers bowl seam-up and can deliver the ball upwards of 130kph.

The gold standard for an allrounder in the era of the four great allrounders - Hadlee, Kapil, Botham and Imran - was the double - 3000 runs and 300 wickets. This was difficult to achieve, given that most Test players in that era played just over 100 Tests. Bowlers played closer to 80. The three great, genuine allrounders - Botham, Imran and Sobers - fell away towards the end of their careers. They took on less responsibility, especially on the bowling side.

Ian Botham played Tests from 1977 to 1992, but played only 29 Tests in the last seven years of that span, scoring his runs at 25 and taking his wickets at 37. In the first eight years, in 73 Tests, he made 4159 runs at 36.5 (with 13 hundreds from 125 innings) and took 312 wickets at 26.2, bowling 39 overs per match. He was a regular match-winner for England with bat and ball.

Imran Khan played from 1971 to 1992, but played most of his 88 Tests from 1977 to 1990. In 77 Tests during this period, he made 3437 runs at 39.05 and took 342 wickets at 21.61, bowling 38 overs per Test. His record over 48 Tests as captain is arguably the single greatest all-round record in all of Test cricket.

Garry Sobers was picked for West Indies as a teenager in 1954. His primary role was that of a spin bowler. He batted deep in the tail. Unlike Botham and Imran, Sobers didn't focus on one style of bowling. He could bowl fingerspin, wristspin and pace. He dominated several series with both bat and ball, especially in the 1960s. He was arguably the greatest left-hand batsman in the game. As a bowler, he performed two contrasting roles. Under Frank Worrell, he took 58 wickets at 28 in 15 Tests from 1960 to 1963. He bowled 47 overs per Test in all three styles in a strong West Indian attack with Wes Hall at his peak. As captain, Sobers presided over an ageing Hall and a period of transition in the late 1960s and early 1970s when West Indies didn't have much bowling apart from Sobers and Gibbs. Sobers bowled 46 overs per match in those 39 Tests, taking 117 wickets at 34.

Sobers the bowler was not quite in the class of Imran or Botham when it came to taking wickets. But in terms of the all-round responsibility he took on, he was easily in their class. He dominated multiple series with bat and ball: 424 runs and 23 wickets against India in 1961-62, 322 runs and 20 wickets in England in 1963, and, in what is arguably the greatest all-round performance in a single series, 722 runs, 20 wickets and ten catches in England in 1966. Add to this 497 runs and 18 wickets in Australia in 1968-69 and 342 runs and 14 wickets in three Tests in India in 1966-67. By his own reckoning in Twenty Years At The Top, Sobers could bowl at Joel Garner's pace. In the 1960s, Sobers averaged 93 runs and 3.3 wickets per Test.

Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee did not consider themselves allrounders, repeatedly stating that they were bowlers who could bat, much like Shaun Pollock.

The difference between Kallis and the three great genuine allrounders lies not just in the numbers but in a singular fact that the numbers make abundantly clear. Kallis took 292 wickets in 166 Tests. He bowled on average 20 overs per Test. At his bowling peak, under Pollock's captaincy, from 2000 to 2003, Kallis averaged 24 overs per Test. For the most part, he bowled about 12 overs per innings and 20 overs per Test. Compared to Imran, Botham and Sobers, Kallis was marginal to South Africa's bowling plans. He did not assume the same bowling responsibility that those three great allrounders did for their teams. Imran and Botham were bowlers of a different class too.

Some commentators, including ex-players, have claimed that Kallis' record as a bowler is about as good as that of Brett Lee or Zaheer Khan. This type of remark just goes to show how flippant much of the ex-player-commentariat is. There is as much distance between Kallis' record as a bowler and that of Zaheer or Lee as there is between Lee's and Zaheer's records and those of Dale Steyn or Allan Donald.

Had Kallis taken on a workload similar to those of Botham or Imran or Zaheer or Lee, would he have lasted 18 years as an international cricketer? Probably not. At this juncture, you might make the tired point about the workloads of contemporary cricketers. Ninety-three Tests over 20 years and 166 over 18 years certainly suggests this at first glance. But I put it to you that contemporary bowlers travel more comfortably and play less cricket compared to top players since the Second World War. Here's a sample that proves this claim. I include all cricket classed as first-class (including Tests), List A (including ODIs) and T20s (including IPL, county and internationals).

Bowlers' workloads over the years
Bowlers' workloads over the years © Kartikeya Date

Contemporary bowlers bowl less than their counterparts from the 1960s and 1980s. There is more money in cricket now, travel is more comfortable, and today's players play a larger share of T20 and ODI cricket. Steyn, for example, has played about an equal number of first-class, 50-over and 20-over games. The overs per match start declining as the share of limited-overs games increases. The overs-per-year measure provides a better picture of the workload, in my view. Lee's record is peculiar. He made his debut during the 1994-95 season. He played his last first-class game in July 2009. He also never played county cricket.

An analysis of GPS data shows that Mitchell Johnson covered 23 kilometres during the first day of the MCG Test, including in it 144 sprints. Johnson bowled 20 overs that day. The length of his run-up is not unusual. He's a better fielder than most. It was a slow-scoring day with only 226 runs scored in 89 overs. The MCG is larger than the average Test ground. Keep all that in mind when you use this priceless data point and apply it to the guys who bowled 700-plus overs per year on average during their careers - probably close to 1000 a year during their peak years.

The reason Kallis does not belong in the elite group of allrounders is because he was never a bowler in the same way that Imran or Botham or Sobers were bowlers. To use a baseball analogy, those three were starting pitchers, much like Wasim Akram and Steyn and Malcolm Marshall and Donald. Kallis, at best, was a middle reliever. To call Kallis an allrounder alongside Botham, Imran or Sobers is to make a category error.

Why do we make this category error more readily in the case of bowlers? Or rather, why do we expect less from bowlers than we do from batsmen? Would we, for example, be willing to regard Kallis' 292 wickets in 166 Tests the way we might Warne's 3154 runs in 145 Tests? Had Warne been a batsman, he would have made about 7500 to 9000 runs if he scored at the rate of Botham or Imran, and about 11,500 if he scored at the rate of Kallis. Specialist middle-order Test batsmen average between 70-80 runs per Test. So he scored between one-third and one-fourth the runs a specialist batsman should have made. Applying the same standard to Kallis, at Zaheer's rate (90 Tests, 302 wickets, despite bowling in India, where spinners bowl most of the overs), he should have taken somewhere between 550 and 575 wickets. He ended up with about half that. At the rate of Imran or Botham, he would have somewhere between 675-725 wickets. Perhaps Warne as an example is a stretch. Warne never made a Test hundred, while Kallis has taken five five wicket-hauls.

How about Pollock? Pollock is considered a bowler who would bat. He rarely batted above No. 8 in the South African order. He made 3781 runs in 108 Tests. That's about as good an effort with the bat as Kallis' effort with the ball. Perhaps even better, at least in terms of what a specialist might achieve. But no one considers Pollock a genuine, all-time-great allrounder, one who belongs alongside Sobers, Imran and Botham.

So why do we have one standard for Kallis - the batsman who could bowl - and another for Pollock, the bowler who could bat? If we are honest, genuine allrounders are the rarest category in Test cricket. For the most part, Test cricket is made up of specialists - batsmen and bowlers - and some of these specialists have secondary skills, like Kallis and Pollock.

Fast bowlers are often damned with faint praise. "He runs in all day," we hear. Fast bowling is perhaps the most difficult art in sport. Where batting is the art of managing split-seconds, fast bowling is the art of managing inches. As a sporting art that combines explosive power, sustained concentration and precision, fast bowling has few equals.

If we paid attention to the talents required to bowl fast, perhaps we wouldn't equate Kallis' record to Lee's, or ignore the difference between bowling 20 overs and bowling 40 in a game, or ignore the immense difference between taking the responsibility of being the team's strike bowler (of which there are usually only two, occasionally three, in any XI) and that of being a change bowler.

That we consider Kallis an allrounder shows the extent to which we misunderstand both his cricket, in specific, and fast bowling, in general. Kallis was no Test allrounder. He was perhaps the greatest among that more common category of Test players - batsmen who can bowl. I think he limited his bowling in favour of batting. Test cricket is richer for it.

Kartikeya Date writes at A Cricketing View and tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kartikeya on January 2, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    Thanks for the mamy many comments. I'll try to respond in a few short points:

    1. Imran averaged 52 with the bat as captain. And 37 over all (the same as Atherton for example). Botham made 13 100s in 125 innings in the first 8 years of his career. Better than the average for top order (1-6) players at the time.

    2. My point is not to say that Kallis is not an all rounder in some general sense. It is to say that he's not an all rounder in the sense that Imran, Kallis, Sobers and Miller were all rounders. I didn't go into Miller only because I felt Imran, Sobers and Botham were sufficient to make the point.

    3. I think there is a huge difference between bowling 20 overs in a match and 40 overs in a match. The point is one of <i>responsibility</i> and sheer effort. This is why there is a huge difference between Kallis's record and Zaheer and Lee's. Botham bowled as much as Zaheer or Lee and still made a century every 10 innings for 73 Tests and 8 years.

  • cricaddict9118 on January 2, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    Really fantastic work by Kartikeya! I don't see any fault in analysis and is perhaps true that Kallis is one of greatest batsman who could bowl and not an allrounder.. Th only aspect which is missed is qualitative impact on SA team which can never be quantified.. But amazing article !

  • k.mithilesh on January 7, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Congratulations...enough said...

  • Alan_Hibbert on January 7, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    The total volume of cricket also impacts the analysis. You cannot look at test cricket in isolation.

  • Sazzwazz on January 6, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    by your arguments, the only genuine all rounder in the current timeline is SHAKIB AL HASAN! not that i'm complaining :P

  • Kamal22 on January 6, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    There is a lot of nitpicking here about workload, in order to be qualified as an allrounder. This is certainly not how teams pick allrounders. If someone gives them a stable option beyond their core expertise; either with bat or ball, then they get classified as allrounders, and this gets reflected in the selection of other team members. Teams with allrounders get to play an additional specialist beyond THIS allrounders who himself is a specialist in at least one field. At least that is how this man would have entered the team in the first place! Work load quibble is immaterial/concocted prop, and if considered then it should be with both bat & ball. Not cherry picking. One way Kallis is unique is that he is the only batsman allrounder with 140kmph bowling ability, and strike rate that is much better than Sobers, by a large margin. No offence to Sobers though. Personally I'm not South African but dont like the goal posts to be narrowed down for one person only.

  • Kamal22 on January 5, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    There is a lot of nitpicking here about workload, in order to be qualified as an allrounder. This is certainly not how teams pick allrounders. If someone gives them a stable option beyond their core expertise; either with bat or ball, then they get classified as allrounders, and this gets reflected in the selection of other team members. Teams with allrounders get to play an additional specialist beyond THIS allrounders who himself is a specialist in at least one field. At least that is how this man would have entered the team in the first place! Work load quibble is immaterial/concocted prop, and if considered then it should be with both bat & ball. Not cherry picking. One way Kallis is unique is that he is the only batsman allrounder with 140kmph bowling ability, and strike rate that is much better than Sobers, by a large margin. No offence to Sobers though. Personally I'm not South African but dont like the goal posts to be narrowed down for one person only.

  • cric_options on January 5, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Neither Kallis nor Sobers can be called a true allrounder. This is why. To be in the elite group of allrounders through all the years that test cricket has been played, one must fulfil the following criteria. Taken more than 100 test wickets, scored more than 2000 runs. At a batting average greater than or equal to the average batting average of all number 6 and 7 position batsmen to have played the game. And this comes to 29.8. And at a bowling average of lesser than all bowlers to have played the game, and this comes to 32. Strangely, both Kallis and Sobers do not qualify. The pre-eminent allrounder of all time is Imran Khan, followed by Miller. Sobers was a great batsman, who could bowl very well, but did not meet the standards of a great bowler. Kallis too was in the same mould. Though Sobers as an allrounder is much superior to Kallis. The problem with Imran Khan is, his batting average grew at the time when he shared very less bowling responsibilities. So there is some flaw there

  • RB007 on January 5, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I started reading with a healthy dose of skepticism. By the time, I finsihed, I was already a convert. The recent retirement of Kallis had generated all types of hype. One comment that grated made Kallis the equivalent of Dravid and Zaheer. In talent and skills while that might have been true, in terms of workload, responsibility and effort, it was way off the mark. An average of 1.7 wickets per test match meant he was filling in as the fourth seamer/ fifth bowler to rest the strike bowlers and break partnerships. Simply comparing averages is not enough. He played for the leading Test team second only to the Aussies. Dravid and Zak played for middling teams who travelled poorly. Great article and a paradigm breaker as far as I am concerned. Sobers and Imran still the finest in my book!

  • on January 5, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Very well argued by Kartikeya Date. The point is not whether Kallis would have been a great all rounder had he been used as one. He was not used as an all rounder - he was a very successful batsman who also contributed well with the ball.

  • kartikeya on January 2, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    Thanks for the mamy many comments. I'll try to respond in a few short points:

    1. Imran averaged 52 with the bat as captain. And 37 over all (the same as Atherton for example). Botham made 13 100s in 125 innings in the first 8 years of his career. Better than the average for top order (1-6) players at the time.

    2. My point is not to say that Kallis is not an all rounder in some general sense. It is to say that he's not an all rounder in the sense that Imran, Kallis, Sobers and Miller were all rounders. I didn't go into Miller only because I felt Imran, Sobers and Botham were sufficient to make the point.

    3. I think there is a huge difference between bowling 20 overs in a match and 40 overs in a match. The point is one of <i>responsibility</i> and sheer effort. This is why there is a huge difference between Kallis's record and Zaheer and Lee's. Botham bowled as much as Zaheer or Lee and still made a century every 10 innings for 73 Tests and 8 years.

  • cricaddict9118 on January 2, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    Really fantastic work by Kartikeya! I don't see any fault in analysis and is perhaps true that Kallis is one of greatest batsman who could bowl and not an allrounder.. Th only aspect which is missed is qualitative impact on SA team which can never be quantified.. But amazing article !

  • k.mithilesh on January 7, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Congratulations...enough said...

  • Alan_Hibbert on January 7, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    The total volume of cricket also impacts the analysis. You cannot look at test cricket in isolation.

  • Sazzwazz on January 6, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    by your arguments, the only genuine all rounder in the current timeline is SHAKIB AL HASAN! not that i'm complaining :P

  • Kamal22 on January 6, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    There is a lot of nitpicking here about workload, in order to be qualified as an allrounder. This is certainly not how teams pick allrounders. If someone gives them a stable option beyond their core expertise; either with bat or ball, then they get classified as allrounders, and this gets reflected in the selection of other team members. Teams with allrounders get to play an additional specialist beyond THIS allrounders who himself is a specialist in at least one field. At least that is how this man would have entered the team in the first place! Work load quibble is immaterial/concocted prop, and if considered then it should be with both bat & ball. Not cherry picking. One way Kallis is unique is that he is the only batsman allrounder with 140kmph bowling ability, and strike rate that is much better than Sobers, by a large margin. No offence to Sobers though. Personally I'm not South African but dont like the goal posts to be narrowed down for one person only.

  • Kamal22 on January 5, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    There is a lot of nitpicking here about workload, in order to be qualified as an allrounder. This is certainly not how teams pick allrounders. If someone gives them a stable option beyond their core expertise; either with bat or ball, then they get classified as allrounders, and this gets reflected in the selection of other team members. Teams with allrounders get to play an additional specialist beyond THIS allrounders who himself is a specialist in at least one field. At least that is how this man would have entered the team in the first place! Work load quibble is immaterial/concocted prop, and if considered then it should be with both bat & ball. Not cherry picking. One way Kallis is unique is that he is the only batsman allrounder with 140kmph bowling ability, and strike rate that is much better than Sobers, by a large margin. No offence to Sobers though. Personally I'm not South African but dont like the goal posts to be narrowed down for one person only.

  • cric_options on January 5, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Neither Kallis nor Sobers can be called a true allrounder. This is why. To be in the elite group of allrounders through all the years that test cricket has been played, one must fulfil the following criteria. Taken more than 100 test wickets, scored more than 2000 runs. At a batting average greater than or equal to the average batting average of all number 6 and 7 position batsmen to have played the game. And this comes to 29.8. And at a bowling average of lesser than all bowlers to have played the game, and this comes to 32. Strangely, both Kallis and Sobers do not qualify. The pre-eminent allrounder of all time is Imran Khan, followed by Miller. Sobers was a great batsman, who could bowl very well, but did not meet the standards of a great bowler. Kallis too was in the same mould. Though Sobers as an allrounder is much superior to Kallis. The problem with Imran Khan is, his batting average grew at the time when he shared very less bowling responsibilities. So there is some flaw there

  • RB007 on January 5, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I started reading with a healthy dose of skepticism. By the time, I finsihed, I was already a convert. The recent retirement of Kallis had generated all types of hype. One comment that grated made Kallis the equivalent of Dravid and Zaheer. In talent and skills while that might have been true, in terms of workload, responsibility and effort, it was way off the mark. An average of 1.7 wickets per test match meant he was filling in as the fourth seamer/ fifth bowler to rest the strike bowlers and break partnerships. Simply comparing averages is not enough. He played for the leading Test team second only to the Aussies. Dravid and Zak played for middling teams who travelled poorly. Great article and a paradigm breaker as far as I am concerned. Sobers and Imran still the finest in my book!

  • on January 5, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Very well argued by Kartikeya Date. The point is not whether Kallis would have been a great all rounder had he been used as one. He was not used as an all rounder - he was a very successful batsman who also contributed well with the ball.

  • Emancipator007 on January 5, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    Wud like to inform younger fans here that Kapil was not just a brilliant seam/swing bowler who cud bat. He was ACTUALLY the 3rd most naturally gifted bat after Viv & Gower in '80s. He regularly caned WI pace attacks in both Tests/ODIs (at 90 SR!!!).He was ONLY 1 of Big 4 to hit 3 100s against WI in' 80s. Kaps ODI SR was phenom 95 -2nd only to Viv. He also thrashed Eng (score 1000 plus runs at 41-better than many bats) & Pak's pace attacks too. Kap performed superbly with both bat/ball against WI/Pak -best teams of that era. Botham cud barely buy runs or fetch wickets against WI in every subsequent series that he faced them after star turns against India/OZ/Pak. Perhaps the only "pure" all-rounder (equally adept in both bat/bowl) who opened both batting/bowling was Prabhakar & did creditable all-round turns on Pak/Eng/OZ tours of 90s.Cairns is another supreme bat with good bowling skills (much like Brian McMillan of SA).

  • on January 4, 2014, 23:48 GMT

    Imran Khan is clearly the all-rounder with the greatest impact. He single handedly won dozens of matches for Pakistan with both bat and ball. At his peak,he destroyed great batting line-ups to rubble, and when his bowling speed diminished, his batting average in the last ten years remained in excess of 50, which is probably the new 60. He captained Pakistan for ten years and won the world cup as well. Beat that!

  • Joe-car on January 4, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Whenever anyone talks about Sobers like to point out that he could bowl left arm medium & slow left arm. They say that as if that makes him special or better than any other bowler. Sachin and Symos could both bowl seam up and spin and that hardly made them special. In fact I would venture that Sobers' left medium and slow left arm weren't good enough to earn him wickets on a regular basis when the pitch conditions weren't favourable, so he had to switch between his bowling methods depending on pitch conditions. And with a strike rate of 91.9 him being selected as a specialist bowler(like we are made to believe) had nothing to do with his great skills and everything to do with the sorry state of WI bowling at the time. Furthermore, every great bowler in the history of cricket has only bowled one style and never had to resort to another to pick up wickets or rely so much on pitch conditions. Anyone who doesn't think Kallis is a genuine allrounder doesn't know his cricket all that well.

  • adeng on January 4, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    My question would be - had Kallis not been as good a batsman as he was (i.e. averaging only about 15 or 20) and allowed to develop his bowling (swing in particular) more - would you not have selected him? I would select Kallis the bowler any day - especially in the early days when he was really taking on the workload and even opening the bowling!

  • BigDataIsAHoax on January 4, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    You Sir have way too much spare time. A lame attempt to stir something up. Kallis is the BEST in history. nearly 300 wickets, 14K runs and 200 catches. 45 hundred! Countless match saving/winning innings. Really lame for you to say he can't be considered an all rounder.

  • kentjones on January 4, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    Reading some of the comments we must be reminded that Sobers was the greatest allrounder in the history of the game. He was a supreme artist with the bat who not only scored huge hundreds, but the manner in which he did so. He had all the shots in the book and could destroy and dominate any bowling attack. He held the battibg record with a score of 365 but also played many fine innings including a superb 254 against Australia descriibed by \Don Bradman as the finest he has seen. His bowling was outstanding since he would have made the West Indies side as a bowler alone. He could bowl left-arm orthodox and wrist spin, but was also a dbagerous fast-medium opening bowlerthat could use the new ball to good effect. Please remember Sobers only played 93 tests socring over 8000 runs and taking over 200 wickets. Who knows what he could have done if he had played longer His catching close to the wicket may have been equalled but never surpassed, and he was a brilliant fielder anywhere.

  • on January 4, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    You are missing a point here. Kallis was for most part of his career his team's best batsman. It all boiled down to which skill of his was more important for the SA team. He was their batting mainstay. Plus he batted in the top 4. His batting style was such that he had to hold one end up and bat for hours together. What this meant was the team management always had him have easy when it came to his bowling. If he was not their main batsman, he may have bowled more overs. If he had focused more on his bowling, who is say that he would not have ended with 400 wickets, because he was that talented. He consistently clocked 135 plus and could swing the ball out. He was quicker than Botham, Kapil , Imran( at least the Imran of the later half of his career). It is just that the team management tried to utilize one of skills more and give him adequate rest. If the workload was the other way round- he would have come trumps too.

  • on January 4, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Jacques Kallis' bowling was carefully managed so that he bowled fewer overs before batting at positions 3 or 4 for most of his career. Ian Botham and Imran Khan batted at 6 or 7 and Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev batted at 8 or 9 hence they would have had more time to recover. If Kallis had batted at 6 or 7 he would have bowled more overs. By the same token if Botham, Khan, Hadlee and Dev had assumed more responsibilty by batting higher up in the order they would not have bowled so many overs. Kallis bowled at 130-140km/hour. Garfield Sobers was a slow bowler so he could bowl more overs and also bat higher up. In my opinion these 6 players are undoubtedly the greatest allrounders the game has ever seen and to try to compare or rank these players against each other will be an injustice to the game.

  • StaalBurgher on January 3, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    Sobers cannot be the no.1 all rounder. His strike rate was a shocking 90.

  • Biohazard7279 on January 3, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    @Kartikeya It is absolutely absurd that you consider Kallis' entire career, yet you omit several lean years from Botham and Khan's record. I'm sure you can come up with brilliant stats for Kallis when you don't take his entire 18 years of playing test cricket into consideration.

    South Africa didn't rely on the bowling of Kallis as much due to a powerful bowling attack through the years. Kallis rarely got the chance to finish of the tail, he was responsible for creating pressure and breaking partnerships. Had Kallis been utilized as a strike bowler, he would've been far more successful, but why is that necessary with bowlers like Donald, Ntini, Klusener, Pollock, Steyn, Morkel and Philander?

    In my mind, Kallis will always be the 2nd greatest allrounder ever, with Sobers being number 1. Just because Kallis didn't bowl as much as the others on your list, doesn't mean he is any worse of a bowler. He also had the added workload of playing ODI's and T20's, unlike the rest on your list.

  • on January 3, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Excellent article.. The one I was looking for

  • needgreenpitches4bowlingallrounders on January 3, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    awesome article one thing this article failed to achieve is longevity if that's the case all tendulkars records should be trashed and said someone like hashim amla or virat is much better cricketer.. Kallis playing more tests and have sustained low number of overs doesn't mean he can't be considered as an allrounder.. he gives balance to any team.. Even in recent test he came first change or second change to rest main bowlers.. Playing 18 years with 20 overs a test is not a joke..I piety these kind of articles and authors who make name just by poking at legends.. If it was so easy to generate allrounders all countries would have similar players who lasted 15 years of test cricket with so much ODI cricket played along side.. key is player management and cricket SA has done great thing by managing Kalli's work load!!

  • kentjones on January 3, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    This is a really good article. What Mr. Kartikeya Date has done is gone behind the veneer that is called statistics. He has just proven the well worn saying: "There are lies, damn lies and then there are staistics! Kallis scorer of over 13000 test runs and 292 wickets will always be an ewnormous feat any way you look at it. But if the runs and wickets are mistakenly combined to craft a statistically great allrounder, then as Mr. Date says, it is an unfortunate mistake, genuinely made, but still a mistake. Mr. Kallis wll always be remembered for his ability, primarily in my view, as an outstanding dependable batsmen whose orthodoxy and coreectness ensured stability and strength in the SA middle order for his years at tenure. His bowling was good and sharp enough to take crucial wickets at important times for SA, but never incisive enough to command a place independently, whereas Sobers and Khan could hold their places on their bowling merit alone. This distinction is crucial.

  • on January 3, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    sobers was batsman who could bowl a bit, but would not have been selected for his bowlig alone

  • MaruthuDelft on January 3, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Judging a player through stats has a long way to go before it can be trusted. For example many would miss this point. The writer believes Imrans was a specialist batsman and a specialist bowler. But not certainly at the same time. After he injured himself before the 1983 WC he played as specialist batsman without bowling. Still he never performed well against Aus and Windies. After he recovered in the series/tournaments he bowled well he actually didn't bat well. And from 1971 to 1980 he was not good with the bat. He was never a natural batsman but a great and first fast bowler from Asia but not great in opening spells. Hadlee too just developed into a batsman like Imran but was a more potent bowler. Kapil lacked pace so couldn't enforce. He was a very talented batter but was extremely vulnerable. Botham was the real genuine allrounder. I don't know about Sobers. However Kallis is not a great allrounder; that is right. Kallis never operated on top gear like the other allrounders.

  • abiose on January 3, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    Jaques is one of my favorite cricketers, I think he was a phenomenal batsman that can bowl very well but I believe Sobers was the greatest allrounder. for example if we go by strike rate and number of matches Sobers would have about 14500 test runs and over 400 wickets if he played 166matches. Botham would be somewhere around 7000 runs and 700 wickets. Jaques was a special batsman, if he did not bow he might have gotten another 2-3 thousand runs.

  • its.rachit on January 3, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Flawed analysis .. and even flawed omment to justify it Kartikeya .. how can you take only 8 years of Botham's career asa discussion point ... or Imran's tenure as Captain ... highly immature arguments ... you belong to the category who think that anyone coming to bat at higher than no.6 is a batsman ... and to be an all-rounder you need to bat at no.6 or no.7 . then by the argument, a bowler must bowl 2nd or 3rd change to be an all-rounder ... a new ball bowler is a bowler, not an all-rounder ... very wrong analysis and conclusions ...

  • dogcatcher on January 3, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Not sure if this is a baited article? My questions in your analysis are as follows: You have out a lot of emphasis on exertion & overs bowled. Perhaps you should break down Sobers record then because quite clearly as stats show a spinner doesn't expend the same energy & bowls more. All your great all rounders had inferior batting averages at I guess a higher strike rate meaning they expended far less energy compiling their runs as say Kallis. As others have commented perhaps you should show the batting side of the story. Most of those you mentioned opened the bowling for their teams for a period but I primarily first change bowlers too like Kallis. Flambouyance though great to watch is not the measure (it depends who decides) of a truly great player. Dravid being a prime example. Kallis had a role of holding up an end be it batting or bowling, towards the end of his career you will note his batting strike rate surge! Kallis - great all rounder that deserves far more respect than this

  • CRICGALAXY1 on January 3, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    Very well put... Most striking point in the article is that we always give more credit to the good batsman who can bowl but not to a good bowler who can bat... No one can deny that Kallis as a player was very valuable for the team. He was a an all-rounder BUT we can't say He was in the league of Sobers and Imran. May be he had his different league, of his own. For me he was the best batsman who could bowl very well. He just din't have enough bowling load regularly as much as Sobers and imran had. SA were more interested to use him as their batsmen than bowler. But Imran and Sobers were main bowler and main batsman for their team... Second thing is the Impact of Imran and Sobers with both bat and ball was equally huge. But in case os Kallis, his batting was more critical than his bowling for his team.... PS : He was a gem of the team untill he played... Not being in the league of great allrounder doesn't take away anything from what he has done for his team.

  • bigmacca on January 3, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    What a dreadful article. Someone who has taken over 550 international wickets should merit acclaim for their bowling alone. Let alone for a bloke with 25000 international runs and over 300 catches. Considering Kallis spent his career playing against true greats like Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Warne etc I'd say he's the greatest all rounder of all time, to suggest anything less is incredibly disrespectful. Poor, lazy "journalism"... cricinfo I thought you were better than this.

  • on January 3, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    He certainly was one of the best allrounder to have played the game...The way he got wickets at crucial times and the way he batted for his country he must be called an allrounder an exceptional one...hats off to kallis..

  • on January 3, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    @Kartikeya:

    "I can offer one further point of clarification. The idea is not that an all rounder must be a team's best batsman or the team's best bowler. It is that a genuine all rounder takes on the responsibility and workload of a specialist batsman and a specialist bowler. Botham, Imran and Sobers did this. Kapil, Hadlee and Pollock didn't."

    He was in the ICC official rankings as an all-rounder throughout most his career, both in tests and ODIs and won the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy for his all round performance with bat and ball.

    Where did you come up with this definition of what a "genuine all-rounder" is? Based on what did you make this assertion?

  • brdmic022 on January 3, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    A really interesting point of view, backed up pretty well, I think. But probably could do with a little bit of clarification in a few areas.

    First, you say that an all-rounder is one who would be selected for either position on its own. Does that mean that the term is team-specific? That is, team's that are worse overall are more likely to have all-rounders.

    Second, you mention Kallis is less of a bowler because he bowled less. Does that mean that Brett Lee is half the bowler of Trueman, or Donald half the bowler that Statham was? Jacques Kallis took more wickets and put in less work than Zaheer, surely this is a better bowler?

    Finally, I feel it's difficult to suggest that Kallis would not have lasted 18 years if he'd been bowling more. You exclude the fact that he also played 350 ODIs. Many of the others didn't have this chance, but perhaps Kallis could have played fewer ODIs and more tests so he could get those 8 wickets so you could class him as an all-rounder.

  • on January 3, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    undoubtedly JH kallis is by far the best 'cricketer' the game has ever produced, being a batsman of sachin-ricky league and as a bowler averaging almost 32 which is equivalent to leading indian pacer Zaheer khan. . Moreover stats speaks it all, a batsman with more than 23,000 international runs next only to the two greats sachin-ricky, 550 international wickets and more than 300 catches..

  • bigsheek on January 3, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    I want to add that I think my methodology overall, is pretty accurate. I doubt anyone who knows their cricket would disagree with the top 5 test all-rounders - Sobers, Faulkner, Hadlee, Imran & Botham.

    While Sobers is the acknowledged champion batting all-rounder, Hadlee is universally acknowledged as the champion bowling all-rounder, so it is only right that he is recognised so high at no.3.

    Cairns' elevation surprised me greatly until you look closely at his record, it's very good. Wasim Akram loses ground on his batting while Kapil Dev loses ground on his bowling.

    Kallis is a very fine cricketer, but a long way from being compared to Sobers. Indeed, among fellow Saffies, both Faulkner & Goddard are ranked with higher productivity quotients (PQs).

    Finally, I want to add that had Mike Procter played more test cricket than just seven tests, I would consider him very much on a par with Imran Khan.

  • haqster499 on January 3, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    I think the author's analysis is great. Its so funny to see patriotism come through some of the comments. We all idolize players from our country and think they are the best. No one can disagree with the stats maybe you can take disagree with the author's assumptions. I think Kallis is probably one of the great batsmen of his time and a decent bowler. Hence he is an allrounder but for overall performance he is probably in the top 5 allrounders of all time after the 3 mentioned.

  • PieterBecker on January 3, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    It's a pity that the writer of this article just don't quite understand the dynamics of cricket. But hey, if Kallis was either an Indian or Australian player, he would have been the best all rounder of all time. But hence he is not therefor he is not a great bowler, batsmen or allrounder.

    For me, he was the greatest and most underrated cricketer I have ever seen!!

  • bigsheek on January 3, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    I recently did a study of ranking all-rounders using my own methodology of finding how "productive players" were in a match. But first I had to find a value for how many runs each wicket is worth.

    The average runs per match of the 20 highest run getters was 82.47. The average wickets per match of the 20 highest wicket takers was 4.12. Dividing runs by wickets gave me a value of 18.65, which I rounded up to 20.

    So to find a player's "productivity quotient" (PQ), or how busy he was, I added his career runs plus career wickets x 20, divided by total matches played.

    Here is the test list (PQ) - top 20:

    G. Sobers 136.90, A. Faulkner 135.76, R. Hadlee 135.56, Imran Khan 126.44, I. Botham 126.08, C. Cairns 123.87, V. Mankad 121.57, T. Goddard 121.37, J. Gregory 118.53, K. Miller 115.60, J. Kallis 115.23, A. Davidson 114.72, R. Benaud 113.67, S. Pollock 113.00, A. Greig 110.67, E. Barlow 110.53, Wasim Akram 107.48, D. Vettori 106.56, G. Giffen 106.39, Kapil Dev 106.32.

  • blogossip on January 3, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    now Mr kartikeya you are saying Kapil never took responsibilty as India's main pacer in your next comment. would you kindly inform us who was/were India's frontline pacers in Kapil era?

    it seems featured comments are ones where blog's stance is appreciated rather than questioned!

  • on January 3, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    Incredible article, great stats to prove the point. Eye opening! Have always said something similar to this. Gary Sobers and Imran were the two best all rounders of all time

  • on January 3, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    dear kartikeya, as a cricket fan you should know by now that stats can prove anything in this game. stats say kallis is a better batsman than tendulkar, but most agree that the latter was a greater batsman. stats say mcgrath was a better bowler than warne, but again most would disagree. as to the question posed by your article; yes i believe kallis is an allrounder. stats (such as yours) can be given to prove that he was only a batsman who sometimes bowled, while other statistics can also prove that he was the greatest allrounder of all time. in the end it comes down to what people think, and almost all would recognise kallis as an allrounder

  • rjansen on January 3, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    Dear kartikeya, You say Imran averaged 52 as captain. That sounds impressive, but surely you must take into the account the period over which this occurred? Imran only scored something like 3800 runs in total at an average of 37. His period of form as captain must have been very brief. There are many players that have high averages for certain periods of they career, but that does not make them elite all rounders.

    You seem to be willing to take small periods in the careers of Botham and Khan to qualify them as elite all rounders, but dismiss the staggering stats of Kallis over a very long career.

    If Kallis would not have been chose as a bowler only (and that is up for debate) that is surely down to the quality of the South African pace attack. But the mark of an elite allrounder is giving world class performances with bat and ball (and fielding) over an entire career - and for that the only one on the same page as kallis is sobers.

  • Front-Foot-Clunge on January 3, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    So Kallis isn't an all-rounder because he was more of a stock-bowler than a strike-bowler? This article seems a little like finding statistics to back up the tired argument that all-rounders need to be electrifying to be an all-rounder - take bags of wickets and hit the ball a country-mile. I see no issue with Kallis being called, and remembered as, an all-rounder. I'm a little concerned about the tone of the article, too...

  • pjd_Howzat on January 3, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    ... forgot to ask you to also show the other side of your stats - where are the batting analysis, as you have only showed the bowling analysis side. Sure the other's would not really have batted as all rounders, but more as a bowler who could sometimes hold a bat. your theory is flawed

  • Argho5 on January 3, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Dear Kartikeya,

    This has been an analysis with a different perspective; and thanks for doing so. However, I have few observations: 1. SA never had to rely significantly on Kallis for Fast Bowling as there had been a continuous flow of quality / above average fast bowlers. 2. Going by your standards, I may call the famous four (Botham, Hadlee, Imran & Kapil) as 'Very Good Bowlers who can Bat' and not 'All-rounders'. We do not have a proper quantitative definition of all-rounder in cricket. We keep calling Shakib, Jadeja, Afridi, Ashwin , etc. allrounders and rank them. In the midst of the above mediocrity, my humble request is that let's not put a question mark against the 'Allrounder Kallis'. Kallis had been potent enough to carry on both responsibilities whenever required, and arguably the greatest 'all-rounder' in the modern era of cricket.

  • Dirk_L on January 3, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    @kartikeya: "in the sense that Imran, Kallis, Sobers and Miller were all rounders". That probably is a Freudian slip, betraying the fact that Kartikeya knows very well that Kallis is a true all-rounder and is just pulling our leg. There is no question that Kallis as a bowler is comparable to Sobers: same average, same number of wickets, fewer overs = better strike rate, worse economy. I.e Kallis broke partnerships, Sobers tied up an end.

  • yadavharish on January 3, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    KALLIS is best all rounder in recent times

  • ralph123 on January 3, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Absolute rubbish analysis from whoever! its easy to just sit in your room and type crap about a legend! i am a cricketer and i know how much it takes to be an all rounder! i captain my college team and i am an all rounder myself! and trust me its very difficult being reasonably good in just one aspect of the game, be it batting bowling or fielding, but to be great in all is something phenomenal and thats what this great cricketer is all about! you cant compare him to people who have not even achieved half of his feats! Jacques Henry Kallis is by far the greatest player this game has ever produced, and not just an all rounder!

  • Testcricketistop on January 3, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    AH, I get it, Kartekya is suggesting that Kallis was lazy.

  • legfinedeep on January 3, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Any logic can be twisted enough to reach whatever convoluted conclusion you want. You clearly have an agenda against a legendary player if you are trying so hard to strip away from him the very identity of what makes him great - being an allrounder. Please go away.

  • RupayanChats on January 3, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Good article but completely flawed in all aspects in trying to get a reaction on whether kallis is an allrounder or not....will not get into the subjective aspect...

    below is a bunch of nos for 6 great players...read as....No of 100s, no of 50s, total no of 50+ scores, total inning batted, no of innings per 50+ score, no ofs balls bowled, wickets taken and balls per wicket.....amply clear from here without trying to analyse whether kallis was a bowler as well or not...He has bowled more or less the same no of balls that Imran, Botham, Hadlee and Sobers have bowled...only Kapil has bowled more because he didnt have 3 more fast bowlers to share his load in dead Indian tracks

    botham 14 22 36 161 4.472 21815 383 56.96 kapil 8 27 35 181 5.171 27740 434 63.92 imran 6 18 24 126 5.250 19468 362 53.78 hadlee 2 15 17 134 7.882 21918 431 50.85 kallis 45 58 103 280 2.718 20232 292 69.29 sobers 26 30 56 160 2.857 21599 235 91.91

  • on January 3, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Just because Kallis did not bowl more than 20 overs per match, it does not mean he is not an allrounder. SA had a bowling allrounder in Pollock, so they groomed Kallis as a Batting allrounder. He and Sobers are Batting allrounders while Imran and Botham are Bowling allrounders. I think, the ICC allrounder rating (not ranking) would be a good measure of players' combined ability in both Batting and Bowling departments. Kallis had a rating of more than 450 for more than half of his career (about 10 yrs). Only after half way in to his career, Imran crossed 450 mark and stayed there for the rest of his career. Botham had a rating of more than 450 for a period of little less than half of his career. Sobers maintained a rating of more than 450 for about 12 years Based on this Rating there is only a little to separate these great allrounders. In my opinion all four are great allrounders of all time. Sobers may be a notch above the others.

  • on January 3, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    All rounder is the one who can make decent contribution with bat and the ball....and I think kallis has done that....No point of discussing this issue further.

  • Jay_H on January 3, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    Kallis' test numbers are very similar to Sobers': Batting average 55 (Sobers 58), bowling average 33 (Sobers 34). Both all-time great batsman and decent test bowlers. Imran was an all-time great bowler (average 22) and a decent batsman (38). All had excellent longevity; Kallis' career was slightly shorter but of course he played many more tests in that time.

    Kallis' lower bowling workload is mainly because being only a decent fast bowler doesn't get you much of a turn in South Africa. (Chris Martin, one of NZ's better quicks at the same time, averaged 34). Simarlily someone like Warne mostly batted at 8 or below. I'd happily call Warne an allrounder - just not a great one, since he only averaged 17 with the bat.

    I can't work out why Botham is considered in the same sentence as the first three - his averages for bowling (29) and batting (34) are both well inferior to Imran's.

  • on January 3, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    @Katikeya, you are correct in that there is a big difference between bowling 20 and 40 overs, but there is also a big gap between batting in the top order and averaging 55 compared to batting at 6 and averaging 40. I'm just not sure considering Kallis' huge run scoring that it was possible for him to bowl the same compliment of overs as a specialist seamer, particularly given his huge frame. You would have to say though that he was good enough to cut it as a fourth bowler and has the figures to back it up. For mine he has given South Africa the freedom and balance to bowl the likes of Steyn, Pollock, Donald, Ntini and Morkel in short sharp spells over the years, helping them immeasurably. For mine a true and great allrounder the likes of which you will very rarely see, we will soon know just how much he was worth.

  • remnant on January 3, 2014, 1:53 GMT

    The writer is comparing a batting allrounder with all the rest who were bowling allrounders such as Botham, Imran and Kapil Dev. Thus the emphasis on the no. of overs bowled per match, in this article. Kallis' only true rival would be Sobers who can be classified as another batting allrounder. There we can measure the two more objectively, although the fact that Kallis bowled in the range 140kmph for a large part of his career; no matter the no. of overs per match, compared to the spin of Sobers, suggests an extremely rarified talent. Batsmen who can bowl better spins would still be easier to build than batters who can bowl like Kallis.

  • KiwiPom on January 3, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    I'll issue you with a challenge. You've essentially limited your discussion to the great players. Whether or not Kallis is an all-rounder, a batting all-rounder, or a batsman who bowls is largely one of definition anyway. My challenge is this. How would you categorise the former England player Trevor Bailey?

  • Rahulbose on January 3, 2014, 0:28 GMT

    Another pointless statistician view of cricket. Kallis is an all rounder because every captain he has played under relied on his 10-12 overs per innings and went to him to break partnerships. He allowed SA to play an extra batsman/ bowler as the game demanded. His bowling average and strike rates are better than some first choice bowlers like Ishh! can't Sharma.

  • kallis_01 on January 3, 2014, 0:22 GMT

    @kartikeya you have conveniently cited the first 8 years of Botham's career whilst completely ignoring the remaining 7 less successful years. Yet you have cited Kallis's entire career, even though it is well known that he gradually bowled less and less as the years went on. This is one of many examples of how you have shamelessly selected and ignored stats in a futile attempt to support your ridiculous contention. To argue that Kallis is not in the top 3 allrounders of all time is difficult; to argue that he is not a genuine allrounder is completely crazy. Cricinfo please publish

  • on January 3, 2014, 0:20 GMT

    Anton 1234 "I really don't know why Kapil Dev gets grouped with the likes of Botham, Imran Khan, Kallis, Sobers. Kapil doesn't belong in that illustrious company. Dev was a good allrounder but certainly far from a great one. ". How does one respond to that? Well let me try! To appreciate the genius of Kaps, one has to go back to the 70's when the wickets were fast and fresh, no helmets and plenty of pacers galore. In walked a 19 year old kid against a rampant Pak in 1978 at Faislabad and hooked the first ball he faced from Sarfraz Nawaz nonchalantly for a four. The same man took on England in 1982 singlehandedly and blasted 89,97,55 etc. Watch it on UTube to get a mere glimpse of it. As someone who has watched the game for nearly 40 years, Kaps was one of the most natural strikers of the ball. Not for nothing Sunny Gavaskar and Viv Richards rated him as one of the most gifted all rounders ever. Look up his record against WI and compared it to Beefy's. Imran too rated him.Rest my case.

  • Engle on January 2, 2014, 22:52 GMT

    A. Who is a 'genuine' AR ? Anyone who says one who can be selected based on their batting OR bowling has not thought this out deeply. There is only one - Aubrey Faulkner who could meet this criteria (Bat.Avg = 40, 4 100's, Bowl.Avg=26, 4 5w). Sobers, Imran, Botham, Miller may, at a stretch, be included.

    B. So, your categorizations s/b : Batting AR, Bowling AR, Bat/Bowl AR Sobers is a Batting AR, R.Hadlee is a Bowling AR, Botham is Both.

    Outside these 3 groupings are : 'Batsmen who can bowl' (W.Hammond, A.Border...) and 'Bowlers who can bat' (M.Marshall, S.Warne...). These are NOT to be considered AR.

    C. So, is JK a Batting AR or a ' batsman who can bowl ' ? By sheer weight of 292 wkts on his side, one cannot call him a ' batsman who can bowl ' .

    He is therefore a batting AR.

  • SlingshotPace on January 2, 2014, 21:30 GMT

    @anton1234 - "I really don't know why Kapil Dev gets grouped with the likes of Botham, Imran Khan, Kallis, Sobers. Kapil doesn't belong in that illustrious company. Dev was a good allrounder but certainly far from a great one." - Spot on. I agree.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    Of course he was an all rounder-over 13000 runs and nearly 300 wickets and you reckon he wasn't an all rounder! Is 300 wickets just run of the mill bowling performance? Wake up!

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    I simply don't agree with this article, Jacque Kallis has contributed vastly to worldwide cricket as an allrounder, and to suggest that he can not be called in the same breath as Sir Garfield Sober, Mr. Imran Khan and Sir Ian Botham and maybe others is definitely an unfair statement. The next generation, who has never seen most past players, will look at it statistically and also think it's unfair to Kallis.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    Per an opinion piece from Greg Chappell on ESPNCricInfo

    "Just days after Swann's controversial retirement, the game lost the calm and clinical efficiency of the most successful allrounder in Test history, when South Africa's Jacques Kallis pronounced his departure with all the fanfare of an airline announcement. Kallis left the game in the same way he graced it; with no fuss, no controversy, and a lot of dignity. In years to come, as they gaze upon the cold, hard statistics, young cricket fans will wonder what the old-timers were gushing about when they said Garry Sobers is the best cricketer of all time."

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/704763.html

    But hey what the hell does he know

  • blogossip on January 2, 2014, 20:31 GMT

    @karkiteya you agree Kallis is an allrounder but not like Imran or Botham. well one can also publish a blog and say Kapil wasnt an allrounder like otham or Imran. it seems you have made Imran a benchmark for allrounders yet dont want to explicitly state that and then make confusing statements like kallis is an allrounder but not the imran type.

    your comment sort of contradicts title of your blog!

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    I simply don't agree with this statement, it is very unfair to Jacque Kallis who has contributed so much to worldwide cricket. The next generation will also see it as unfairness, who has never seen Sir Garfield Sobers or Mr. Inran Khan and will certainly check the cricket statistics and cast their verdicts.

  • kartikeya on January 2, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    I can offer one further point of clarification.

    The idea is not that an all rounder must be a team's best batsman or the team's best bowler. It is that a genuine all rounder takes on the responsibility and workload of a specialist batsman and a specialist bowler. Botham, Imran and Sobers did this. Kapil, Hadlee and Pollock didn't.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    First of all, your definition of an All-rounder defies logic. An all-rounder is someone who can contribute with bat, ball and field and Kallis has done it consistently for years! Going by your logic, I doubt if Imran and Botham would qualify solely as a batsman in any 11. At the end of the day, taking into account the over all career statistics of Imran and Botham, they can at best be considered decent batsmen and extraordinary bowlers. Imran and Botham were pivotal for their respective teams only for their combined skills and none of them would merit selection based on their batting alone. I agree with a couple of points in the article though with regards to Shaun Pollock and Gary Sobers. Pollock is a genuine all-rounder in my opinion and has a decent average of 32 to go with 400 wickets and Sobers is way above everyone else and is the best all-rounder without a doubt. In short, the analysis doesn't cut any ice and the author has got it wrong in trying to capture a different POV!

  • Kodhi on January 2, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Kallis is the best All-Rounder. He played 166 Test's more than any other all-rounder in Cricket history. Test: 166 match, 13289 Runs, 292 Wkts. ODI's: 325 Match, 11574 Runs, 273 Wkts. Batting Avg. in Test 55.37 & In ODI's 44.86.

  • VarunAGVU on January 2, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    I appreciate the numerical detailing by the author. It however, is loaded with interpretation amidst bias.

    Projections on the basis of performance decline over an increasing number of matches have been restricted to the bowling side of things.

    'We are far more willing to accept modest bowlers as allrounders than we are modest batsmen' - This statement in itself is flawed. Most of the cricketers who are considered 'allrounders' have donned primary roles as bowlers.

    Comparing Watson and Warne as batsmen reveals a lack of understanding of the dynamics of the game.

    Most importantly, the article does not create a standard for defining an allrounder, considering the depth of the argument against the current idea in cricket.

    Having cited the curious case of Brett Lee as a bowler in terms of work load, Kallis' workload has been under-defined. Doesn't the sheer weight of Kallis' cricketing achievement require another 'peculiar' status?

    Kallis is an 'allrounder'.

  • voosan on January 2, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    I disagree with your analysis. Reading your article closely, you are implying that to be an all rounder the player has to be the best bowler in the team who can also bat.The big all rounders you have mentioned such as Gary Sobers, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, they were the best wicket taking strike bowlers in their team. Kallis was never the best bowler in SA team. He always had folks like Pollock, Steyn or Morkel who was the main wicket taking bowler. This doesn't mean Kallis can't be qualified as an all rounder. If he wasn't he wouldn't have been used as a bowler in his last Test . I disagree when you say SA didn't see Kallis as part of their bowling unit. Kallis for the most part was used as 4th bowler in the team. The bowling plans are made for 4 bowlers. There are fillers like Tendulkar, Kohli who once in a while give breathers for mainstream bowlers.Ofcourse Kallis was not as effective as bowler lately, but you are grossly ignoring his achievements as a bowler earlier in his career

  • t20cric on January 2, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    I think a bowling allrounder should average less than 30 with the ball and atleast mid 20s with the bat and should bat lower than no.6. A GREAT bowling allrounder should average less then mid 20s with the ball and have atleast 2-4 wickets per match AND average atleast mid to high 30s with the bat and make atleast 40-50 runs per match. A batting allrounder should average atleast 35+ with the bat and average less than 35 with the ball. A GREAT batting allrounder should average atleast 45+ with the bat and make 70-80 runs per match and average atleast in low 30s with the ball.

    I think this pretty much makes sense for what an all rounder needs to be in order to be great and with these standards only the best all rounders (batting or bowling) can be called greats.

  • on January 2, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    Brilliant Article Kartikeya! It brought out the feelings that I have been pondering over in recent years when I compared the records of the the three great all rounders with that of Kallis'. Although despite his modesty, I would still put Kapil Dev in the Allrounder category since he played many memorable knocks and could bat at number 5 even though he chose not to. Your thought on that please? And I would also like to include two other players who I believe also belonged to the Allrounders category in Andrew Flintoff and Keith Miller of Australia (even though a statistical analysis would throw better light on that). Please share your thought on those two.

  • anton1234 on January 2, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    I really don't know why Kapil Dev gets grouped with the likes of Botham, Imran Khan, Kallis, Sobers. Kapil doesn't belong in that illustrious company. Dev was a good allrounder but certainly far from a great one.

  • on January 2, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    Kallis is not a genuine allrounder :O ? Kallis was never required to bowl more than 20 overs in an innings , he played with the likes of Donald,Pollock,Steyn most of his career , his role was more of a fifth bowler . If he was used properly , he would have taken many more wickets . he was more of a batting allrounder than bowling allrounder. I dont think likes of botham ,Imran can walk into the team as a bowler or batsmen alone.

  • t20cric on January 2, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    From what you said it seems your saying a great allrounder needs to be one of the best batsmen in his team AND be one of the best strike bowlers in the team. If you use that standard no one really fits. Every all rounder is usually better at one thing than the other and then take into account that every team is either stronger at bowling or batting. Talking about Kallis, he is obviously batting all rounder. Kallis played for one of the teams (SA, Pak, Aus etc..) that have always had a really strong bowling attack therefore he was never required to bowl as much cuz it would be too much of a strain on him to bat and bowl. If SA have other really good bowlers (which they always had during Kallis' playing days) then those would get to bowl and Kallis would only need to do so when needed. When you say he is only a batsman who could bowl that kind of puts him in the category of Younis Khan or Tendulkar who are primarily batsmen but bowl occasionally and have a few wickets, thats not Kallis.

  • BoonBoom on January 2, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Kallis is a better allrounder than sobers, this is what the stats show. Of course you canb write pages after pages to disprove that....and thats the beauty of the game of cricket because stats are so interesting you can show whatever you want show.

  • on January 2, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    this article has given a new perspective of judging an all-rounder. I really like the hard work and research of the blog writer. he has truly presented his claims with proofs and certainly it has influenced my thought about Kallis as well. Whether to consider Kallis as a great all-rounder or not, this essay has been amazing contribution to Cricket analysis.

  • on January 2, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    The point was made already, but to reiterate: Kallis played always in the company of superb fast bowlers. In that sense he had to play what was given to him. He did the best and is in SA terms a true allrounder.

  • CricIndia208 on January 2, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Imran can never be considered as an all rounder. He has only about 6 centuries, most of them scored towards the end of his career. He developed his bowling only after completely giving up on bowling. Kapil Dev was a better batsman and natural striker of the ball.

  • on January 2, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    The article mainly focuses on the time spent by all the great bowlers on the ground but not the time spent by them as batsmen, standing under the sun is equally exhausting for a batsmen.....the reason why the number of wickets and the number of overs are less is because S.Africa always had a decent bowling attack. the above mentioned 3 great players were more of bowling all rounders. Only Sir Gary Sobers have a better batting average which could have declined with the growing age. And how often does one see a player bowling at a speed of more than 130kmph after spending hours batting on the crease. The number of overs bowled per day shows the stamina of the player but is not a good enough reason to make him a better player.....its like calling Ishant Sharma a better batsmen then the likes of Ganguly and Laxman just because he could run faster between the wickets. Jacques Kallis is indeed an allrounder and certainly a better batsmen.........

  • on January 2, 2014, 18:19 GMT

    i disagree with this artical, it states that kallis is not a genuine allrounder, what a joke. everyone knows that he is one of the best ever allrounder, if he bowls 20-22 overs per match,this is not his fault, he played with donald,pollack,ntini,klusner, styen, morkal, phylendar and have a very less chance to bowl with new ball, all these were great bowlers and have great strike rates, as an allrounder look at kallis average as a bowler, equal to those who r main bowlers of their team, often bowl with new ball, also note that kallis was the backbone of batting lineup, a great slip fielder.if zaheer bowls 40 overs as a main bowler and his average is equal with kallis,it is shame to him, not kallis fault, we have to accept that kallis was also a very good bowler, whenever SA used him,he dilivered, 292 wickets at test level is not an easy task, he was not just an ordinary bowler, do every one agree?

  • harshthakor on January 2, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    @Haz95

    It is photo between Botham and Imran for 3rd place as an all-rounder behind Kallis and Sobers.In his peak era from 1977-82 Botham was marginally better than Imran in his peak period of 1981-1988 as a pure allrounder.Botham could more consistently win games with both ball and bat.Remember Botham scored 14 centuries and 5000 runs as well as had 383 wickets scalps with 28- 5 wicket hauls.Even If Botham may have been ahead by a whisker as an all-rounder,overall Imran's consistency.match-winning ability and above all leadership would rank him ahead as a cricketer.(even ahead of Kallis )

    As a cricketer Imran would join the ranks of Viv Richards or Sachin Tendulkar with his great charisma,temperament match-wining flair and leadership qualities.Gary Sobers would still be the greatest of all cricketers who could do virtually everything on a cricket field.

  • harshthakor on January 2, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    @Haz 95

    Kallis's stats speak for itself -the equivalent of what Tendulkar is to batting.I want to remind you again that Imran reached his peak as a batsman and bowler in different eras.Infact Ian Botham of 1977-82 was the best after Sobers if you consider feats with both bat and ball in tests like the Jubilee test in Mumbai and in series like the 1981 Ashes.Remember he got 5 wickets and scored a century five times.Imran is a giant and because of consistency may even edge Botham,but Kalilis would still be ahead.

    To me Gary Sobers is still in a different league who could also win a place because of his great variations as a left-arm bowler.Count his bowling performance in his peak period when he had 124 scalps at around 28.With both bat and ball in a test or in series Imran would not be in Sober's league.

    I agree Imran may rank as a cricketer just behind Sobers being a great skipper or even ahead of Kallis or Tendulkar.However even figures do not accurately portray Gary Sobers!

  • on January 2, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    @Xolie: "Kallis took 292 wickets at 32.65 and Zaheer took 302 at 32.66. Am I missing something, or are these numbers remarkably similar?"

    The difference is in number of matches they have played, and the overs per match they had to bowl (without going into things like the pitches they bowled on)

  • ns_krishnan on January 2, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    The article simply looks at how Kalli's career went. It doesn't venture into what could have happened if things were a little different. Because South Africa always had a fantastic attack during Kallis' career, he/the team management decided to use him as a fifth bowler. Had he been in a team without that luxury, I think his bowling was good enough to be a third seamer. Of course his batting average might have dropped by 10 because of the workload. But 45 is still a very good average. There is no doubt whatsoever that he is a genuine allrounder.

  • Haz95 on January 2, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    So what this blog is pretty much saying is that Kallis is not a genuine allrounder but a very accomplished batting allrounder.

  • Haz95 on January 2, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    Those people who are saying an allrounder is someone who can get into team on batting or bowling alone no it isn't. That is what a genuine allrounder is, genuine ones were like Imran Khan. Kallis is a batting allrounder, pretty much like Shane Watson but shane is nowhere near kallis in batting which is why he's not called a great batting allrounder. Botham is a bowling allrounder, pretty much like Wasim Akram but wasim isn't at Bothams level with the bat.

  • Haz95 on January 2, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    Reading this made me realise one thing, Imran Khan was the greatest 'genuine' allrounder. Out of all the big allrounder names, Imran was the only one who could get in any XI based on his bowling alone or his batting alone. The fact that he average 50+ when he captained whilst barely anyone in the 80s did made him special, the fact that he averaged 21 with ball also made him special. Kallis, wouldn't have gotten in on his bowling alone[unless its india] since most Saffers average less than 30 with the ball. Sobers is like Kallis, he got in because of his immense batting but compared to his colleagues, his bowling wasn't very special[sr of 91 compared to immys 53 or keith boyce's 58]. Both were better batsmen but not better allrounders than Imran. Ian Botham, Shaun pollock were bowlers who could bat usefully too, pretty much like Wasim Akram so yeah. This is why I believe Imran was the greatest all rounder to have graced the game.

  • harshthakor on January 2, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    In this light Kartikeya Date you should disregard Imran Khan.Remember Imran was basically a great fast bowler who became a good batsman later.At his best Ian Botham was the best match-winning all-rounder after Sobers but lacked consistency and faded in the latter part of his career.

    Infact Kallis has been most under-rated by experts like James Armstrong or Cristopher Martin Jenkins who rank Imran,Botham,Hadlee and even Kapil Ahead.Kallis is in another league as a batsman and in an important period in his career was one of the most effective fast-medium seamers who could win a game of his bowling.Kallis was unfortunate not to play in the eras when wickets were much more responsive.I would have backed him to overshadow everyone,bar Sir Garfield Sobers.

    As a batsmen he had a weakness of slowing down at crucial times and not stepping the gas but again look at the matches he has also won.He ranks with the likes of Tendulkar and Imran and ranks amongst the top dozen cricketers ever.

  • cricket-SA on January 2, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Kallis surely cant be included in the league of Imran Khan and Sobbers but what you are missing is that Imran Khan could never become the backbone of Pakistan batting. His batting is something that came in handy or was like getting bonus on some cricket day whereas Kallis towards later part of his career became from a very good batsman to one of the greatest batsman in the history of the game. He became the backbone of SA team when the legends like Kirsten, Jonty, Donald, Lance Klusener left all at a time and he was the one who took the charge of the SA batting line up and hence earned the title "Mr. Dependable". Not only did he manage to rescue SA on more then a dozen times but also took the total to a more then respectable score. His innings like his 121 vs India at Eden Gardens came at a time when SA was in a deep trouble and because of him they scored 300+. He started to pay a bit more attention to batting when the team saw the arrival of bowlers like Ntini, Steyn, Andrew Hall.

  • harshthakor on January 2, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    Jacques Kallis to me is the 2nd best all-rounder of all time to Sir Garfied Sobers.Statistically he is the best of all all-rounders and the best cricketer of his generation.Never forget that at one stage of his career he performed herculean feats with both bat and ball in test matches and series.He has taken 5 wickets and scored a century twice in test matches and his all-round statistics in the 1998-99 series versus the West Indies compared to that of any great all-rounder.His bowling was most effective in England in 1998.

    Remember Kallis played for a team with a super pace attack and still at his best opened the attack in an age when wickets are much slower.Kallis was a much better batsman than Imran or Botham .Remember Imran too was a great bowler and great batsman in different parts of his career.

    No cricketer may ever equal Kallis's phenomenal cricketing record and but for lacking flamboyance or the 'x ' factor could have joined superman Gary Sobers.

  • tashan329 on January 2, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    The author of this article missed one more great all-rounder. ASHWIN who averages 40 (better than Imran, Botham, Hadlee and Kapil) with the bat and averages 28 with the bowl(better than Kapil, Botham, Kallis and Sobers).

    This means he beats every one of the five in atleast one department. LEGEND.

    [Note: All the views given above are copyrighted by legendary Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni MSD.]

  • on January 2, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    What a load of crock! Kallis was selected in tests for his bowling as well, even though he would have been there on batting merit only. And saying an all rounder must make a team on batting or bowling only is ridiculous, apart maybe from Gary Sober, who also would have struggled to be selected on bowling merits alone in latter years.

  • tashan329 on January 2, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    If the best batsman in the world gets 100 pts than Kalli will definitely get 90-95 (means 92.5). And if the best bowler in the world gets 100 pts than I will give Kallis around 75-80 (means 77.5).

    For Kapil Dev it would be like this: Batting -> 70-75 (giving him 72.5) and Bowling -> 85-90 (means 87.5). For Sobers: Batting -> 95-100 (means 97.5) and Bowling -> 80-85 (means 82.5). For Imran Khan: Batting -> 80-85 (giving him 82) and Bowling -> 87-92 (giving him 90). For Hadlee: Batting -> 68-73 (giving him 70) and Bowling -> 90-95 (giving him 93). For Botham: Batting -> 83-88 (giving him 85) and Bowling -> 80-85 (giving him 82).

    So in Batting: Sobers > Kallis > Botham > Imran Khan > Kapil Dev > Hadlee (This suggests Sobers is the best batsman among theses five and Hadlee is the weaket batsman) And in Bowling: Hadlee > Imran Khan > Kapil Dev > Botham > Sobers > Kallis (In bowling Hadlee is the best and Kallis iis the worst).

  • Soso_killer on January 2, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    Continued.. Since specialist batsmen face an X amount of deliviries per game e.g. Kallis 174.11, i'm sure the likes of Ponting and Lara etc are 150+ as well.

    Now the author is complaining about Kallis workload with the ball. What was Imran and Botham's workload with the bat? Botham bowled 35.64 overs per game, Imran 36.8. Which is basicaly what fast bowlers average per game. Kallis bowled 20.31 overs about 15 overs (90 balls) less per game. Where am i going? Well if Imran and Botham faced half of Kallis deliviries (174 per match) whilst batting that would mean Kallis played 87 extra deliviries. Thus making up for the 90 he did not bowl. Dont you think thats a fair assessment?

  • on January 2, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    @Super70s, the standard of a genuine all rounder is:1) Can he make his place to the team as a specialist batsman? 2) Can he make his place to the team only a specialist bowler? These are the questions and gold standards for a genuine all rounder. Kallis is no way near to Sobers. He his way to the team as a specialist bowler and had the talent to be the best batsman of his side. so you could have only played him only as a batsman or a strike bowler. the same standard was for Imran and Botham. Weather it was ball or bat, they were the winners. Both were technical and mentally strong with bat. Both had the ability to smash the best bowers in the world to all corners of the ground or could have played solid defensive cricket. there is no question about bowling abilities, both were the best with the ball in their hands. As for as Kallis is concerned, he is a good batsman who could bowl as well. He cannot justify his place in the team as a fourth bowler.

  • rjansen on January 2, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    The author claims Kallis is not an elite allrounder like Botham, Sobers or Khan, as he did not take such a big bowling role.

    However does he consider Khan's 3800 runs at 37 a large enough contribution to be an elite allrounder? And Botham's batting average of 33 and bowling average of 28 is hardly elite status.

    Kallis was one of the greatest batsmen of his generation, and of all time. A recent cricinfo article showed he has easily the best record at number 4 (including tendulkar and Lara).

    He was not an opening bowler, but what the author is missing is that he was in a different league to someone just holding up an end. Bowling at speeds of up 145 in his prime, even recently breaking the 140s, and got beautiful away swing. His strike rate is a respectable 69, far eclipsing that of Sobers (92).

  • Soso_killer on January 2, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    Kallis bowled 20 232 balls, 292 wickets, 32.65 average, 69.2 strike rate. Sobers, 21 599 balls bowled, 235 wickets, 34.03 average, 91.9 strike rate. Sobers having bowled 1 367 deliviries extra is not anywhere close to Kallis' bowling. Thats 227.8 overs more. Its like Kallis has more wickets having played 11 matches less, as he bowled 20 overs per game meaning he would have had to play 177 matches to bowl 21 599. Of course you could argue Sobers could bowl this and that with his hands tied, but whats the point if that does not amount to wickets? A strike rate of 91 is poor in all accounts especialy when we hear how lively pitches were those days.

    Another point to consider is that Kallis faced 28 903 balls in his career only Dravid faced more per innings. And somehow the author expects him to bowl the same amount of overs as Botham and Imran who were specialist bowlers? As per your logic how many deliviries did they face per game compared to Kallis?

  • rjansen on January 2, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    Sobers played a bigger role in the bowling attack that Kallis, as can be seen by his higher workload per test match.

    However, it is worth to point out that Kallis strike rate (69.2 balls per wicket) is significantly higher than that of Sobers (91.2 balls per wicket). Kallis also rarely had the best of good conditions, as the likes of Pollock, Donald and Steyn would always have first go with the new ball, before tossing it to Kallis for the thankless job of trying to find a breakthrough against set batsmen.

    A further boost of Kallis's bowling numbers is the fact that he bowled in a more batsman friendly era. (Of course this also reflects well on Sobers's batting average.)

    Furthermore, if workload as discussed as in this article, perhaps balls faced, or minutes spent batting should also be compared - I am sure Kallis will be very high up on the list.

  • on January 2, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    Does this article suggest that there have been only 3 genuine all rounders in the world so far in Imran, Botham and Sobers? With this analysis I would feel Andrew Flintoff would also not make the list of allrounders with an avg of 31 with the bat. I consider this analysis flawed because of the restrictions put on the qualifications of an all rounders. For a fact, the Aussies considered their batting wicket keepers as all rounders too.

  • BellCurve on January 2, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    The following statement in this article baffles me: "There is as much distance between Kallis' record as a bowler and that of Zaheer or Lee as there is between Lee's and Zaheer's records and those of Dale Steyn or Allan Donald." Kallis took 292 wickets at 32.65 and Zaheer took 302 at 32.66. Am I missing something, or are these numbers remarkably similar?

  • Zahidsaltin on January 2, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    Kalis could have bagged 400+ wickets if he was bowling in Botham and Imran's era of fast wickets. And he could have easily walked in to Indian team as a second or third seamer.

  • Zahidsaltin on January 2, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    @Dhimant, let me correct you. Imran could have walked in to any team as a batsman in those 10 years of his career where he captained the team. His batting average while captaining for those 10 years is 50+ and that too in an era where only 5 batsmen managed 50+ compared to todays 26. Even on his overall average of 37, he could easily walk in to most of the teams considering the era of fastbowling, fast wickets and the hardships of batting due to lack of protective gear. Remember Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, Mudasser Nazar, Majreker and Patudi all of them were prolific batsmen of their respective teams with overall averages similar to Imran's overall figures.

  • on January 2, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    With the exit of Kallis, the last of the Gt titans of my time (might be a bit unfair to Sangakkara), it's time for me to pick my dream TEST team of All Time. My team, as usual, is not picked based on any bias and emotional sentiment. I have my favourites, but I'm using genuine SUBSTANCE over style, favouritism, nationalism and emotions. It's also based on the records that are derived from scientific/intellectually ordered analysis; rather than the summing up of years of aggregates, which would provide nothing but obvious counting-on-the-fingers kindergarten stuff, which makes no sense with respect to coming up with the best 11 of All Time. My team is: Hobbs, Gavascar, Bradman, Kallis, Viv Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Akram, Marshall, Lilee and Muralitheran. The No. 4 spot must be given to Kallis, if we're seriously picking the best team ever. He'll bat there as good as any batsman the game has seen, and his bowling gives him the edge over Lara who is the best batsman of the modern era.

  • anurag23bhide on January 2, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    (...continued from previous comment)

    What of the mediocre players, say, Thisara Perera or Chris Harris? These are nowhere near the best batsmen nor bowlers in their side; does that mean they are not genuine allrounders? Kallis' bowling workload was no less these guys, and he was much better as a bowler than them as well, while being by million miles a better batsman. If he's a batsman who can bowl, what do you make of these guys? You do them a great disservice if you insist that to qualify as a genuine allrounder you need to be a strike bowler and bat in the top 5.

    What you speak of is actually only the great allrounders and, as I said, in test cricket they can be counted on one hand. Kallis and Pollock are every bit allrounder, as are the Thisara Pereras of the world.

  • theCricketPurist on January 2, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Wow. This is one of the most flawed reasoning that I have seen in a while. It is surprising that most readers do not even bother to look beyond the biased data shown by the author.

    The author seems to reach his conclusion on the basis of an invalid concept. He says an all rounder is one who can make the team as a specialist batsman and/or a specialist bowler. No. This is incorrect. An all rounder is one who can be considered as a batsman as well as a bowler, i.e. can do both. There are batting all rounders (Kallis) and bowling all rounders (Botham, Kapil etc). There are also all rounders who are not specialists in either trade, but by managing to carry out the two tasks add crucial balance to their teams.

    The author attempts to project a neutral viewpoint but only ends up proving his bias toward bowling all rounders over batting ones. The author mentions about all rounders needing to be strike bowlers, but then speaks little about their batting ability (where Kallis ranks high).

  • ChrisMarx on January 2, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Wow, first time I've ever really seen the 'Genuine Great Allrounders" stats in one place and.... they seem to be a bit mediocre though, don't they? Khan looks to have been the best of the lot, but he didn't even average 40 with the bat. Botham's bowling stats look good but a batting average of 25 doesn't really inspire any awe does it. Sobers has a remarkable batting average, but then only averages 34 with the ball, so nothing really great about those either. So where are these "Great Genuiner Allrounders"? Two of them looks to have been bowlers who can bat a bit and the other a batsmen who can bowl a bit.

  • anurag23bhide on January 2, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    I completely see your point Kartikeya and as a lifelong Kallis fan who always felt he deserved far more acclaim than he got, it got me thinking real deep.

    Your argument that a Pollock is just as much an allrounder as Kallis is very fair indeed. Just as Kallis was not a strike bowler but a 5th option, likewise you say that Pollock was something of a 5th-best batsman in the side. Fair enough till now.

    However, when you say that that Kallis' bowling workload, as compared to Botham, Imran and Sobers, makes him a batsman who can bowl, just as Pollock was a bowler who can bat, you are effectively saying that an allrounder must be both one of the best 3 or 4 batsmen in the side as well as a strike bowler.

    Is that not a bit unfair? But that yardstick only the absolute legend, that can be counted on one hand, would qualify as allrounders. What of the mediocre players, say, Thisara Perera or Chris Harris or James Hopes? (continued in another comment...)

  • Super70s on January 2, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Sorry, Mr. Date, I disagree. Kallis is as good a batting all rounder as Sobers. And Botham and Imran, while decent batsmen for some time during their careers, were mainly bowling all rounders. So, it is not fair to compare Kallis' bowling to Botham-Imran's bowling. But Kallis was as effective a bowler as Sobers, even if he did not have his variety. And the gold standard of 300 wickets & 3000 runs is flawed in the bowling all rounders' favour. 200 wickets & 5000 runs is a more balanced standard, as an average wicket/score is worth at least 250 runs. That puts Kallis firmly in the top bracket with Sobers, Botham, Imran. The only thing that keeps Kallis from taking the mantle of greatest all rounder is that he lacks the flair of those 3 or even Miller, Flintoff or Cairns.

  • on January 2, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Kallis should not be compared with Imran, Botham or Kapil as they were bowling allrounders. Kallis can only be compared with Sobers as both of them were batting allrounders.

  • BellCurve on January 2, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Another observation: Kallis accounted for 10.8% of his team's wickets during his career. During their respective career Botham, Miller and Imran accounted for 11.7%, 11.0% and 9.7% of their teams' runs. Kallis' team contribution for his "lesser discipline" is therefore comparable to that of Botham, Miller and Imran.

  • on January 2, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    I think Mr Date has a valid point re King Kallis. Kallis frankly filled his boots against mediocre teams till 2007/2008 and flopped regularly against the all conquering Aussies. He blossomed as a world class bat only after that, possibly due to the stark deterioration in the Aussie attack and even the global game come to think of it as there are hardly any bowlers around past 10 years who would put the fear of God in you like they used to in he 80's and 90's. 80's were a most peculiar times, in that most teams had world class bowlers (even India had one! Sri Lanka none though rather like now!!) and scoring good runs was not a given apropos today. Kallis was a product of his times, a decent all rounder who clearly did not cut it at the highest level inhabited by Sir Gary, Immy, Kapil and Both et al. Incidentally Both was good but not great. Kaps and Immy both did very well against Windies both with bat and ball, Beefy didn't! Kaps was a wonderful freeflowing batsman, most underrated.

  • hotpot99 on January 2, 2014, 12:51 GMT

    Interesting analysis, and ok as a conversation starter. No-one can seriously suggest Kallis is not in the top 5 or 6 all-rounders, but you can value different abilities and statistics to rate them in different orders. In my opinion, there are 11 great all-rounders: Imran Khan (Pak) GS Sobers (WI) KR Miller (Aus) SM Pollock (SA) JH Kallis (ICC/SA) Sir RJ Hadlee (NZ) IT Botham (Eng) TL Goddard (SA) CL Cairns (NZ) AW Greig (Eng) MH Mankad (India) with differing attributes. e.g Botham is the only one into double figures with both 100s and 5-fors, so he would be the 'most match-winningest' all-rounder. Incidentally - there are 3 'near-misses': N Kapil Dev (India), FMM Worrell (WI) and MA Noble (Aus) .

    Of current players, only R Ashwin, and possibly Shakib Al Hasan are on course to join the elite.

  • smalishah84 on January 2, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    A very well written piece. I enjoyed reading it.

  • BellCurve on January 2, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    I like your argument, but disagree with your overall conclusion, as you have ignored two important factors: team balance and secondary discipline quality. Kallis performed the role of 5th bowler in the SA team, which allowed SA the luxury of selecting only 4 specialist bowlers. There is a debate as old as the game itself as to whether 4 or 5 specialist bowlers provide the best team balance. A player like Kallis solves that problem. As 5th bowler his workload was around 60% of a specialist fast bowler. Secondary discipline quality is best measured by comparing a player's secondary discipline Test average to that of his peers. Kallis' peers averaged 33.42 with the ball; Kallis averaged 2.3% better (32.65). Sobers' peers averaged 31.18 with the ball; Sobers averaged 9.1% worse (34.03). Compared to his peers, Kallis was therefore a significantly (11.4%) better bowler. I would therefore conclude that Kallis has significantly better all-round credentials than Sobers.

  • on January 2, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    If Flintoff can be considered an all rounder, there is hope for anyone! He had ONE good series, and is considered a legend - RUBBISH. Kallis is certainly an all rounder, it's a question that need not be asked. Because he is a batting superstar who bats at 3, his bowling is forgotten. If he came in at 6, with an average of 40, people are more likely to say he is an all rounder. In a strange way, his superlative batting hides the fact that he is an all rounder.

  • on January 2, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    This article goes on to prove that with numbers any argument can be made in any way. Apart from Sobers no one you mentioned as "all rounders" would walk into a side as batsmen. Kallis is one of the most 'complete' cricketers you will find. And to take 292 wickets in a team that had Donald and Pollock itself signifies how good a bowler he was. Imagine Aaqib Javed doing it when Wasim and Waqar were at full throttle. As far as batting goes, even the great Sachin Tendulkar averaged lower than Kallis. Considering that Tendulkar batted more on roads v/s kallis on wickets that had movement and bounce makes him so much better.

    I am appalled by the fact that you consider Botham and Imran better all-rounders than JK.

  • hotpot99 on January 2, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    Interesting analysis, and ok as a conversation starter. No-one can seriously suggest Kallis is not in the top 5 or 6 all-rounders, but you can value different abilities and statistics to rate them in different orders. In my opinion, there are 11 great all-rounders: Imran Khan (Pak) GS Sobers (WI) KR Miller (Aus) SM Pollock (SA) JH Kallis (ICC/SA) Sir RJ Hadlee (NZ) IT Botham (Eng) TL Goddard (SA) CL Cairns (NZ) AW Greig (Eng) MH Mankad (India) with differing attributes. e.g Botham is the only one into double figures with both 100s and 5-fors, so he would be the 'most match-winningest' all-rounder. Incidentally - there are 3 'near-misses': N Kapil Dev (India), FMM Worrell (WI) and MA Noble (Aus) .

    Of current players, only R Ashwin, and possibly Shakib Al Hasan are on course to join the elite.

  • Arrow011 on January 2, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    This I already wrote in my comments few days back, Kallis was never an allrounder & it is exaggeration of his bowling ability. His batting & bowling are both extremely boring. Cricket is better to watch now. Pollock is a genuine allrounder & the author of this article is spot on in all his statistics. Respects to Pollock the greatest allrounder of South Africa.

  • SICHO on January 2, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    this article was written just to highlight the fact that the writer does not like Kallis and he would try by all means to discredit him via skewed and narrow stats (pathetic really). "a batsman who could bowl a bit"! Really? Barring Sobers, none of those guys mentioned there could be selected purely on batting. Isn't what your "all-rounders" are suppose to do? None of them batted higher than 6. This is by far the WORST article I've ever read here on cric-info. This article was purely just to insult Kallis, nothing else. The likes of Ian Chappell, Steve Waugh and other cricketing greats acknowledge his work, who is Mr. Date to try discredit him like this? Just because he's South African doesn't mean he doesn't deserve the accolades like cricketers from other nations

  • David_Boon on January 2, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    I think you make a huge mistake in assuming that someone has to be as good as Sobers or Imran to be considered an allrounder. Kallis is an allrounder, just not as good as Sobers. By your own logic Hadlee, Imran and Botham are not allrounders because they were average bats - below average really (averages of 27, 37 and 33 respectively). Certainly he's a MUCH better batsman than Imran, Hadlee and Botham, while obviously not as good a bowler. He has the 14th highest average of ALL TIME. Take Imran - obviously a better bowler, but a far inferior batsman. Imran batted at 7, not a team's primary batsman. Kallis batten at 3 or 4, where a team's best batsman bats. Hadlee averaged half of what Kallis did, obviously not even close to his class as a batsman. Also, Brett Lee was a far greater bowler than Kallis. More wickets in less than half the games, SR is 16 balls better, no comparison really. Zaheer Kahn is a more apt comparison as a bowler and the figures back this up.

  • bestbuddy on January 2, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Bah, the author chooses to ignore applying his own exacting standards to the 'great' allrounders he mentions. By his standards Sobers was not a great allrounder, as he never took 300 wickets, nor could he really have kept his place in the team as just a bowler for the second half of his career, despite the windies not having the best attack. The same applies to Botham, who could not have retained a position in his team as merely a batsman (neither could dev or hadlee for that matter). By his standard on Khan was the only true allrounder. He seems to also have ignored the fact that kallis spent more time at the crease in his test career than botham and khan did in their combined careers, which would prevent one from coming out and bowling immediately. So stick to this; Kallis has more international wickets than any one of those mentioned, and as many international runs as any 3 of those mentioned

  • Hoolihan on January 2, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Stats aside, there is one fact which contradicts your argument entirely - In order to deal with Kallis retiring South Africa have been forced re-structure their team to pick an additional bowler and a batsman. They cannot merely replace Kallis with another batsman. Surely this is the ultimate definition of a true all-rounder?

  • Hoolihan on January 2, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    An interesting article but incredibly skewed: "He did not assume the same bowling responsibility that those three great allrounders did for their teams." - Exactly the same could be said when comparing the other allrounders batting responsibilities to Kallis. This is supported by comparing their batting stats to his.

  • AltafPatel on January 2, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    If a batsman takes 92 wickets then can be called part-time bowler, but not the one who picked 292. As per awkward stats by authron, Steyn bowls 14 overs an innings, can expect an all-rounder to bowl 9 overs an innings. Kallis could have been bowled more but there was a period when their prime batsmen like Kirsten, Jonty Rhodes, Cullinun left team in short period making Kallis to focus more on batting as they already had quicks like Pollock, Ntini.

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    For the sake of fairness and context I should give this also;

    Kallis bowling average 32.15, average per wicket for all matches in his era 33.47.

    I do agree workload matters, but not to that degree, and I certainly wouldn't have Sobers or Kallis in the class of Imran or Miller. The best point in this article is to get people to review what they think of "all rounders", they basically don't exist and teams should stop trying to reconfigure their teams around them. It's worse still when you consider the injuries and consistency issues that have surrounded players like Razzaq, Oram, Flintoff and Watson to cite some recent examples

  • pitch_curator on January 2, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    Don't think the number of overs bowled should be considered as a basis for deciding whether the bowler is not full time. It is normal that some bowlers bowl more than others in a line up. The point is that since Kallis played most of his cricket in bowler friendly pitches, his workload would be less than sub-continent bowlers but how many times have South Africa bowled more than 120 overs in an innings. The author should clarify this stat first.

  • Dirk_L on January 2, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    "No one considers Pollock a genuine, all-time-great allrounder, one who belongs alongside Sobers, Imran and Botham." Trivially true, because those three do not belong together,

    No one outside Pakistan and England respectively considers Imran or Botham to be in the same class as Sobers. Only Kallis is. Kallis played for SA in the days of Donald, Ntini, Pollock, Steyn, Morkel, Philander. That's the only reason why he bowled only 20 overs per match. If Sobers played for West Indies in the days of Garner, Holding, Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh etc, no sane captain would have him bowl more either.

    Pollock is certainly at least in the same class as Imran, Botham, Hadlee, Flintoff, Brian McMillan etc.

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    Also, no mention of Keith Miller in this article is all you need to know about how "well researched" it is.

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    So, a guy who averages 32 through the best batting era since the 30's isn't an all rounder, but the dude who takes them at 34 in a reasonable bowling era is. Kallis took 2wpm@31.14 in the middle decade of his career, 1998-2008 (playing 25 more Tests than Sobers ENTIRE CAREER). I have a problem with batting all rounders, because every over is an opportunity cost, whereas everyone has to bat, so any batting value is valuable, whereas trotting out a below average bowler loses your team value.

    Sobers' career bowling average was 34.03...the average per wicket for his entire career? 31.44...he was SUBSTANTIALLY below average as a bowler

  • MCC_Tie on January 2, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest all round cricketer the game has ever seen. 24863 runs, 565 wickets and over 200 catches, what more should he have done to be classified as a "Test all rounder" I wonder? Should he have kept wicket when he wasn't bowling? Served drinks during the drinks break and donned black pants and umpired once he had finished racking up yet another hundred?

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    Interesting take on what constitutes an all-rounder. It kinda made sense in parts, but the stats you used were skewed beyond recognition. You can't say Kallis isn't an all-rounder because he's not the main 'strike' bowler, and then on the other hand ignore the fact that most of the guys you are comparing him with would not be selected on their batting alone.

    It's MUCH easier to get 3000 runs than 300 wickets. Even today, with guys playing well in excess of 100 tests, there are still 'only' 27 players who have taken 300+ test wickets. 27 players have scored more than 8000 test runs, nevermind 3000!

    And as people have said, JK would have been in almost any other team in the world for his bowling alone.

    A legend in terms of batting, a great bowler and a fantastic fielder. And even though he rarely captained the team, he was still a true leader of men. He lead by example, on and off the field. I believe he is the greatest all-rounder that cricket has ever seen.

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    another statistics driven article. Yea its got some eye opening points like - bowlers / players of the older eras played more matches than the current crop. However Kallis' value as an all rounder goes beyond statistics. SA was always a team blessed with good (fast) bowlers. Kallis was never required to stretch in terms of bowling. Whenever he got the opportunity to bowl he would pick wickets without fail. Look at his fitness level, very rarely he missed a series. Contradictory to what this author suggests he would never have had a problem in bowling longer spells. He has in fact bowled many long spells on those occassions when the opposition batted long. Had he played for a team like India or even New zealand. He would have got the opportunity to bowl more and would have scalped atleast 450 plus wickets.

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    An all-rounder is someone who could impact the game/match with any-one of his inherent skills; batting, bowling and fielding (specialist fielders like in slips or Covers)..Jacques Kallis was an exceptional Batsman, very good Bowler and excellent slip fielder in all formats of the game (ODIs,Tests and to an extent in T20s). His records prove that..He is the modern version of Garry Sobers. His records also prove that..As far as comparision with Zaheer is concerned; then I must say Kallis was a far better bowler than Zaheer. He never had to rely on reverse swing to pick up the wickets as Zaheer always did. He could do that with Seem, Conventional Swing and his 140+ speed...whereas Zaheer never picks up wickets in the first spell during the day day and goes for tons of runs; and then comes back at the end of the day with some reverse swing and picks up a couple of wickets.

  • on January 2, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    I understand the angle of the article but don't agree with the conclusion.

    Kallis was not in the same role as Botham or Imran, because they were bowling all-rounders and he is a batting all-rounder. Fine I understand this point, and get that when people call him the greatest all-rounder, we have to take into account the different roles of the all-rounders.

    However where the analysis goes off course is not in the data provided but the analysis of the data.

    An assumption is made at the start of the article that Kallis would not be picked by SA on the basis of his bowling alone. In reality, especially in the earlier part of his career this is untrue, he most likely would have been picked as a bowler solely based on his bowling talent.

    Kallis' ability with bat and ball freed up a spot for SA in their line-up. Just because he wasn't the primary bowler doesn't mean he should be dismissed as an all-rounder. Imran and Botham didn't play in the top order.

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    oh so Kallis was not an "all-rounder", but "a batsman who could bowl"; the difference between the two being some arbitrary line defined by the author on how many overs per innings a player delivered.

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    The value of Kallis lies in the fact that he afforded his team the rare luxury of playing a 4+1 bowling attack. No other team could play a 4+1 attack without compromising the batting strength. If Flintoff played as 5th bowler, you lost a proper batsman in the line up. The overs/match and wickets/match for Kallis are a reflection of who he played along side (greats like Donald, Pollock and Steyn). His wicket taking ability is accurately reflected in his average and strike rate. He played a crucial role of bowling behind frontline bowlers without offering easy runs. Even as the 5th bowler, he was relentless and probing.There was a test on SA's last tour of Australia where Kallis couldn't bowl (probably because of injury), and if you saw that match, you'd at once realized how SA missed Kallis because once their frontline bowlers were done bowling their spells, SA had to use trundlers as 5th bowler. In the role of a 5th bowler Kallis is certainly the best ever, better than Sobers.

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    The whole point of the article is to bring out extreme reactions from fans which it has suceeded...i had a friend like this who knew all the stats in the world but couldn't bat to save his life, If Kallis would have been born in India, he would have opened the innings (at least in the first half of his career when he was quick)...its not his fault he had better bowlers in his team.

  • sidganesh on January 2, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    Such a well-researched and thorough analysis but so inane and inconsequential! No sane man can ever deny the fact that Kallis is one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. Period.

  • on January 2, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Brilliant analysis, backed by irrefutable data and logic.

  • on January 2, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Bowling is not all about no of overs bowled. It is the amount of wickets or the amount of crucial partnerships being broken. Bowling is about no of maidens and controlling the score card. South Africa has all the time produced some great fast bowlers. Kallis dint get the chance to bowl more! Recently, Morkel got injured, and kallis was the man smith went to. That was the responsibility of Kallis. A true genuine all rounder.

  • Advin on January 2, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    Since we are talking statistics here,pl understand that Kallis averages more in both tests and ODI than India's (and one of the worlds) greatest ever batsmen and also India's best bowler in the last decade (Zaheer).

    If this and the fact that he has scored over 10,000 runs and over 250 wickets in both forms of the game does not entitle him to be called an allrounder,I don't know what does.

  • on January 2, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    Omg. You can't fathom it can you. This is by far the worst analysis I have read on cricinfo. He isn't worshipped by a billion so you can go after him. A guy who has done so much with grace while you needed to get West indies in just so that he could play his 200th test. What does a man have to do be rated as one of the greatest of all time? Kallis did it all. He never shied away from responsibility. Retired even though he could have continued if he wanted to. His last inning spoke of character. He is the modern day giant at par with sobers. A 50+ average. A decent bowling average. So what he didn't bowl more then 20 overs? It doesn't take away the fact that even as a bowler he was in slips taking catches and scoring runs. Just another Tendulkar fan. This guy was Tendulkar + Khan put together in one package.

  • DoosraMaar on January 2, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    Kartikeya Date, Basically you have got it bit other way.

    What is the main difference among Kallis and Imran Khan, Garry Sobers?

    They both were captains as well. The image of Imran, Sobers and Botham was all over the team. Kallis was low profile and he said that as well.

    So leading a side as all-rounder put Imran and Sobers ahead in character but not in stats. Whenever young guys will check Stats, They will say Kallis was the greatest all rounder. That is the fact. Just ask your son (if any) :)

    You have analyzed most of the Tests data, What about ODIs? Kallis was successful in all formats of game and as well in fielding.

  • on January 2, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    Nice article, but you have one significant omission in the "genuine, great" all-rounder category: Keith Miller.

    His bowling and batting averages aren't much different from what Imran Khan achieved, except he did it in the 40s and 50s.

    Lastly, while I agree with the overall hypothesis of Kallis not quite being in the same category, your case for excluding Kapil because "they admitted to being bowlers who could bat, like Pollock" is specious.

    It is difficult to recollect a single testing spell of fast bowling from Kallis. But no one can say the same about Kapil's batting.

    The strike rates achieved in his innings were archetypes for the 2000+ era, and expected of a player batting with a long Indian tail.

    His head-to-head with Botham, in 1982, was talent+consistency+dominance personified. Man-of-the-Series performance. Not bad for a guy who supposedly neglected his batting.

  • StaalBurgher on January 2, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    Jeez people can write any old thing on the internet. Kallis batted 3-4. No other "all rounder" you mentioned batted above 6. Kallis bowled as much as he could given his batting workload or his body wouldn't have survived 18 years. For the first half of his career he was the only elite batsman SA had. Over the last 5 years he has bowled less and slower sure. But pre-33 years he was bowling 140+ and as first change. Sad and mean spirited article from the usual anti-SA brigade. Kallis is clearly the greatest cricketer/all rounder to have played the game. Fortunately history will see him as such and sad commentary like this will be forgotten.

  • on January 2, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Comparing kallis's bowling with warne's batting was pathetic. A bowler have to bat at some stage even if he cant bat. And if he has some batting ability he will get some runs in 100 tests. A batsmen dont HAVE to bowl, kallis bowls because he bowls well. Getting 292 wickets is far tougher than scoring three thousand runs.

  • on January 2, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Simple fact of the matter: Imran averaged 22 with the ball. That average is as good as a batsman's average of 55+. And he averaged 37 with the bat. You'd say a bowler with a test average of 30-31 and a bowler with an average of 37 would be on par.

    This record compares favorably to that of Sobers'. Nobody else's does.

  • MK88 on January 2, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    This is flawed and one gets the idea that Kallis had to bowl a certain number of overs and take a certain number of wickets to be called a genuine allrounder by a certain Mr Date. Wrong. I hope next time you do so much research, it be of value, not to discredit one of the best cricketers of our time.

  • on January 2, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Very well analyzed...We are in doubt about Kallis is greatest player in our era but when trying to compare with other greats from different era then analysis comes in picture...I am amazed by the analysis how it can show you how people have played the game over the period...

  • kamaru on January 2, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    I think Flintoff is the real all rounder in contemporory

  • on January 2, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    While Kallis played many more Tests than Zaheer or Brett Lee, his bowling average (32.65) is almost identical to Zaheer's (32.66) and slightly poorer than Lee's (30.81). If he'd bowled more overs, he would have probably got more wickets. He didn't need to because (a) South Africa had a formidable pace attack and (b) towards the end of his career, his workload was being managed. The bottomline is, teams playing against the Safs always felt they were playing 11 men against 12 and that's the genuine hallmark of a class all-rounder

  • highveldhillbilly on January 2, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    I think your article misses an important point. Pollock would never have batted in the middle order but if if not for the high quality of SA bowling attack over the years Kallis probably would have opened the bowling and or bowled first change. Kallis could bolw up to speeds of 145km in his youth, watch his opening spell against Sri Lanka in the 1999 world cup - amazing stuff at high speed. This article sounds more like a gripe. Sobers strike rate per wicket was around 90 balls or 15 overs, IMO opinion that is a very poor strike rate for the worlds greatest all rounder. Regardless of how you try to package that number its poor. Plus he batted at 6.

  • on January 2, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    What about the catches he took alongside those wickets?

  • sajid1760 on January 2, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    A fantastic article and very well argued. However, many people consider Kallis a genuine all rounder based on his ability (averages) rather than his contributions (aggregates). Given the fact that he has had 166 tests to document his ability shouldn't we call him a genuine all-rounder? His bowling average is similar to Sobers and Zak while Pollock and Wasim's batting averages are quite a bit below even mediocre batsmen of their era and would never have made their sides first eleven based on their batting alone. The take on Kallis is that he could have been a strike bowler (perhaps not for the current south african side with Philander and Steyn) but his other attributes were so valuable that South Africa used him differently. Perhaps this is reason enough for Kallis not to be a genuine all-rounder but you definitely cannot place him in the same category as Pollock and Akram. Not surprisingly, all-time greats tend to defy categorization. Unfortunately, I have run out of charact

  • on January 2, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    The argument that Jacques was not an all-rounder is only valid if one accepts the author's narrower definition of what constitutes an all-rounder. Jacques was the first change bowler for many years in the earlier party of his career and the assertion that SA did nor want him to be an all-rounder does not make this so.

    He is 20th on the all-time list of balls bowled and 29th of most wickets taken and I think the author has been selective in his use of records to prove his case.

    Nevertheless I enjoyed the article.

  • GhummanFC on January 2, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    If Kallis was a genuine article as a pacer then his first class record wouldn't be abysmal as a strike bowler. He took 32% of his first class wickets outside of Test cricket. By numbers thats 292 wickets out of 427. This stat rockets up to 72%, 67% and 77% for Imran, Botham and Sobers respectively, who all took over thousand first class wickets. The baseball analogy of starting pitchers vs middle reliever does supreme justice to the argument of weather Kallis was a potent force as a bowler or he was a scavenger in the midst of Donald, Pollack and Steyn.

  • on January 2, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    I bet if Kallis was of a different nationality, much emphasis would be added on how great he really is. If you understood his workload, his role in the side and the amount of games he played, you would re-analyse the above thread. Not just any bowler can take five 5-fors. Besides Sanga, he averages more than all batsmen scoring more than 10k runs. Plus not just any bowler could take 292 wickets.

  • on January 2, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    You're overrating bowling perhaps. I would like to know the batting position of the other allrounders you've mentioned. You could add Daniel Vettori above Kallis with the same logic. But a batsman who bats at 3 and 4 most of his career, and still bowls 20 overs: and even in his 2nd last Test could replace main bowler as easily as he did has to be an allrounder. You need to see value. Because of Kallis, a lot of other bowlers did well. I like the comparison but if you talk about workload, add his slip catching (which means he has to concentrate all the time), his ODI workload (which is incomparable to the allrounders of previous generations). I don't even count T-20s but the previous age allrounders and this age allrounders are different.

    Someone who bats at 3/4 and bowls very good and tight 20 overs a game with ability to take wickets and bowl fast, as well as replace any of the main bowler if he's injured has to be the best allrounder you need. Or let him bat at 6/7/8

  • kallis_01 on January 2, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is 100% an allrounder, and a great one at that. He has a bowling average and strike rate that many out and out test bowlers would struggle to achieve (see Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Kahn) and very similar to Anderson. The only reason why he hasnt taking close to 350 wickets is that he played in a SA team that was packed with some of the best fast bowlers of the modern game (Pollock, Donald, Steyn). He didn't need to bowl. The fact that he did bowl and managed to pick up key wickets with his 80+mph swing bowling is a testament to his ability. The fact that he bowled in most tests and played a key role in the attack showed how highly the captains rated his bowling ability even when they had the likes of donald etc.Botham,Kahn had mediocre batting averages and wouldnt have made the team on batting alone. And Sobers had an inferior bowling average and strike rate. Clearly the article is flawed.

  • on January 2, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    He is definetely a genuine allrounder he was a number 4 batsman averaging 55 with the bat, 45 test hundreds , and he also took 292 test wickets, almost as many as Zaheer Khan has and at an average of 32 which is also the same as Zaheer Khan. He still bowled very regularly but of course not as much as a specialist bowler because they did not also bat for hours and hours during the match so one must look after a player of Kallis' ability , His bowling average is lower then Gary Sobers

  • santoshjohnsamuel on January 2, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    Any article by Kartikeya is a treat for the way he enables the reader to think differently, and this is one of his best.

  • on January 2, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    Yes I totally agree with you mate. If at all Kallis is to be considered as a genuine allrounder, then they also must treat Wasim , Pollock, Kapil Dev and Hadlee likewise. Also Kallis was never an overwhelming a player whether it be a bastsman or a bowler whereas Imran, Wasim and Kapil could turn it around anytime with both bat and ball and were real intimidating cricketers which Kallis never was.

  • spinkingKK on January 2, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    Mate, you should be writing more articles in this cricinfo. Very well written. This article just puts and end to the doubt I have been having. You have just took an argument and just put forth points in the most clearest way to prove that Kallis is not an all-rounder. I still have another doubt. In my school days (just when I started watching cricket) my hero was Ravi Shastri and he was considered an all-rounder and I also believed so. But, when I look up his stats, it is not great. I know that later part of his career, he was an opening batsman and very rarely bowled. But, in his early days he was doing both and could have been selected for batting or bowling on its own. Was he a genuine All-rounder

  • Cool_Jeeves on January 2, 2014, 5:06 GMT

    But a great thoughtful article. I would have loved it if the author had established numerical equivalence. For instance, how about these methods?

    Compare centuries and 5 fors, and total them up, and see on per match basis.

    Or take runs per match and wickets per match, adjusted for respective batting bowling averages. Compute a composite index.

    Or take an average differential in batting vis a vis the best batsmen for runs per match, and differential in bowing vs teh best bowler for wickets per match.

    Then only we can decide, who an all rounder really is. For instance, if you decide 20 runs per wicket, then Murali has equal to 16,000 runs in far fewer tests than Tendulkar. There is a need for a debate to establish equivalence between runs and wickets. Also remember, there are 7 batsmen but only 4 bowlers, so a 4/7 factor is also necessary.

  • on January 2, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    To compare stats across eras where players didn't have to play multiple formats of the game or tour nearly as much as the modern professionals warps the truth of the matter completely. It's an unrealistic notion that an all-rounder needs to be good enough to be picked as either a batsman or a bowler on any given day. If this was the case, then Sobers would be the only true all-rounder of all time. The only reason Imran would be mentioned in the same breath as Sobers is because the Pakistan team of the 80s had such inconsistent batting (bar Miandad) that you wouldn't pick anyone BUT Imran. Mirror this with modern all-rounders such as Johnson or Broad - you'd choose them for their dominant ability but take comfort in the fact that they can also help out with a secondary skill as well. This should not belittle their value to the team as an all-round cricketer. Kallis is second only to Sobers as the best all-rounder of the game.

  • on January 2, 2014, 4:18 GMT

    What non-sense, he took 292 wickets just bowling 20 overs per match at an average..that speaks volumes of his ability of being a wicket taking bowler..and how SA used him for longevity..look at someone being effective, just not efficiency to bowl 40 overs...Even i can draw comparision had he bowled more he would have got more than 500 wickets with say, 2000 runs less..then still he would be greatest all rounder..

  • on January 2, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    Good Article.Kallis was "NEVER" a specialist bowler. He would be brought on as a first change bowler in that 2 bowlers would bowl the opening spell and when they tired, he would be brought on.Kallis played under 3 captains - Cronje,Pollock and Smith. This strategy never changed under any 3 of them.But there was 1 significant diff between the teams in which Botham and Imran played and Kallis played.South africa always had a no of batsmen who could bowl and for a number of years. Eng/Pak never had them. Also the benchmark for allrounders should not be fixed at a certain number like say 3000 runs and 300 wickets. For this day and age this should vary as your table above shows for bowlers workloads over the years. What happened if Kallis took only 8 wickets less than that mark. Is he not an allrounder?. Take the example of the recent Joburg test. When Morkel was injured in india's 2nd innings, Kallis himself took 3 wickets and bowled 20 overs.That showed the value of his secondary skill.

  • Sir_Francis on January 2, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    Here's a thought. Why don't we compare Sobers & Kallis over the same number of Tests. (although they both retired at 38 Kallis has played substantially mores Tests, not to mention limited overs).

    Sobers M Runs Ave. Wkts Ave. S/R 93 8032 57.78 235 34.03 91 Kallis 93 7337 56.87 183 31.69 Couldn't find Kallis' S/R after 93 tests but overall it's under 70. Couldn't find batting S/R for either but I assume Sobers was much faster (I never saw him). These stats prove to me that both were all rounders and Kallis is vastly underrated. Would Sober's record be as good if he'd played as much cricket as Kallis over the same period of time? Probably, but that doesn't mean anyone should cricticise Kallis.

  • on January 2, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    here is why this is such a silly analysis.

    1. the criterion disqualifies a large if not all all rounders. kapil, imran, hadlee..so forth so on.

    2. you can't compare getting runs -getting wickets in the same category. just like you can't compare warne's runs vs kallis wickets. it's a general fallacy. half a statistician going through first year of college could tell you that.

    3. if you are to truly look at the comparison, you have to weight the impact of runs to wickets.

  • on January 2, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    Fantastic article that really gets to the nitty gritty of a deep issue.brilliant

  • on January 2, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Kallis at his his best bowled 140+ km/h and was good enough to open the bowling for any team. And he is arguably the best batsman of the generation. Him not bowling many overs has to do with the fact that Saffas always had a wonderful bowling attack. Everyone criticize him for being a team player that played his part.

  • on January 2, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Stats don't always tell the true story. Yes, Kallis wasn't a spearhead bowler but the comfort he gives to SA team is immense which other team struggle to find. Yes he hasn't bowl as much overs as other all rounders but the pressure he created and workload he shares creates an opening for other bowlers to flourish and South Africa thrive on that. And by the way every all rounder have priority in one department(you can check the analysis) and he is one of the very few all rounders whose priority is batting. Also one shouldn't forget his 200 test catch(One always underestimate contribution in catches)

  • CricIndia208 on January 2, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    There is no such thing as 'genuine' all rounders - there are either batting all rounders like Kallis, sobers or bowling aalrounders like Kapil, imran, Botham or Freddie. It is impossible to find genuine all rounders, I.e., batting average of around 50 AND around 4 wickets per test.

  • on January 2, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    I can't agree with that.

    Its a completely one sided argument to say that Kallis only 'bowls a bit' therefore isn't much of an all-rounder. All of Botham, Imran, Hadlee and Dev were primarily bowlers who were good but not great bats. In terms of batting Kallis was miles ahead of those four.

    If you want to consider the authors argument that the 'genuine all-rounder' has to be great at both, then Sobers is probably the only one. And even then he was a good but not amazing bowler. Its an illogical argument.

    For mine Kallis is every bit an all-rounder in the class of the 'big four'.

  • on January 2, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    Very logically & informative analysis. Excellent read!

  • Tano1 on January 2, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    A good barometer for a world class all rounder is a bowling average under 30 and a batting average above 30. Barring injury Chris Cairns could have eclipsed the likes of Botham and co. At his peak around the year 2000 he was simply unstoppable.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on January 2, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    old aged people always support old aged players, no matter how they perform. They also have other reasons such as uncovered pitches, no helmets, no powerplay etc etc etc. All rounder no need to bowl from very first over. Kallis best all rounder in top 2.

  • SRK666 on January 2, 2014, 2:15 GMT

    There're a lot of interesting statistics brought up here, but the conclusions all get a big "who cares". The drover's dog could tell you that Kallis wasn't anywhere close to the bowler that Botham or Imran (or, to a lesser extent, Sobers) were.

    And then there's all this needless anxiety about whether Kallis deserves to be called an all-rounder. Who cares either way? Calling Kallis an all-rounder doesn't diminish the records/achievements of Imran/Botham/Sobers/Pollock/Hadlee/Kapil. Refusing to call Kallis an all-rounder doesn't suddenly erase his bowling record and mean that when comparing him to Tendulkar/Lara/Ponting we should only consider his batting.

    The only moderately interesting observation is that we're more inclined to extend the courtesy of calling a player an "all-rounder" when they have good batting records and mediocre bowling records, and not when they have good bowling records and mediocre batting records.

  • on January 2, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    This is easily the best article i've ever read on cricinfo.

  • on January 2, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    It is like this... when you bowl, you must take wickets, and kallis has a pretty decent average and strike rate (32 and 69) comparable to zaheer (33 and 60) - so kallis did that, he could be the strike bowler when used as one - its about the 'ability' and the 'function' - kallis could function as a strike bowler if his team needed him. that is what makes him more than a batsman who could bowl. that is what south africa mean by saying they go into a test with 12 players when they have kallis in the team. could you ask for such a luxury from any of the other players in the 10000+ runs club? considering maybe dravid and ponting as those players who, apart from kallis, would be in the 'good fielders' category in the 10000+ runs club. what did the guy need to do more? not being born in a country of 1 billion ppl was not his fault. he isnt god because no one bothered to go overboard with his statistical prowess to bestow titles upon his grace.

  • on January 2, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    don't agree with this analogy.. another allrounder who never gets his due.. is Sanath Jayasuriya. in odis he has 13430 runs & 323 wickets. probably the greatest allrounder ever to play ODIs records wise only Kallis is close.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/49209.html

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/45789.html

  • on January 2, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    So many spoken about yet no mention of the great Keith Miller? If you want a guy who would be picked if he could only bat or only bowl, Miller was one.

  • on January 2, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    I like this article very much.

  • Dazzling_Devil on January 2, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    There was hardly any need for Kallis to bowl in the latter half of his career. There were too many quickies (Steyn, Morkel, etc) available for SA, hence there was no need of him to be used in long spells. Additionally, injuries also prevented him from bowling in most matches in his second half. Just compare his bowling role in first and second half.

  • MK88 on January 2, 2014, 1:00 GMT

    All this work in order to just say Kallis is not an allrounder? A cricketer is a bowler or batsman if his primary role in the team is to bowl or bat, regardless of how many overs he bowls or where he bats, and regardless of how many wickets he takes or how many runs he scores (that tells us how good or bat he is at his role). Kallis's role in the SA team was to do both, therefore, he is an allrounder. Why should Kallis have to bowl as many overs as Botham or Sobers or have their stats to be called an allrounder by you? Good luck convincing people who know cricket well that he isn't an allrounder.

  • Dysan25 on January 2, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    The reason Kallis is considered a Great is because it's tougher to pick wickets (for a Batting Allrounder) than to score runs (for a Bowling Allrounder). Ofcourse both take time and effort, but picking wickets is generally tougher than scoring runs. Cover drives can end up as boundaries at deep square leg. A slog to midwicket can fetch a couple of runs at third man. But is that equivalent to picking a wicket of a set batsman or a good batsman at a crucial time in the test match ? Not really. The reason Bowling Allrounders look more flamboyant and match-winners than Batting Allrounders is due to their ability to turn the match on it's head by picking wickets in a heap. But for a Batsman, it takes atleast 2 to 3 sessions to make an impact through his runs. And what Kallis has managed is being effective both as a Middle Order Batsman and a Bowler who can pick wickets by clocking 130+ k. And to do this tirelessly for over 18 years is itself an indication of his Greatness.

  • on January 2, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    Kallis was mostly a gap filler as a bowler, where he could bowl 80% of the standard of other bowlers (just shows how Good the SA attack is) and ensure the main bowlers bowl at high intensity. In the process he would pick up the odd 1 or 2 wickets as well. He isn't quite like other all rounders like flintoff today and ones mentioned in this article as these guys can get 100 and 5fer in one match. Having said that he is one of the best cricketers in the world and perhaps top 3 in todays decade. The author raised a valid point on batting all rounders being rated higher than bowling all rounders. I personally prefer bowling all rounders as with batting all rounders the bowling role is almost negligible. But Kallis is different because he does bowl a lot more than say someone like shane watson, and when in mood he can clock 145ks, or swing the bowl a lot.

  • robelgordo on January 1, 2014, 23:58 GMT

    Great article.

    Kallis is an all-time great batsmen but I agree he's not an all-time great allrounder. To consider him in the same category of player as Sobers, Botham, Khan etc. is an error.

    I don't think an allrounder needs to be capable of being picked as either a batsmen or a bowler - that excludes almost everyone from the conversation - but they do need to asked to pull their weight as both a batsmen and bowler.

    Your analysis of Kallis's lack of bowling workload combined with under 2 wkts per test demonstrates he's a batsmen who bowls.

  • marubini on January 1, 2014, 23:45 GMT

    When I read this article to me it seems only sobers was an all rounder nd this others bowlers who can bat vice versa,but if u look at kallis wickets most of them are big wickets,wickets that change games,he ddnt take tailornders wickets that much.nw the next challenge for the author is who took the most important wickets?from all this allrounders.

  • litchfield on January 1, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    keith miller belongs in that list

  • liz1558 on January 1, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    Thank you, thank you so much. Not an all rounder - achieved pretty much what Steve waugh would've had he stayed fit. A great batsman who bowled.

  • on January 1, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    I've had the pleasure of meeting Sobers but in my opinion, Kallis comes no-where near that class. Sobers was the best all-rounder the world has ever had. He could bat well, bowl well: he could bowl left arm spin or right arm pace; tell me any other player who has done all that and do a very good standard?

  • sifter132 on January 1, 2014, 23:04 GMT

    cont. Another factor with that definition is team strength, Heath Streak might have made Zimbabwe team as a batsman, but only because it was a weak team. In a stronger team he bats at 9. That's where Miller shines again, he played in the Invincibles. Kallis would have bowled a lot more if he'd played elsewhere, it's not his fault he played in a golden era of South African fast bowling.

    The other question, regarding batting ARs vs bowling ARs is simply answered. Bowlers HAVE to bat, so racking up runs is relatively easy because they always get a chance (except perhaps a guy like Warne who often only got 1 innings per Test). Batsmen have no such commitment to bowl, and are only chosen to bowl if the captain feels they will do a good job. THAT is why batting all-rounders are seen as a higher standard, they produce stats/wickets because their bowling is a compelling option for the captain, lower order batsmen will bat anyway, whether they are good or not.

  • sifter132 on January 1, 2014, 23:03 GMT

    'a player who is good enough to make the team as a specialist batsman, or as a specialist bowler, and is used in both those roles' Romantic notion, but I think almost ZERO players fit this category eg. Was Ian Botham really one of the best 6 batsmen in England in the 80s? I would argue no and if he stuffed his shoulder and couldn't bowl, he probably wouldn't have been in the team. Imran Khan played as a batsman a couple of times when dealing with injuries, and Garry Sobers arguably could have made the WI team as a specialist bowler. Keith Miller is the closest I can find, he opened the bowling and batted top 5, he was arguably most important to his team of the great all-rounders.

    But if you're aruging that Kallis' usage stops him being an all-rounder, surely Sobers qualifies too - most times he was a bowler who merely held up one end. His strike rate in Tests is 91, which is the WORST of any bowler who took over 200 wickets (only 2 others are over 80: Bedi and Gibbs).

  • TheScot on January 1, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Everyone has their own perception of a cricketing allrounder. I agree with author that Kallis was not South Africa's go to bowler. He could not have made SA team on his bowling abilities alone. But, part of the reason for that is that SA traditionally has been blessed with too many good to great pace bowlers. What if Kallis was playing in some other national team? Sri Lanka/India/New Zealand/Zimbabwe/Bangladesh? I believe he would have made to any of these 5 teams just on his bowling abilities. I don't agree with author's belief that Kapil and Hadlee were not all rounder. They were indeed very good allrounders. But then again, everyone has their own perception ...

  • since7 on January 1, 2014, 22:42 GMT

    There is a very serious flaw in the analysis you have done.You seem to compare Kallis(whose primary skill is with the bat)with the list of bowlers who were mostly strike bowlers(barring maybe Sobers) and whose primary contribution to the team is with the ball.If that's the case,you should also be comparing Imran and Botham with a list of specialist,important batsmen in terms of maybe the balls faced(theoritically) or the ability to hold the innings together. If you do that Botham and Imran won't classify as all rounders either.

    Your idea of imposing rigorous standards on the idea of a 'test' allrounder is fine but if you implement it 'fairly'(not selectively),perhaps only Sobers would truly classify as the definitive all-rounder. Even his bowling tapered at some point.Kallis,Sobers belong to a very rare breed of a cricketer.A top order batsman who is the best in their side also doubling up as a very capable seam bowler.

  • anton1234 on January 1, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    Imran Khan, Botham, Kapil, Richard Hadlee were all bowlers who could bat a bit on their day, but I wouldn't categorise them as true allrounders. The true allrounders were Sobers, Kallis, Miller. Kallis was an exceptionally good batsman but he could also bowl 90mph, and at his peak averaged around 28-29 despite being a reluctant bowler quite often. The bowling average tapered off somewhat in the latter stages of his career, not unexpected given he was in his middle thirties and high workload with the bat. A good swing bowler who hit the deck hard at very good pace. For me, the second greatest allrounder behind Sobers and slightly ahead of Miller. Those three are in the top band. Imran Khan, Botham, Hadlee are in the second band while Kapil is in the third., along with a few others.

  • Diaz54 on January 1, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    Throw in another attribute....Captaincy....Imran as captain had a great record. Won World Cup under his captaincy. All rounder means all rounder. Kallis is no doubt great. But never captained

  • on January 1, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    Jacques Kallis could make just about any Test side around the world as a bowler, but SA didn't need him that much. He certainly was an allrounder, possibly the greatest

  • Unomaas on January 1, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    If Kallis had gotten 8 more wickets and qualified for your all rounder gold standard, would we be having this debate?

    The thing you forgot to mention is that Kallis played in a Saffa team that had a great bowling attack with 3 successive bowling greats (Donald, Pollock, Steyn) coupled with some other great bowlers and allrounders thrown in too (Ntini, Klusener, Morkel, Philander). Its a wonder there any wickets left for Kallis at all.

    When people compare bowling stats between Sobers & Kallis, they always leave out the SR. Why is that? Its a VERY significant difference! Sobers had to bowl 22 more balls to get a wicket. When getting a 5-fer, Sobers had to bowl 110 more balls than Kallis. Equating that to modern day cricket, Sobers + team would have leaked 50-75 runs more than Kallis + team.

    Kallis might not have bowled as much as the others but your analysis only seems to highlight the fact that Kallis had more impact with his bowling. You are singing his match winning praises!

  • on January 1, 2014, 21:31 GMT

    A seriously flawed article. I very much doubt that either Botham or Khan would have been able to hold down a position in their teams on batting alone. Khan averaged 36, which in itself would make for a very average batsman, and he only ever managed 6 centuries in 88 matches. Hardly world class figures. Botham is even worse, averaging just 33, just slightly more than Shaun Pollock, whom this writer has told us is not in his mind considered an all-rounder. So by his reckoning, there has only ever been one all-rounder in test cricket, Sobers? Kallis has opened the bowling for his country, bowled death overs in ODI's, and taken 5 5 wicket hauls (only 1 less than Sobers). Had Kallis played for any other team, or had he been any less of a vital batsman to his team, he would no doubt have bowled far more overs, and taken a lot more wickets. Logically, how can a man who has taken close to 600 international wickets and 25000 odd runs not be considered an all-rounder? A poor piece of writing.

  • JohnnyRook on January 1, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    Author is wrong in definition of allrounder. Botham, Imran, Hadlee and Kapil wouldn't have been in the team just on the basis of their batting. An average of 40 is just not good enough for a batsman. Also Sobers wouldn't be in the team just on the basis of his bowling. So an allrounder being in the team either as a batsman or a bowler is just plain fantasy.

    Also I think gold standard of a great allrounders, 3000 runs and 300 wickets itself is seriously flawed. Taking 300 wickets is truckloads more difficult than making 3000 runs. To give you an example, highest number of wickets taken by an individual is 800 i.e. 2.67 times of 300. But highest number of runs made by individual is 15k+, thats more than 5 times. Also you can get bowlers like Warne, Kumble, Akram etc who may have made 3000 runs. But you can't expect a batsman to take 300 wickets.

    Kallis was a great allrounder because he could be in the team just as a batsman and could bowl great too.

  • on January 1, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    Hi, I do agree that Kallis is an allrounder. However, great all rounders are those that were selected because they could fail as bowler but do great things with the bat or vice versa. One is not in class with Sobers if one is in the team because he is a good bowler and can bat or a good batsman who can bowl. You have to be prolific to such an extent with the bat and the bowl that the answer is affirmative in both cases. Thus for Kallis one would have to ask the question - If he was not scoring well and an alternative batsmen was available at his position on the batting list would he be kept in the team because he could replace one of the bowlers? Sobers was consistent in performnace with bat and bowl until he retired - that is a great all rounder.

  • on January 1, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    Kallis is definitely an allrounder. He's played the bowling allrounder role (4th seamer) competently for an unprecedented length of time, while far surpassing his batting allrounder role (a competent no.6/7) by actually being one of the all time great batsmen for an almost unprecedented length of time.

  • Huw_Nathan on January 1, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    The idea of determining an all-rounder should also include the fielding prowess as well. We could have been discussing either batting, bowling or wicketkeeping within our calculations.

    Please note that Kallis also took 200 catches in addition to topping 13,000 runs and over 290 wickets. We should not underestimate the importance of reliable fielding as well. We are quick to criticise when the chances are missed.

  • novostik on January 1, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    Very bad comparison!

    Kallis batted at no. 3 most of his career while the other great all rounders mentioned in the article used to come late in the innings after putting their feet up and recovering from their bowling workload. You can't compare workloads across decades, so much more cricket played now-a-days.

  • qwertyuiopqwertyuiop on January 1, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    kallis according to me is the greatest all rounder along with sobers. both average around 56 with the bat and both average around 32 with the ball therefore if you can consider sobers to be an allrounder then kallis is definitely an all rounder too.

  • on January 1, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    I believe the author is correct in general - Kallis certainly didn't bowl a lot of overs throughout his career (test). I recall in the late 90s/early 2000s when Donald/Pollock lead the proteas attack under Cronje - Kallis was essentially a 4th/5th bowler. Essentially a luxury option. Then in the circa 2001-2006 (before Steyn emerged & Ntini peaked as a bowler) when Donald retired /Pollock declined, when S Africa were in a bad period - Kallis's bowling didn't ever take up extra responsibility. Kallis technically did not take a 5 wicket haul vs a strong opponent since vs England @ Leeds 2003.

    You compare that to Sobers who was generally a main bowler in a 4-man attack of Hall/Griffith/Gibbs.

    However just because he didn't bowl a lot as other all-rounders or other bowlers with similar records - doesn't mean he cannot be called an all-rounder. He could still make most teams on the strength of his bowling & was just simply the most the elite "batting all-rounder" in cricket history.

  • midnightschildren on January 1, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    Sorry, cant agree with this article. By the same logic (i.e., Kallis was a batsman who could bowl) Imran Khan and also Kapil Dev were both bowlers who could bat. Whether they would have made it to their respective teams by virtue of their lesser skills, that is batting, is debatable and also dependent on the particular strengths of the respective teams, which is not necessarily an assessment of their skills. I doubt very much if Kapil would have made it to the Indian team by virtue of his batting alone in the 70s and 80s. India had a reasonably good batting line up in the eras of slow and dependable test batsmen.

  • RockcityGuy on January 1, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    Amazing...U won't belieive it but i thought of sending an article to inbox in cricinfo making a case for Pollock...It's our natural bias towards batsmen...Kallis is a legendary stonewaller...Show me someone who avrages >45 with the bat and < 25 with the ball and I will agree that 'all rounder' is a valid term...:-)

  • on January 1, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    The problem is that there is no accepted definition of an all-rounder.

    If you define an all-rounder strictly as someone who would justify their place solely on either discipline, then no, Kallis probably wouldn't qualify. However, if you look at him as a "front-line" batsman and a "front-line" bowler (i.e., more than just a part-timer), then I would say that he does qualify.

    The author noted that Sobers was a better bowler than his overall stats would suggest, and Kallis was the same. As always, stats are not the only way to measure value in cricket.

    Finally, why no mention of the old-timers, like WG?

  • on January 1, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    absolutely..Kallis is a great batsman who could bowl..but never a frontline bowler. just because he had the skills does not mean he can considered as a full fledged allrounder.

  • on January 1, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Whether you classify him as an all-rounder or not, he is a cricketing great in his own right and will be the only cricketer in world cricket, who took 13,000 runs at 55 average (of all the batsmen who scored 10K run or more, only Sangakarra averages more than him by only 1.00) who has also taken 292 wickets.

  • blogossip on January 1, 2014, 18:39 GMT

    kallis was a batting allrounder- a category which somehow you refuse to accept.

    reason for him being underbowled was SA always had abundant fast bowlers like Donald,Ntini, Steyn,Pollock etc. Iam amazed at certain aspects of your analysis where you used distance travelled /day to categorise a bowler. Wasim Akram had shortest of runups and at times bowled with 12 or less steps yet touched speeds of 85ish kph.

    if kapil or hadlee dont classify themselves as all rounders, thats humility rather than technical disqualification for being allrounder.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 1, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    It's also the uniqueness factor coming into play. The sheer novelty os seeing a world class batsman bowl above 130kph is skewing perception. Would we regard Kallis as a truly great all rounder if, for say, he bowled decent offspin? The sight of a frontline batsman bowling spin is common. Every generation has a handful of these characters but they very rately get their due. Even at the height of his ODI powers and taking over 300 ODI wickets Sanath Jayasuriya was always that hard hitting batsman who bowled decently. Would he have been considered a true ODI great allrounder if his bowling had been 135kph. The novelty factor alone would probably have skewed perceptions.

  • on January 1, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    He scored runs and he took wickets - lots of them - ergo, he's an allrounder. Why all the quibbling? If Zaheer Khan with an test bowling average of 32.66 and Ishant Sharma with a test bowling average of 38.81 can be considered front-line bowlers, what's the problem with Kallis? It's not the number of overs you bowl; its the number of wickets you get and the runs per wicket you concede that is more important, don't you think?

  • gotmymojo on January 1, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    The author needs to get his head examined. Kallis is an exceptionally great allounder - batting, bowling and catching. Test, ODIs and T20s. One can statisically prove anything with numbers. It is not everything. It's how you do it that counts

    That way, I would not call Imran an allrounder too, because his batting was good but not great. Hadlee was a great bowler but only an ok batsman. Kapil was ok bat & ball but nothing great.

    Gary Sobers is another story, the greatest - nobody even comes close by a mile!

  • gudolerhum on January 1, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    Excellent analysis of an aspect too often missed when is ascribing the term "great" to an allrounder. Kallis was not a hit man, more a go to bowler who maintained control. One will say he took a lot of wickets but that point may be overemphasised in an analysis of his results. He was a batsman who could bowl and bowl well, but would he have made a SA team as a bowler alone who could only bat at say 8 to 11? Sobers was the most all round allrounder, he was genuinely fast and also bowled two kinds of left arm spin Unique in his own right. In any modern team he would earn a place for any one of his skills. His batting would empty a bar or bring a crowd just in the hope of seeing him bat.

  • its.rachit on January 1, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    I would not consider Kappil Dev as an all rounder if I went according to you .. He could never make it to the team as a batsman alone ...

  • B.C.G on January 1, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Imran & Botham were considered strike bowlers for their country.Their batting was always a bit of a bonus.Imran had a period where he averaged 52;but then he didn't bowl much arouund this time.Kallis has to compete with even better strike bowlers than him viz. Steyn,Donald,Polly,Ntini,Philander..........He bowls only with an older ball & never gets to finish off the tail(see his large number of middle order dismissals).Kallis also considered his bowling serious enough.He refrained from bowling only when not 100% fit.

    Using your analogy- Imran,Beefy & even Hadlee were perhaps the greatest among that more common category of Test players -bowlers who could bat. Also Pollock is definitely considered an all rounder like the above trio.Don't know why you think differently?

  • eZoha on January 1, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    Difference between batting average and bowling average of a player is good enough criteria for me. The higher the difference, the better an allrounder you are. To sustain that over a long career and achieve 250+ wickets and 5000+ runs - sounds pretty good to me. Probably Kallis' batting average is too damn good and that's creating confusion in the author's mind.

  • on January 1, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    Eye opening analysis. Cant seem to find any fault with the logic used...which in turn is well presented.

  • on January 1, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    great research don by Kartikeya Date regarding allrounders

  • on January 1, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    great research don by Kartikeya Date regarding allrounders

  • on January 1, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    Eye opening analysis. Cant seem to find any fault with the logic used...which in turn is well presented.

  • eZoha on January 1, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    Difference between batting average and bowling average of a player is good enough criteria for me. The higher the difference, the better an allrounder you are. To sustain that over a long career and achieve 250+ wickets and 5000+ runs - sounds pretty good to me. Probably Kallis' batting average is too damn good and that's creating confusion in the author's mind.

  • B.C.G on January 1, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Imran & Botham were considered strike bowlers for their country.Their batting was always a bit of a bonus.Imran had a period where he averaged 52;but then he didn't bowl much arouund this time.Kallis has to compete with even better strike bowlers than him viz. Steyn,Donald,Polly,Ntini,Philander..........He bowls only with an older ball & never gets to finish off the tail(see his large number of middle order dismissals).Kallis also considered his bowling serious enough.He refrained from bowling only when not 100% fit.

    Using your analogy- Imran,Beefy & even Hadlee were perhaps the greatest among that more common category of Test players -bowlers who could bat. Also Pollock is definitely considered an all rounder like the above trio.Don't know why you think differently?

  • its.rachit on January 1, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    I would not consider Kappil Dev as an all rounder if I went according to you .. He could never make it to the team as a batsman alone ...

  • gudolerhum on January 1, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    Excellent analysis of an aspect too often missed when is ascribing the term "great" to an allrounder. Kallis was not a hit man, more a go to bowler who maintained control. One will say he took a lot of wickets but that point may be overemphasised in an analysis of his results. He was a batsman who could bowl and bowl well, but would he have made a SA team as a bowler alone who could only bat at say 8 to 11? Sobers was the most all round allrounder, he was genuinely fast and also bowled two kinds of left arm spin Unique in his own right. In any modern team he would earn a place for any one of his skills. His batting would empty a bar or bring a crowd just in the hope of seeing him bat.

  • gotmymojo on January 1, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    The author needs to get his head examined. Kallis is an exceptionally great allounder - batting, bowling and catching. Test, ODIs and T20s. One can statisically prove anything with numbers. It is not everything. It's how you do it that counts

    That way, I would not call Imran an allrounder too, because his batting was good but not great. Hadlee was a great bowler but only an ok batsman. Kapil was ok bat & ball but nothing great.

    Gary Sobers is another story, the greatest - nobody even comes close by a mile!

  • on January 1, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    He scored runs and he took wickets - lots of them - ergo, he's an allrounder. Why all the quibbling? If Zaheer Khan with an test bowling average of 32.66 and Ishant Sharma with a test bowling average of 38.81 can be considered front-line bowlers, what's the problem with Kallis? It's not the number of overs you bowl; its the number of wickets you get and the runs per wicket you concede that is more important, don't you think?

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 1, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    It's also the uniqueness factor coming into play. The sheer novelty os seeing a world class batsman bowl above 130kph is skewing perception. Would we regard Kallis as a truly great all rounder if, for say, he bowled decent offspin? The sight of a frontline batsman bowling spin is common. Every generation has a handful of these characters but they very rately get their due. Even at the height of his ODI powers and taking over 300 ODI wickets Sanath Jayasuriya was always that hard hitting batsman who bowled decently. Would he have been considered a true ODI great allrounder if his bowling had been 135kph. The novelty factor alone would probably have skewed perceptions.

  • blogossip on January 1, 2014, 18:39 GMT

    kallis was a batting allrounder- a category which somehow you refuse to accept.

    reason for him being underbowled was SA always had abundant fast bowlers like Donald,Ntini, Steyn,Pollock etc. Iam amazed at certain aspects of your analysis where you used distance travelled /day to categorise a bowler. Wasim Akram had shortest of runups and at times bowled with 12 or less steps yet touched speeds of 85ish kph.

    if kapil or hadlee dont classify themselves as all rounders, thats humility rather than technical disqualification for being allrounder.