Allrounders September 14, 2009

Men of many parts

No Vettori or Hadlee, but there are still four strong contenders for the allrounder spot

Now we come to those rarities in international cricket, men who provide sides with balance, men who allow sides to place prolonged trust in the specialists around them. And, as is true of two on New Zealand's shortlist for this segment, the big stars, the alpha males.

John Reid and Chris Cairns were obviously the big stars of the teams they played in, the extroverts whose personalities found complete expression when playing cricket. Both could have gone on to represent New Zealand in rugby too, but fate brought them to cricket. Up against them is Bruce Taylor, who made the sort of start people dream of, scoring 105 when he batted for the first time in Tests, and taking 5 for 86 the first time he bowled.

As has been the trend worldwide, New Zealand too have struggled for allrounders since Cairns' retirement. Daniel Vettori can lay claim to being one, but as he himself considers his bowling his primary skill and batting a bonus, for the purpose of this poll he is better considered a specialist bowler. Ditto with Richard Hadlee.

The contenders

John R Reid Would have been an allrounder in the most complete sense possible but for an attack of rheumatic fever early in his career. Before that, he was a better rugby player than he was a cricketer, but he couldn't pursue his stronger sport to add to his batting, bowling, fielding and wicketkeeping feats on cricket fields.

Bruce Taylor His century and five-for on debut, against India at Eden Gardens, remains a record untouched. He followed that up with a 5 for 26 in the next Test. In seven Tests against West Indies he averaged 53 with the bat and 23 with the ball. An aggressive batsman, and a canny medium-pacer, Taylor played 30 Tests during which he just fell short of completing the 1000-runs-100-wickets double.

Chris Cairns When not a rebel or injured or simply self-destructing, Cairns was as fine an allrounder as any of his time, a clean hitter of the ball, and a potentially devastating bowler. That he could never achieve consistency, and that he managed only 62 Tests, meant his figures of 3320 runs (at 33.53) and 218 wickets (29.40) were a poor justification of his prodigious talent.

Jacob Oram His suceptibility to injury has reduced the 1.98-metre tall Oram to bowling restrictive medium pace in Tests, and he has commented that the modern game with its busy calendar is not a breeding ground for Test allrounders. But five centuries in 33 Tests is not a bad return if his doubling up as a change-up bowler is considered.

We'll be publishing an all-time New Zealand XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To vote for your top New Zealand allrounders click here

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Heath on September 17, 2009, 21:39 GMT

    My NZ team would be,GM Turner,JG Wright,B Sutcliffe,MD Crowe,SP Fleming,JR Reid c,RJ Hadlee,KJ Wadsworth,DL Vettori,RC Motz,SE Bond.My 12th man would be,CL Cairns.

  • Lindsay on September 15, 2009, 20:06 GMT

    With all due respect - and a piece of my cricketing heart goes out to Chris Cairns cos I loved to watch him play - but when you need a man to do the job and put everything into it every time you can't go past John Reid. Cairns was incredibly talented but... you know the rest. And slipping back to the openers, while Richardson has great stats and worked incredibly hard and blew everyone away with his success i suspect if he'd kept playing his average - like many kiwi batsmen of his era - would have kept going down. John Wright on the other hand just kept getting better and in the last few years of his test career was world class. Lastly, Cowie must be a must-pick. He can't be left out because of his low number of tests; for crying out loud he played every single test going over a long period. Just read his bio on this website. I think this separates him from the likes of Donnelly, who there is some debate about. Dempster, I'm still thinking about. Not that my opinion means anything.

  • Samundra on September 15, 2009, 16:55 GMT

    My NZ XI 1) Glenn Turner, 2) Mark Richardson, 3) Bert Sutcliffe, 4) Martin Crowe, 5) Stephen Flemming, 6) Brendon McCullum, 7) Chris Cairns, 8) Daniel Vettori, 9) Richard Hadlee, 10) Shane Bond, 11) Jack Cowie 12th man: Martin Donnelly Five specialist batsmen, one of the finest wicket-keeper batsman around but have yet to really prove his worth at the test level, one of the better allrounders the world has seen and injury permitting, could have been one of the best ever, four extremely good bowlers capable of destroying any line-ups on their day. Martin Crowe and Bert sutcliffe could be used as partnership breakers and Martin crowe would be the captain cool with Stephen flemming acting as his deputy. Not a perfect XI but capable of beating any XI on their day.

  • Dylan on September 15, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    What a team this would be - 1. G Turner 2. M Richardson 3. A Jones 4. M Crowe 5.J Ryder 6. C Cairns 7. B McCullum 8. D Vettori 9. R Hadlee 10. S Bond 11. J Cowie

  • B. on September 15, 2009, 1:53 GMT

    Have you seen the top seven of the Aussie all-time XI? Trumper, Morris, Bradman, Chappell, Border, Miller, Gilchrist. As handy a player as Oram is, he's not making a dent in that lineup... Hadlee, Cowie and Vettori are workhorses, so even with a crock like Bond in the lineup, you only need 10-15 overs a day from your fifth bowler, but they have to good overs... It's correct to call C. Cairns a bit of an underachiever as a batsman. He had more natural talent with the bat than, say, Craig McMillan, yet Macca's average is five runs higher. (As for Botham, he too should have scored more runs than he did.) I think that Cairns was the better player, but Reid balances the lineup better. This is New Zealand we're talking about, you know our number six is going to come in at 4/96. With Cairns at six, we'd be 5/98 in no time. 1962 John Reid was a world-class batsman, with sound defence and a threat of game-changing power hitting. This is true of Cairns as well, but JR did it more consistently.

  • Simon on September 15, 2009, 1:42 GMT

    If you're looking for out and out pure breed allrounders with bat and ball your choices have to be Cairnsy and Reid. Reid's test numbers are good for an allrounder and his first class numbers excellent. Cairnsy was New Zealand's matchwinner for a decade, and as pointed out he shares similar averages to Ian Botham. I feel that Bruce Taylor falls into the same category as Hadlee and Vettori, a bowler who was a useful bludger of the ball but not an out and out batsman - his numbers point to this, and I think his return of 111 wickets at 26 would have him near the team as a bowler alone.

  • David on September 15, 2009, 1:20 GMT

    The fact is, you have Chris Cairns and Bruce Taylor deserving spots in an NZ Line Up. My team out of the names you've given so far 1. Richardson, 2. Donnelly, 3. Sutcliffe, 4. Crowe, 5. Fleming, 6. Cairns, 7. Taylor Looking into the future, 8. Parore, 9. Vettori, 10. Hadlee, 11. Bond

  • ain on September 14, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    This will be my all time NZ team: 1. GM Turner - NZs most prolific first-class run scorer, 103 first-class centuries. 2. B Sutcliffe - Simply one of NZ's best ever players, and he was best first opening the batting. Held the world record highest first-class score by a left-hander for decades (385). 3. SP Fleming - Makes the team because he's the best captain NZ's ever had. 4. MD Crowe - Best NZ batsman ever. Most test 100s, NZ's highest first class average, NZ's highest test score.....etc 5.JD Ryder young talented left hender with great potantiol 6. CL Cairns - NZ's best batting allrounder 7. BB McCullum will be my wk with great batting talent 8. RJ Hadlee - NZ's best bowling allrounder & NZ's best ever bowler. 9. DL Vettori - Great left arm spinner - outstanding batter too (better than any other NZ spin bowler 10. SE Bond - NZ's most effective and controlled bowler of those who could bowl upward of 150 km/h. 11. DL Morrison another fastman.

  • Ryan on September 14, 2009, 15:06 GMT

    I feel we should make an exception with NZ and pick 2 all rounders (plus Hadlee and Vettori). NZ's strength is their multiple dimensional players. Cannot pick between Cairns and Oram but know for sure that all 4 combined i.e. Cairns, Oram, Hadlee and Vettori (even though the latter 2 are sure to be picked as specialist bowlers) would greatly strengthen the NZ side.

  • Freddie on September 14, 2009, 14:52 GMT

    cloudmess you are absolutely correct. But you know why Beefy gets all the accolades and Cairnsy gets downtrodden? Because he is English. Plain and simple. For years England players, commentators and writers have always cast the view that New Zealand are a third rate team of dibbly dobbler no hopers that do the best with thier limited resources. Even when we outplayed them in the test series in 99 they still blamed the fact that they had got it wrong and not that NZ were the better team. They continually believe that they are a more exciting outfit then NZ even though we have won pretty much every one day series and match up with them in the last 7 or 8 years. Chris Cairns was an outlandish talent that leaves Flintoff Broad and co in his wake and more then matches up to Beefy!! People do not give him enough credit for how correct he use to play and how straight he use to hit a ball. I will always remember the slower ball to C Reid that bowled him all ends up. It was Pure Magic!!

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