Stats analysis: Imran Khan November 1, 2010

A giant among allrounders

At his peak, Imran Khan the bowler was easily among the best in the world, while his skilful batting and inspirational captaincy made him the complete package
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Even among the many great allrounders who have played the game, Imran Khan stands out. He was the complete package: a technically sound batsman who could defend or attack as the situation demanded; an aggressive fast bowler who could swing and seam the new ball and the old one; and an inspirational captain who held the Pakistan team together by the sheer force of his personality and gave Pakistan their proudest moment in international cricket. Apart from Garry Sobers, his stats compare favourably with every other allrounder. Imran finished with a Test batting average of almost 38 and a bowling average of 23, and those numbers didn't flatter him, for he was as good as they suggest.

Perhaps where Imran stood out, even when compared to other great allrounders, was that at various times in his career his stats were among the world's best in both bowling and batting. Over his entire career, bowling was undoubtedly his stronger suit, but when a severe stress fracture in his shin forced him to restrict his bowling, he improved his batting so much that in his last five years in international cricket his batting average was among the highest in the world.

Imran began his Test career in England in the summer of 1971, but he established his credentials as a genuine Test player only in late 1976: first, he took 14 wickets in three home Tests against New Zealand, and then, on the tour to Australia later that season, he destroyed the home team in Sydney with a pair of six-wicket hauls, which gave him his first ten-for in Tests. It remains the best match figures by a Pakistan bowler in Australia. Riding on that momentum, Imran picked up 25 wickets in five Tests in the West Indies, and then matched up well against the big boys in two seasons of the World Series, again taking 25 wickets at an excellent average of 20.84. Despite all that success, though, his overall stats in the 1970s were quite modest when compared with what was to follow in the next decade.

In the 1980s, Imran was in his pomp, and he was easily among the top five players in the world during this period. Till the end of 1988, both his batting and his bowling were in fine fettle: he averaged almost 40 with the bat and less than 18 with the ball, numbers which indicate quite emphatically just how dominant he was. He was even more lethal in the 14 months between November 1981 and January 1983: in 16 Tests during this period he averaged almost 48 with the bat, and took 104 wickets at an incredible average of 14.87, with eight five-wicket hauls. India and Australia played six Tests each against Pakistan during this period, and both suffered extensively at the hands of Imran: he destroyed India's much-vaunted batting line-up with 40 wickets at 13.95, while Australia fared only slightly better, conceding 29 wickets to him at 16.65. Of the 11 Man-of-the-Match awards he won in his entire Test career, five came in a six-month period from August 1982 to January 1983. In the third Test of that series against India, Imran scored 117 in Pakistan's first innings and had match figures of 11 for 117, making him one of only two players - Ian Botham is the other - to score a century and take ten wickets in the same Test.

In his last three years in Test cricket Imran didn't bowl much, averaging only about 25 overs per Test, but his batting went to a new level altogether, as he went past 50 nine times in 20 innings.

Imran Khan's Test career
Period Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Till Dec 1979 25 832 22.48 0/ 1 98 31.88 5/ 1
Jan 1980 to Dec 1988 48 2028 39.76 4/ 10 236 17.77 18/ 5
Jan 1989 onwards 15 947 72.84 2/ 7 28 33.53 0/ 0
Overall 88 3807 37.69 6/ 18 362 22.81 23/ 6

In ODIs too, Imran's career followed a similar pattern: the 80s were his most prolific period with bat and ball, while in the last three years of his career his bowling took a back seat. His biggest ODI exploit was obviously leading Pakistan to the World Cup win in 1992, where his contribution extended beyond his inspirational leadership: his bowling wasn't a huge force, but with the bat his efforts at No.3 were key in the semi-final and the final, where his 72 was the highest score of the match.

While his best period in Test cricket was the 1982-83 season, in ODIs, quite surprisingly, his peak year was 1989. He played 26 matches that year, easily his highest in a calendar year, and shone with both bat and ball, scoring 793 runs at 46.64, and taking 29 wickets at 25.79. Of the 13 Man-of-the-Match awards he won in his entire ODI career, six came in that year alone.

Imran Khan's ODI career
Period ODIs Runs Average Strike rate Wickets Average Econ rate
Till Dec 1980 14 108 15.42 59.34 16 25.93 3.32
Jan 1981 to Dec 1989 122 2651 33.98 75.67 142 22.96 3.90
Jan 1990 onwards 39 950 36.53 66.90 24 48.66 4.12
Career 175 3709 33.41 72.65 182 26.61 3.89

During his peak years in Test cricket, Imran was easily the best allrounder among his peers. In the nine years between 1980 and 1988, his bowling average of 17.77 was almost 22 lesser than his batting average - the difference was clearly the best among those with 1500 runs and 100 wickets during this period. Hadlee's bowling performances were exceptional during this period, but he couldn't quite match up to Imran with the bat, while both Botham and Kapil had far lesser success with the ball.

Top allrounders between 1980 and 1988 (Qual: 1500 runs, 100 wickets)
Player Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM Diff in ave
Imran Khan 48 2028 39.76 4/ 10 236 17.77 18/ 5 21.99
Richard Hadlee 51 1987 31.04 2/ 10 284 19.03 28/ 7 12.01
Ian Botham 72 3989 34.38 10/ 19 255 31.83 15/ 2 2.55
Kapil Dev 72 3103 31.98 5/ 16 242 30.05 14/ 2 1.93
Ravi Shastri 61 2702 34.64 7/ 10 132 38.24 2/ 0 -3.60

In fact, extending this analysis to all Test cricket, only Sobers had a higher difference between batting and bowling averages (among those with at least 3000 runs and 200 wickets, and two wickets per Test). Jacques Kallis is the other allrounder who has more than 3000 runs and 200 wickets - and a huge difference between batting and bowling averages - but for much of his career Kallis has been a batsman who bowls a bit: his 266 wickets have come from 140 Tests, an average of less than two wickets per match.

Best allrounders in Tests (Qual: 3000 runs and 200 wkts; at least two wkts per Test)
Player Tests Runs Average 100s Wickets Average 5WI Diff in ave
Garry Sobers 93 8032 57.78 26 235 34.03 6 23.75
Imran Khan 88 3807 37.69 6 362 22.81 23 14.88
Shaun Pollock 108 3781 32.31 2 421 23.11 16 9.20
Ian Botham 102 5200 33.54 14 383 28.40 27 5.14
Richard Hadlee 86 3124 27.16 2 431 22.29 36 4.87
Chris Cairns 62 3320 33.53 5 218 29.40 13 4.13
Kapil Dev 131 5248 31.05 8 434 29.64 23 1.41

In his pomp, not only was Imran the best allrounder, he was also the best bowler in the world. At a time when a connoisseur of fast bowling would have been spoilt for choice, for there were so many great ones going around, Imran was still the best of the lot with an average of 17.77 and a strike rate of less than 44 balls per wicket. Hadlee was next in line, with three West Indians following in their wake. The top six all averaged less than 25, which is also a telling commentary on the balance of power between bat and ball during that period.

Top bowlers in the world between 1980 and 1988 (Qual: 150 wickets)
Bowler Tests Wickets Average Strike rate 5WI/ 10WM
Imran Khan 48 236 17.77 43.6 18/ 5
Richard Hadlee 51 284 19.03 47.0 28/ 7
Malcolm Marshall 58 297 20.20 44.7 18/ 3
Joel Garner 49 210 20.62 51.8 7/ 0
Michael Holding 45 184 23.38 50.3 9/ 1
Dennis Lillee 35 171 24.07 52.3 11/ 3

What's more surprising, though, is the sort of numbers Imran racked up as a batsman when his glory days as a bowler were over. He was technically sound and could play with the straightest of bats, and when he worked on his patience and temperament, the result was a batsman who could play long innings and adapt his game according to the needs of the hour. In the last five years of his career, Imran averaged 59.69 in 28 Tests, and four of his six Test hundreds came during this period. Among those who scored at least 1500 runs during this period, only New Zealand's Martin Crowe had a better average.

Admittedly, the average was boosted by the number of not-outs he notched up - 11 in 37 innings - but that further illustrates how difficult he was to dismiss during the last years of his Test career. Even Javed Miandad had a lower average, though he scored almost 1000 more runs than Imran.

Highest batting averages between Jan 1, 1987 and Jan 6, 1992 (Qual: 1500 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Martin Crowe 24 2186 60.72 8/ 8
Imran Khan 28 1552 59.69 4/ 9
Graham Gooch 32 3282 55.62 8/ 18
Andrew Jones 20 1703 54.93 5/ 6
Javed Miandad 35 2512 54.60 8/ 10
Mark Taylor 28 2565 53.43 7/ 17
Robin Smith 28 2118 52.95 6/ 15
Shoaib Mohammad 32 2175 50.58 7/ 8

One of the highlights of Imran's career was his battles against the best team of his times, West Indies. As a batsman he wasn't as effective against them, but as a bowler he was superb, taking 80 wickets at 21.18. Comparing the stats of the four superstar allrounders of that era against West Indies, it's clear that three of them raised their games against them - Hadlee and Kapil too had terrific numbers against them - but the disappointment was Botham, who struggled with both bat and ball.

The four allrounders against West Indies
Player Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Imran Khan 18 775 27.67 1/ 3 80 21.18 6/ 1
Richard Hadlee 10 389 32.41 1/ 1 51 22.03 4/ 1
Kapil Dev 25 1079 30.82 3/ 4 89 24.89 4/ 1
Ian Botham 20 792 21.40 0/ 4 61 35.18 3/ 0

Perhaps even more impressive than his individual performances against West Indies was the manner in which Imran inspired his team to raise their level against them. He led them on three occasions versus West Indies between 1985 and 1990, and each series was a classic, with each team winning a Test every time. Imran the bowler was outstanding in two of those series, taking 18 wickets at 11.05 in 1986, and 23 wickets at 18.08 in 1988. During that period Pakistan was the only team to win more than one Test against West Indies. (In complete contrast, England won one and lost 11 Tests against them during this period.)

In fact, one of the stand-out aspects of Imran Khan was the manner in which he lifted his performances when he became captain: in the 48 Tests in which he led Pakistan he averaged 52.34 with the bat and 20.26 with the ball; in the 40 Tests in which he wasn't captain his batting average was 25.43 and his bowling average 25.53. Imran's batting average of 52.34 is among the highest by captains - only four have led in 40 or more Tests and averaged higher. Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border were among those whose batting average as captain was lower than Imran's. Under him, Pakistan also won 14 Tests, which remains the joint-highest (along with Miandad) for Pakistan.

Best Test averages as captains (Qual: 40 Tests)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Brian Lara 47 4685 57.83 14/ 19
Greg Chappell 48 4209 55.38 13/ 19
Peter May 41 3080 54.03 10/ 15
Ricky Ponting 73 6429 53.57 19/ 34
Imran Khan 48 2408 52.34 5/ 14
Steve Waugh 57 3714 52.30 15/ 10
Clive Lloyd 74 5233 51.30 14/ 27
Allan Border 93 6623 50.94 15/ 36
Sunil Gavaskar 47 3449 50.72 11/ 14
Graeme Smith 78 6564 50.10 19/ 26

Imran's ODI numbers were pretty impressive too, though his bowling average of almost 27 didn't do complete justice to his skills. He averaged only slightly more than one wicket per match, but that was also because of the stress fracture, which severely curtailed his bowling. When on song, even the best of batsmen found him difficult to handle: in Sharjah in 1985, he destroyed the Indian batting line-up with figures of 6 for 14, though Pakistan ended up losing by 38 runs.

As a batsman, Imran was a terrific matchwinner: in matches that Pakistan won, he averaged almost 47, which was well above his overall batting average of 33.41. Among Pakistan's batsmen who scored at least 2000 runs in wins, only four have a higher average. Given that he was a man for the big occasions, it's hardly surprising that his World Cup stats are better than his overall career numbers: his only ODI century came in a World Cup game, against Sri Lanka in 1983, while he is one of only six bowlers to take 25 or more wickets at an average of less than 20.

Best bowling averages in World Cup games (Qual: 25 wickets)
Bowler ODIs Wickets Average Econ rate
Shane Bond 16 30 17.26 3.50
Glenn McGrath 39 71 18.19 3.96
Brad Hogg 21 34 19.23 4.12
Imran Khan 28 34 19.26 3.86
Shane Warne 17 32 19.50 3.83
Muttiah Muralitharan 31 53 19.69 3.83

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 4, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Correction Sunil Gavaskar> Len hutton. Gundapa Vishwanath> Miandad. Kapil> Imran. Sachin Tendulkar> Don Bradman. Murlidharan> Harbhajan Singh. Warne> Anil Kumble. Adam Gilchrist> MS Dhoni. McGrath> Srinath. Garfield Sobers>>> then anyone.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 4, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Anil Kumble> Shane Warne...... Harbhajan Singh> Muttiah Muralitharan...... Sachin Tendulkar>Don Bradman..... MS Dhoni> Adam Gilchrist..... Javagal Srinath>Glenn McGrath...... Gundapa Vishwanath> Javed Miandad..... Sunil Gavaskar> Len Hutton..... Kapil Dev>Imran Khan..... Ravi Jadeja> Sir Garfield Sobers. Right, now my dear friends will not have any problem with this.

  • mozzi_786 on November 4, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    I am disappointed my post was not posted. Still will maintain that Imran was a greater allround cricketer than Kapil though. Please remove Ranjan Mishra's comments on Indian Muslims as it will hurt lot of people sentiments.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 3, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Agree with cricketchopper on almost every matter except the exclusion of Hadlee and Hutton. In my opinion, Hadlee was better than McGrath and Richards didn't play that much test cricket

  • SubsB on November 3, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    This has refference to the list "ESPN Legends of Cricket"....makes me wonder about the fact that Kapil Dev - ranked 22, who was voted the cricketer of the century in India is ranked below Gavaskar - ranked 10 and Tendulkar - ranked 7. also Akram - ranked 21 - in all probability among bowlers Marshall - ranked 16 can only be above him as a bowler. Lillee did not perform on the sub continent pitches...this points to a clear bias among the 15 elite judges consisting of mainly former greats and cricket experts

  • SubsB on November 3, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    Another of way of looking at the comparison would be to look at the % of runs that each of these all rounders scored against each opostion and the % of wickets that they took against each opostion...when Kapil Dev played for India...India rarely took more 13 - 14 opposition wickets per test match...I guess it must be lower against the top most team of the time - West Indies. Botham never performed against West Indies. Imran was always part of a better team in his time where as Kapil was always part of one of the weaker teams in world cricket

  • GoldenAsif on November 2, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    Correction:

    I actually meant Sydney 1976 (not Perth 1974) - Imran Khan too 12/165. And Wasim's bowling averge was 23.62

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    OMG..... I can't believe it. First they tried to prove Tendulkar better than Bradman. Now Dev over Imran and after Bhaji's retirement, I think they would probably suggest him better than Muralitharan. What great fans these players have got in fact fanatics should I say.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    @Mishra: I agree with you hundred percent but only if you agree with me that Ijaz Ahmad was way better than Gavaskar and Tendulkar. :p. Kapil lies in the league of Chris Cairns and Ian Botham mate. Imran, Sobers and Miller were a notch above them.Richard Hadllee and Wasim Akram were pure bowling all rounders and their battings were not that good to cement them a place in their teams. Otherwise, they were great cricketers(among the greatest bowlers ever but certainly not categorized them among the greatest genuine all rounders). Botham and Dev were genuine but we can neither classify them among greatest batsmen nor among greatest bowlers ever. But in case of Imran and Sobers, one was among the greatest bowlers in the history and second was one of the greatest bat with also having a strong record in other department, good enough to win them a place in their teams

  • absha1 on November 2, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    The most interesting question which arises from this stats analyses is how fast bowling all rounders get a bum rap compared to batting all rounders, whose figures are psychologically inflated. Here is the big question; which Imran was greater? 1. The guy in the middle of his career, who averaged 40 with the bat and 17 with the ball. The difference in average is 23. 2. The guy at the end of his career, who averaged 73 with the bat and 33 with the ball? The difference in average is 40. Who would you take? The great fast bowling all rounder, or the great batting all rounder? Purely, are they equal? Just consider the dominant skill. Does the fast bowler who averages 17 have a greater impact on the game than the batsman who averages 73? Balance them with the second skill. 40 (batting) versus 33 (bowling)? I would always take the bowler to win a test, but each to their own. Answer it, and then compare Imran to Sobers. Who do you take? Is Sobers ahead of Imran, or an equal, or behind?

  • on November 4, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Correction Sunil Gavaskar> Len hutton. Gundapa Vishwanath> Miandad. Kapil> Imran. Sachin Tendulkar> Don Bradman. Murlidharan> Harbhajan Singh. Warne> Anil Kumble. Adam Gilchrist> MS Dhoni. McGrath> Srinath. Garfield Sobers>>> then anyone.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 4, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Anil Kumble> Shane Warne...... Harbhajan Singh> Muttiah Muralitharan...... Sachin Tendulkar>Don Bradman..... MS Dhoni> Adam Gilchrist..... Javagal Srinath>Glenn McGrath...... Gundapa Vishwanath> Javed Miandad..... Sunil Gavaskar> Len Hutton..... Kapil Dev>Imran Khan..... Ravi Jadeja> Sir Garfield Sobers. Right, now my dear friends will not have any problem with this.

  • mozzi_786 on November 4, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    I am disappointed my post was not posted. Still will maintain that Imran was a greater allround cricketer than Kapil though. Please remove Ranjan Mishra's comments on Indian Muslims as it will hurt lot of people sentiments.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 3, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Agree with cricketchopper on almost every matter except the exclusion of Hadlee and Hutton. In my opinion, Hadlee was better than McGrath and Richards didn't play that much test cricket

  • SubsB on November 3, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    This has refference to the list "ESPN Legends of Cricket"....makes me wonder about the fact that Kapil Dev - ranked 22, who was voted the cricketer of the century in India is ranked below Gavaskar - ranked 10 and Tendulkar - ranked 7. also Akram - ranked 21 - in all probability among bowlers Marshall - ranked 16 can only be above him as a bowler. Lillee did not perform on the sub continent pitches...this points to a clear bias among the 15 elite judges consisting of mainly former greats and cricket experts

  • SubsB on November 3, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    Another of way of looking at the comparison would be to look at the % of runs that each of these all rounders scored against each opostion and the % of wickets that they took against each opostion...when Kapil Dev played for India...India rarely took more 13 - 14 opposition wickets per test match...I guess it must be lower against the top most team of the time - West Indies. Botham never performed against West Indies. Imran was always part of a better team in his time where as Kapil was always part of one of the weaker teams in world cricket

  • GoldenAsif on November 2, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    Correction:

    I actually meant Sydney 1976 (not Perth 1974) - Imran Khan too 12/165. And Wasim's bowling averge was 23.62

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    OMG..... I can't believe it. First they tried to prove Tendulkar better than Bradman. Now Dev over Imran and after Bhaji's retirement, I think they would probably suggest him better than Muralitharan. What great fans these players have got in fact fanatics should I say.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    @Mishra: I agree with you hundred percent but only if you agree with me that Ijaz Ahmad was way better than Gavaskar and Tendulkar. :p. Kapil lies in the league of Chris Cairns and Ian Botham mate. Imran, Sobers and Miller were a notch above them.Richard Hadllee and Wasim Akram were pure bowling all rounders and their battings were not that good to cement them a place in their teams. Otherwise, they were great cricketers(among the greatest bowlers ever but certainly not categorized them among the greatest genuine all rounders). Botham and Dev were genuine but we can neither classify them among greatest batsmen nor among greatest bowlers ever. But in case of Imran and Sobers, one was among the greatest bowlers in the history and second was one of the greatest bat with also having a strong record in other department, good enough to win them a place in their teams

  • absha1 on November 2, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    The most interesting question which arises from this stats analyses is how fast bowling all rounders get a bum rap compared to batting all rounders, whose figures are psychologically inflated. Here is the big question; which Imran was greater? 1. The guy in the middle of his career, who averaged 40 with the bat and 17 with the ball. The difference in average is 23. 2. The guy at the end of his career, who averaged 73 with the bat and 33 with the ball? The difference in average is 40. Who would you take? The great fast bowling all rounder, or the great batting all rounder? Purely, are they equal? Just consider the dominant skill. Does the fast bowler who averages 17 have a greater impact on the game than the batsman who averages 73? Balance them with the second skill. 40 (batting) versus 33 (bowling)? I would always take the bowler to win a test, but each to their own. Answer it, and then compare Imran to Sobers. Who do you take? Is Sobers ahead of Imran, or an equal, or behind?

  • GoldenAsif on November 2, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    @ Lekson

    The reason why Imran's captaincy stats don't look so great is because Imran refused to captain Pakistan against weaker teams in the 80s - against Sri Lanka and a depleted NZ team (touring Pakistan minus Hadlee). And guess what Imran was proven right. Pakistan whitewashed both series 3-0 and Miandad took the honours - i.e. those 6 test victories went under Miandad's belt

  • on November 2, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    RAJAN how pitty its for you that you r now upto alot of LAME ESCUSES.its only the wrong choice of player you are defending against the worst choice player imran..PITTY. checheche

  • GoldenAsif on November 2, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Greatness is measured by one's performance against the very best and among his contemporaries Imran Khan had the best bowling record against the greatest team (West Indies) of his tiime - 80 wckets in 18 tests @ 21.19. Hadlee was the next best - 51 wkts in 10 tests @ 22.04 followed by Kapil - 89 wkts in 25 tests @ 24.90 and Lillee - 55 wkts in 12 test @ 27.75. Wasim probably had more variety but Imran Khan's bowling stats are much superior esp. when you take into account his performances against the best team of the time. That is a hell of a record. In fact, I consider Akram at no 3. if you talk about Imran Waqar and Akram. Waqar was better then any bowler during his initial 3-4 years before the back injury and still matched Akram's exploits after the injury. Akram's initial record is nowhere close to what Waqar was in his peak days. Overall yes Wasim had a lengthy career and more or less an injury free one but I would always rank Imran, then Waqar and then Wasim based on bowling.

  • GoldenAsif on November 2, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Let's leave aside the all-rounders debate for a while. Even if we accept that Sobers is the greatest all-rounder in history, the comparison is a bit unfair. Sobers was predominantly a great batsman who could bowl a bit. He rarely won matches for WI with his bowling. Imran on the other hand was a great fast bowler who could bat a bit. He single-handedly won test matches for Pakistan with his great fast bowling - notably Perth 1974, Headingley 1987, George Town 1988. I am arguing the point that Imran deserves to be in any World XI purely based on his fast bowling skills alone. Even if one looks at overall bowling stats, Imran's bowling average (22.81) is better than Lillee's (23.92) and Wasim's (22.62). Add to that his greater batting and leadership skills and he was a superior cricketer than Lillee, Marshall and Wasim

  • Lekson on November 2, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Imran was a great bowler but highly overrated as an all-rounder.6 centuries in 88 Test Matches over a period of 21years doesn't sound great to me.Botham and Kapil were much better all-rounders than Imran because they turned matches with both bat and ball at the same time. Imran had a lot of irrelevant not-outs at the end of his career which boosted his batting average in a lot of dead and drawn matches.His fielding too was nothing to write home about.Even his captaincy record in test matches wasn't that great either. 14wins in 48 matches. Wasim 12 wins in 25 matches and Javed 14wins in 34 matches even had better captaincy records for Pakistan so I think Imran is highly overrated. Botham and Kapil were better and more entertaining all-rounders.

  • on November 2, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    @Mishra: You are absolutely r8 my brother...his average would dropped to 20 if Imran had to score 5500 runs. To get 5500 he needed to score 1700 more runs in at least 149 Innings with average 11.4 runs per innings when his average was on the sharp rise!!. And you are also right in your comments that Kapil win 1982 WC with no great or good players....as Gavaskar, GR Bishwanath, Veng Sarkar or Mahindra Amarnath lack class. You are also right that Imran won the WC with greats like Inzy (who started his career 3 months before WC) and Waqar (who didn't play the WC).

    And at last we all agree that Kapil is the greatest all-rounder-bowler-batsman-fielder-wicket keeper- captain the world cricket has ever seen. Its very unfair for Kapil not to be selected in any one of the All Time XI's by the ESPN-CricInfo selectors....I protest it on behalf you my brother :-)

  • cricketchopper on November 2, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    NOW the ultimate All Time World XI is: 1)Gavaskar,2)Barry Richards,3)Don Bradman,4)Vivian Richards,5)Gary Sobers,6)Imran Khan,7)Alon Knot, 8)Marshal, 9)Shane Warne, 10)Murli Dharan, 11)Magrah. ANYONE can change any player in this XI following the given criteria. For example: If you want to select Sachin or Lara, you have to exclude Viv Richards,Gary Sobers or Bradman from the XI. If you want to select Hadlee, Ambrose or Garner, you have to exclude Magrah. If you want to include Marshal, you have to include Holding, Lillee or Trueman in his place. etc. etc.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 2, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a great bowler but lower order Harbhajan like batsman. In second half he was an average bowler but a tenacious batsman with limited stroke play but sound temperament (like Manoj Prabhakar). Hence, his overall record taken together looks better than anyone but in truth he was never at a bowling and batting peak together for any decent length of time (unlike Botham from 1979-1982) hence the tag of allrounder does not apply to him. At one time he was a great bowler and much much later a dependable batsman. PS: thats why you dont see many match winning all round performances from him like Botham and Sobers etc even though he won quite few matches based on his bowling alone early in his career.

  • cricketchopper on November 2, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    BUT he is a good batsman too. Therefore, you select Imran Khan as the 5th bowler. NOW you go to select a wicket keeper and feel that you should select best wicket keeper whatever his bating capacity is because he will keep wickets for 5 dangerous bowlers. You select Alont Knot being the best wicket keeper ever. TILL NOW, your team is: Imran Khan, Alon Knot, Marshal, Warne, Murli, Magrh. NOW You are going to select 3 best middle order batsmen ever irrespective of their bowling capabilities. You find Bradman and Sobers as undisputed choices. NOW, you have to select one out of: Viv, Sachin, Lara, Graeme Pollock, Wally Hammond, George Headley, Greig Chappel. You ultimately select Viv Richards. UP TILL NOW you have select this team Bradman,Sobers,Viv Richards,Imran,Alont Knot,Marshal,Shane Warne,Murli,Magrah. You add two openers like Gavaskar and Barry Richards. (Contd......)

  • cricketchopper on November 2, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    NOW You select the best Fast and Furious bowler on the basis of average, records and wicket conditions which is Marshal. Then you try to select a medium fast bowlers on the basis of his consistency, average, strike rate and wicket conditions. You find a tough competition between Magrah,Hadlee,Garner & Ambrose. Ultimately you find Magrah inches ahead of others and select him without considering other things like bating of Hadlee and Height of Garner.

    Now your team is in reverse order: Murli,Magrah,Warne,Marshal,

    NOW 5th bowler is going to be selected. You are not going to select a fast and furious or medium fast consistent bowler rather you are going to select either a left hander or reverse-swinger. But another reservation is that your bating would become a little weaker and you want to know whether there is a chance to select a left hander or reverse swinger with some bating. You find that Imran Khan is debateably and record wise equal bowler to Waseem,Waqar & Barnes. (contd.)

  • cricketchopper on November 2, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    LISTEN ALL, I am going to tell you how a world Xi should be selected.

    It is clear that XI is going to have best batsmen of history so first select a bowling line capable to easily out twice the opponent side. For this purpose we need 5 effective bowlers as there are 90 overs in a day. When you are selecting 5 bowlers it is easy for you to select two spinners more so because the 2 most wicket taking bowlers are spinners and it is hard to prefer one on another. Moreover, both are of quite different types. Therefore, you first select Shane Warne and Murli Dharan as spinners. Now you are going to select three pace bowlers. You have two things in mind: record wise best bowlers with different types. You have four types: 1) Fast and furious like Marshal,Lillee,Holding, Trueman, 2)Consistant type medium pacers like: Magrah,Ambrose,Hadlee,Garner, Keith Miller, 3)Left handers: Wasim, S.Barnes etc. 4) Fast and furious with Reverse Swing: Waqar, Imran. (Contd........)

  • absha1 on November 2, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    It is funny, and sad, really, how some people here are so desperate in trying to put down Imran. For those who argue that Imran's career was two phases, the stats analyses shows, it was three phases. 1. an average all rounder (22 bat - 32 bowl) he was, as benaud says, picked before his time. 2. the complete, greatest, all rounder (40 bat - 17 bowl) what part of this does not scream complete all rounder? no one, not miller, not botham, not dev, not hadlee, comes close in their pomps. read their stats analyses. 3. batting all rounder (72 bat - 33 bowl) what part of this does not scream great batting all rounder? and funnily, he has 28 wickets in 15 tests here - less than two a test, like Kallis. personally, i think Imran's 6 centuries equal Sober's 6 five wicket hauls. Its just psychological that batting figures always seem higher. And this analyses does not even properly weigh his man of the match and man of the series awards - stunning and against the best teams of his time

  • Arabocentricasian on November 2, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    Richard Hadlee, said that Imran was the most consistent of us( the allrounders of that era), u can watch the legends of cricket episode. That man said it himself. As far as Kapil Dev is concern, Wasim Akram has been a better allrounder. Kapil, not even in the same league as Imran Khan.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 2, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    Well said "Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a great bowler but lower order Harbhajan like batsman. In second half he was an average bowler but a tenacious batsman with limited stroke play but sound temperament (like Manoj Prabhakar). Hence, his overall record taken together looks better than anyone but in truth he was never at a bowling and batting peak together for any decent length of time (unlike Botham from 1979-1982) hence the tag of allrounder does not apply to him. At one time he was a great bowler and much much later a dependable batsman. PS: thats why you dont see many match winning all round performances from him like Botham and Sobers etc even though he won quite few matches based on his bowling alone early in his career."

  • on November 2, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    Well his stats are better but if someone play less cricket for longer period as Imran did they are bound to have better stats. I wll explain why- 1. Their body recover better then a guy who has been playing regularly. 2. People forget about them and they almost always produce excellent performance in their return series however guys who play continously opposition study them find their weakness and attack on them.

    The point is proved again by the stats given above nobody in their right mind would suggest Imranwas better bats man then Gavaskar, Border or Waugh.

    As far as captaincy is concerned, its about getting amazing results with an average team like Kapil did in 1983 but Imran had a finest team with Greats like Inzy,Miandad,Akaram and Waqar in 1992.

    However controversial there is argument Imran and other did use unfair means to produce better performances (ball tempering and all).(even their team mates claim that recently)

    Having said that All Imran Khan is a Great cricketer.

  • on November 2, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    ranjan mishra and others who claims that kapli was best then imran and dont beleive on stats as shown are just living in dreams.truth is in front of us all in form of stats.i hope imran should be in pakistan cricket board to polish and make good policies for the sake of beetterment of cricket in pakistan.............imran you rocks.

  • fadooo on November 2, 2010, 7:13 GMT

    Who accuses him of ball tampering ? Really ridiculous to see the absurd extent people go to when they dont have a genuine argument. Imran himself admitted using a bottle top in a meaningless county game. No one else accused him. If he could admit doing it in one county game, if he had done it in an international game, he would have admitted it as well.

  • on November 2, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    someone here said Imran was a better batsman than Ganguly.. are u kiddin me.. :P

  • Chirs-Cry on November 2, 2010, 1:25 GMT

    @ Mishra with respect, i would like to say that mate i am still not convinced as Kapil being the best among all all-rounders of that era. he was surely indias finest but there were far better all-rounders than him, in shape of Imran, Hadlee and Botham. Since your talking about stats, so let me give you a example my friend. Bradman is better than Tendulkar, right. but he played 50 test and avg 99. so the thing u are saying is that if he had played more then his avg would have gone down like tndulkar, but his class wouldn't have been effected at all like Imran. though Imran has less runs and wickets but he avg higher than Kapil in batting and lower in bowling,in fact the finest among that era, in both formats. so Imran Khan is the best allrounder, along with hadlee, botham and then kapil to follow......any UNBIAS cricket fan would agree.

  • on November 2, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    for those who think kapil was a better allrounder...the stats say tht kapil was not even near to imran..or perhaps kapil does not even qualify to be considered as a competitor both with bat and ball...i like kapil as an allrounder he was among the better cricketers but not in the league from which IMRAN belongs.

  • on November 2, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Absolutely the best since Sobers as the other all-rounders never matched his captaincy ability as well as his personal performances. Arguably he was the best captain ever to play the current game. Current Pakistani results only help to show how good he was. The Butts and Afridis cant hold a candle to him. Also at his peak he was the fastest bowler of his time. In Australia in a competition which included Thomson and Hadlee he came out fastest! He was still batting at the middle order even then. Remember Pakistan has some dead old pitches. Has any of you watched a match at Lahore...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Farhan020328 on November 1, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    I think there is no match with Kapil Dev with Imran. Imran was a real gutsy captain who believed, nothing's impossible. Malcolm Marshal and Ian Botham are match with him. It's funny that even Ravi Shastri was compared in one criteria :)

  • on November 1, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    greatest all rounder of all time. Yes, even better than Sobers. Sobers did not captain a team for 10 years like Imran did.

    I agree wirth the other poster, Kallis is top 3 all time, just because he is boring to watch does not mean he should not be included. Imran, Sobers and Kallis all time top 3

  • on November 1, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    Kapil scored many more run and century then imran. If imran has to score 5500 run his average would have dropped to 20. Kapli also took many more wicket then Imran. If Imran was carrying attck and has to bowl so much like kapil he would have not lasted for few years. I am sure my Muslim friends from india and pakistan would not agree but kapil is the best allrounder among all of them.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 1, 2010, 22:09 GMT

    A great bowler he was but one always wonders what his figures must have looked like if there was not this cloud of ball tampering hanging over it. Second, it is no secret that on ome pitches he did benefit from umpires tendency to uphold his appeals.

  • knowledge_eater on November 1, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    Quite disappointed that my comments didn't appear, but may be it wasn't cricket related. Or may be I said the same thing as people said on here. http://www.cricinfo.com/legends-of-cricket/content/site/451900.html?channel=344641;program=1059501 Last video, part 4.

  • sundarb on November 1, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/team/7.html?class=1;opposition=4;spanmax1=29+Dec+1990;spanmin1=16+Jan+1986;spanval1=span;template=results;type=team;view=series

    To have played against the best, most dominant team in the world in his time in 3 series and never losing to them is a tremendous feat in itself. He also said in an interview recently that had he won the Windies series in 1988 as 2-0, he would have retired as that was his ultimate dream. That did not happen and 1992 WC happened.

  • Engle on November 1, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    Imran was the first genuine fast bowler from the sub-continent. There I said it. Others were medium pacers or fast flashes. The sub-cont. was consistently in a defensive mind-frame. Sure they had superb spinners, medium pacers and some very good batsmen. But to move from a defensive mind-set and into an attacking, aggresive one, they had to produce a superb fast bowler who could breathe fire and brimstone and take on the quickies from Australia, England, WIndies. Imran made that quantum leap, that paradigm shift, which yanked the youth into the world of fast, attacking, penetrating bowling. It is for this intangible, immeasurable reason, that he ranks above his minions, the Wasims and Waqars that emerged from his wake.

  • BillyCC on November 1, 2010, 21:10 GMT

    Xolile, who was in your All Time XI?

  • on November 1, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    @Venjal,

    Dude, from your comment, I have to deduce that you know the 1992 world cup only from scorecards and did not actually watch it. 1992 world cup was the first world cup that I followed and because of that I remember it vividly even now. The contributions of Imran Khan in that world cup can never be overstated. Midway into the tournament, Pakistan were down and out and it was Imran Khan who lifted them. You say it was the contributions of Haq and Akram that won them the world cup. You might be right in that. But it was the contributions of Imran and Miandad that setup the games for Haq and Akram to apply the finishing touches. It was Imran who sent in Haq ahead of Akram in the semifinal game (although everyone else wanted Akram). And do not forget that Imran was playing the world cup under great pains (back and knee I believe). So what I am saying is it is naive to compare Imran of 1992 with Akram of 1992. Imran would still come out on top (because of batting and captaincy).

  • BoomBoomAdnan on November 1, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    he cud make any team either on bowling or his batting alone no other player in the world cud do that he cud even now play for pak n just stand there n do nuthing n just b the captain n wud do a better job than all the captains in the world. just hope he becomes the PM of pakistan

  • Mahesh.R on November 1, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    He was one of the best bowlers of his generation. In fact, he was one of the very best of all time. Only a few can be considered better or equal.A Marshall or a Lille or a Barnes can be considered slightly better, perhaps. McGrath and Ambrose might be treated as his equals. But, then, add to this, his brilliant batting skills and amazing captaincy skills. Imran is a true legend.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 1, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a great bowler but lower order Harbhajan like batsman. In second half he was an average bowler but a tenacious batsman with limited stroke play but sound temperament (like Manoj Prabhakar). Hence, his overall record taken together looks better than anyone but in truth he was never at a bowling and batting peak together for any decent length of time (unlike Botham from 1979-1982) hence the tag of allrounder does not apply to him. At one time he was a great bowler and much much later a dependable batsman.

    PS: thats why you dont see many match winning all round performances from him like Botham and Sobers etc even though he won quite few matches based on his bowling alone early in his career.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 1, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a great bowler but lower order Harbhajan like batsman. In second half he was an average bowler but a tenacious batsman with limited stroke play but sound temperament (like Manoj Prabhakar). Hence, his overall record taken together looks better than anyone but in truth he was never at a bowling and batting peak together for any decent length of time (unlike Botham from 1979-1982) hence the tag of allrounder does not apply to him. At one time he was a great bowler and much much later a dependable batsman.

    PS: thats why you dont see many match winning all round performances from him like Botham and Sobers etc even though he won quite few matches based on his bowling alone early in his career.

  • K-amps on November 1, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    So one of the assumptions in choosing the all time best 11, is, that these guys were performing at their Peak.

    Imran got a bizzare stress Fracture when he was at his devastating best 1983, and had he played perhaps a couple of series more during that time, he perhaps could have ended up as "best" ever ranking bowler in history (as in ICC Historical rankings), as it is despite falling at his peak, he still managed to make it to number 3 in all time rankings (http://www.reliancemobileiccrankings.com/alltime/test/bowling/) , that alone creates a serious case for his inclusion into any all time best 11. And this is not considering his batting or leadership skills. Nuff said.

  • SaifQazi on November 1, 2010, 19:31 GMT

    @Ankit Jain.. bravo mate, really appreciate that:) bt v must realise this fact, all the players that u've mentioned came along at a time wen players like Sachin, Imran n Murali were needed by their teams. these 3players instilled belief n faith that they can beat ne side in the world. i still dont get those narrow-minded ppl tryin to compare 2 players who either playd for different teams or in different era or in different circumstances. i would even go as far as sayin, its downright stupidity for people like us to compare 2 cricketers, eventhough v arent even experts of the game. most of us havent seen cricket pre-1970s bt still would say Mr X is betta than Mr Y or vice versa. v r cricket-lovers, so v shud love the game more than lovin the cricketers. players like Imran, Sachin, Sobers, Murali, Warne, McGrath, Bradman, Marshall n numerous others r Gems of the game, lets marvel at them, keep the comparisons for sum other day, Pleaseeeeee!!

  • Azfar on November 1, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Rajesh, the analysis is absolutely superb. There was a perception about Imran that he was a great cricketer, greater captain, but statistically he may not stand comparison with say Sobers. But this analysis proves that whichever way you look at it, he is the second best all-rounder of all times after Sobers statistically, but when you throw in captaincy in the all-rounder mix, he is the best of all times. He is beyond doubt the best of the Fab Four of his era. I beleive Imran has not been accorded the place he deserves in the history of the game because he took on the west and some of the pundits from the West still hold that against him. But truth cannot be suppressed. When the history of the game is written 50 years from today, his name will figure alongside Bradman & Sobers.

  • on November 1, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Wow WAFG, never knew that he was so good.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 1, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Kapil was an exciting batsman, had probably more batting talent than Khan but he never performed to his potential and performances matter the most. King Khan had to work very hard on his batting because he wasn't as naturally gifted but he performed better than Kapil by powers of immense concentration and great technique which he developed later into his career

  • venjal on November 1, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    This is first time that I see that stats collected for the years favoring the cricketer. Why the stats collected from the years Jan 1, 1987 and Jan 6, 1992 years ? Shouldn't it be from the years 1985 to 1995 ..? or some other rounded years?

    Looks like Imran has been over ratted. Except winning the ODI world cup with help of Inzamam ul huk, Imran did too little to his team when compared to Wasim Akaram and Waqar. His batting performance is too weak. The great all rounder Kapil dev took responsibility in 1983 word cup and played remarkable innings, despite he was not the top order batsman. Imran has no innings played like that.

  • Mahesh.R on November 1, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    Sobers, Imran, Hadle and Sobers are the three all rounders who can be picked in an All Time World XI on account of just one skill alone. In the case of Sobers, it is his batting while for the others, it is the bowling. The other skill is a huge bonus. Botham, Kapil and even Miller to an extent requires their all round skills to get in to such an XI. I consider Imran as the greatest because of another reason as well. Imran, Sobers and Miller could find a place in their teams on account of either of their skills. Kapil, Hadle and Botham would never have been included in their national teams for many tests, had they been just batsmen while Imran would have found a place in Pakistani team just as a batsman though initially he was a poor batsman. A batsman slightly better than Sourav Ganguly a bowler much better than Courtney Walsh.

  • Indus11 on November 1, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    It is an outrage that Imran is not part of the world XI. He was a GOD of cricket both with the ball and the bat in EVERY country - leaving all thoroughly bruised wherever he played. It is an absolutle outrage that lillee and Marshall are in the world XI and Imran has been left out. No one will ever take the selectors seriously. We should launch a campaign to add Imran to the first world XI and remove either Lillee and or Marshall. World XI is a JOKE without King Khan.

  • on November 1, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    Easily the best allrounder in the history of international cricket!

  • waspsting on November 1, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    The stats show what quality bowler and batsman Imran was. And you can appreciate how influential he was as a leader when you see the mess Pakistan are in now for lack of such leadership (something which went on before Imran too)

    I would agree that the three things taken together, Imran Khan had as great an impact on the game as anyone, bar Bradman, and maybe Sobers.

    One thing no one's mentioned, though, he was just about the worst fielder i've seen! probably because he worked very hard on his bowling and batting - he wasn't a 'natural' like Sobers, Holding or Wasim.

    IMO, only Marshall from that period was a better bowler. I'd give Imran the edge over hadlee, lillee, holding, roberts and garner - though there's little too choose between them. I'd further rate him slightly ahead of Wasim Akram, though behind Waqar Younis - the most lethal bowler i've seen

  • GoldenAsif on November 1, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    While Sobers is the greatest batting all-rounder, Imran is the greatest bowling all-rounder in the history of the game.

    Imran Khan is good enough to be considered purely as a fast bowler. Imran was a better all-round bowler than Lillee who was mostly successful on the helpful wickets of England and Australia. Lillee does not have such a good record in the sub-continent and that should have counted against him

    And let's also not forget that Imran, Wasim and Waqar played 50% of their cricket on the slow and dull sub-continental wickets which usu. have nothing for the quicks unlike English, West Indian and Australian bowlers who play the majority of their matches on favourable pitches helping seam, pace and bounce. So if Pakistani bowlers' bowling averages and strike rates are as good as others, their achievements should mean even more

    Imran also had the best record among his contemporaries against the best team (West Indies) of his time - 80 wickets in 18 tests @ 21.19.

  • on November 1, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    IMRAN KHAN, the best cricketer of 3-4 decades. As captain he play alomost 50 tests and perform 50+ batting average and less than 20 with ball. for sure the best performer of all time as a captain.

  • smalishah84 on November 1, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    I meant Ankit Jain :)...........

  • smalishah84 on November 1, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    Ankit.....you speak the truth :)

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 1, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    He was never a proper allrounder in the same test/series. His overall stats looks good and thats waht confuses people. In his first part of career he was a bowler and later he became a batsman who scored mostly in draw and dead test matches. But he never performed like a champion allrounder in the same test with both bat annd ball ala a botham , sobers or even Venoo Mankad.

    When choosing an allrounder emphasis should be on allrounders who have won matches with both bat and the ball in tandem and not who look great stastistically but lack substance.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 1, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    dont think Imran is a allrounder, unlike other allrounders Imran never won match for Pakistan with his batting, he perhaps saved some matches, Hence he is a good bowler but not an allrounder. Plus, when he was bowling, it was muralitharan like situation, he was the only good bowler at his team, so he got to bowl bulk of the overs and hence got more wickets, he was good, but not as good as wasim or waqar. Perhaps, thats the reason why Imran is never taken in the same breath as Sir Garfield Sobers despite having number on his side.

  • Engle on November 1, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    The reason why Imran does not make it higher in these ESPN lists, is because they discount captaincy and leadership, which IMO has greater value than batting or bowling. To ask a fast bowler to bat well and then to add a further burden on being captain is asking a lot and very few pace-allrounders have succeeded. Botham, Kapil, Shaun, Flintoff..all crumbled. Hadlee, Cairns, Kallis was not even risked. I would venture to say that Imran should be #3 on the Greatest Cricketers list after Bradman and Sobers because there has never been nor will there readily be another of his mettle.

  • rshn on November 1, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    Mr Blank:

    Please query the cricinfo stats guru to get the facts right.

    He averaged 36 when Pakistan won, and 21 when Pakistan lost. Not just that, if you look at his record before June - 86, you will hardly call him a allrounder, cause till then, he was bowling well, post 86, he started to bat well. He never was a proper alrounder, he was a great bowler for sure. But I still think Wasim is a better bowler than Imran cause I have not seen Imran at his peak.

    Lost match 1977-1990 17 34 3 657 67* 21.19 0 2 4 won match 1976-1992 26 31 6 900 117 36.00 1 4 2 drawn match 1971-1991 45 61 16 2250 136 50.00 5 12 2

  • Crazy_Cricket_Fan on November 1, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    how can you slice down the career to show him as the best?? if you look at overall numbers he's not as gr8 as Sobers, Hadlee or Kallis...he might be the saviour of Pak cricket during his peak(lack of other good players) but he is definitely OVERRATED and doesn't deserve a slot in 1st ATXI.

  • on November 1, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    To any objective mind, free of patriotic emotions there should be little doubt that Imran Khan is the greatest that subcontinent has produced. Murali comes next and then Tendulkar.

  • SaifQazi on November 1, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    @harsh_vardhan2002, 88 test matches coz durin 1983 till 85 he suffered from severe stress fracture to his shin. he played only 8 test matches durin that period, compare that to Miandad who played 23 matches during the same period. n rememba he was a BOWLING-ALLROUNDER, if at all u understand the catergorisation of all-rounders in cricket, so centuries dont matter as much as being Number#1 bowler from 1980-88! Bt yeah, its really a worry as a cricket-lover to see players not as talented, as determined, as hard workin n as committed to the game as v had in the yester years. the level of the game isnt the same ne more, no rivalries, no competitions, no nuthin. now a cricket match starts to fill the pockets of the one who r playin, controllin n organisin the match. thats it. its a shame!

  • Petesta on November 1, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    Oh, and Kallis actually has a much better strike rate with the ball than Sobers (67 v 91). The only reason he doesn't average 2 wickets a test is because he has bowled a lot less than Sobers. Sobers bowled over20,000 balls in 93 tests; Kallis less than 18,000 in 140. Hmmm, Kallis just keeps looking better and better.

  • on November 1, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Imran Khan also deserves to be called SIR like other allrounders like Botham, Hadlee, Sobers

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on November 1, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    HEY MR FAHAD KHAN IF YOUR IMRAN KHAN WAS SUCH A GREAT BOWLER WHY CANT HE WIN A TEST SERIES IN AUSTRALIA TELL ME AND FOR AN ALL ROUNDER TO PLAY FOR 21 YEARS OF TEST CRICKET AND PLAY ONLY 88 TESTS ?????? AND ONLY 6 TEST HUNDREDS ? THAT IS SHAMBOLIC HOW U CAN EXPECT HIM IN WORLD XI AND WAS LUCKY TO BE IN SECOND XI

  • Petesta on November 1, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I agree with Apollo_v2. The selection criteria seems specifically designed to exclude Kallis. His wickets have come at a rate of exactly 1.9 per test. The man's had a long test career, is getting old and has generally been part of great pace attacks (Donald, Pollock, Steyn) so obviously he's not going to bowl as much or with as much success as he otherwise might have. A simpler (but just as embarrassing) selection criteria to support the author's point would have been: 3000 runs, 200wkts, surname not starting with a K. That would have saved all listed (bar Sobers) some blushes. Kallis averages 55 with bat and 31 with ball for a net difference of 24, the same as Sobers. Sobers is apparently the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen. In that case, I think Kallis is highly underrated and, not taking into account team make-up, should probably be in the all time XI.

  • on November 1, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    There are certain things which can not be measured and if u try to compare these things with the help of statistics sometimes it may not give u the true picture. Impact By a cricketer on his era or nation is one such thing.This article is a super attampt of highliting the impact of Imran khan on his era.So stastistically or otherwise he was the best cricketer of his time and the best produced by pakitan.His contribution to cricket in general and to pakistan cricket in particular is source of inspration for budding cricketer all over the world.

  • BellCurve on November 1, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    @ Appollo_v2 - There has been one perfect all-rounder. His name was Aubrey Faulkner.

  • on November 1, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    @ Fahad.. Kapil Dev was a great bowler.. we are talking about all these players in their peak.. and Kapil did have very sorry last few years in Int'l cricket maainly cuz he ws asked to play longer by Indian board.. but at his peak.. he ws outstanding.. don't belittle Kapil's achievement.. he was as much a matchwinner as Imran.. and probably a better swing bowler at his peak.. definitely a better batsman than Imran.. if u care to look beyond averages..

  • on November 1, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    Imran was definitely a great cricketer.. but calling him the greatest from subcontinent may be debatable considering we have had players like sachin, kapil, murali, wasim, hanif mohd., gavaskar and countless others.. i think dat is a debate best left to subjective opinions... it can never be objectively pinpointed.. i feel that just because a cricketer is an all rounder doesnt mean he is greater than a truly great batsman.. since greatness is a function of so many diff things.. eg.. sachin has inspired millions.. while imran won a WC.. so did Kapil.. n they were also a write off before the 83 tournament.. Hanif mohd. was a great batsman.. gavaskar stood tall against menacing Windies of 80's.. so lets just leave dat debate and celebrate Imran Khan's genius..

  • on November 1, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    Yet they chose Wasim Akram over Imran Khan in the all time XI. What a joke!

  • on November 1, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    in that era Imran Khan came in the Pakistan team as a blessing of God i wish i would have seen such a great legend playing .Garry sobbers , Richard Hadlee , Ian Botham are great allrounders , so they are called SIR . But I am diappointed that Imran Khan is not called as Sir Imran Khan,he is such a great allrounder .Pakistan achieved huge success under his captaincy.He was a great team leader.I would call him as a gentleman.

  • smalishah84 on November 1, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    The best bowling all rounder ever

  • AhmadSaleem on November 1, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    His last 3 years show that he could bat as well as any other batsman in the world and there have never been any doubt that he was the best bowler in 80s alongside Hadlee and Marshal may be. I would like to see a detailed analysis of Lillee's bowling and it would show that how much over rated a bowler is he. King Khan and Hadlee were clearly better bowlers in addition to their skills with the bat and Imran was better with bat making him the king of the kings. They really can't justify his exclusion from all time XI.

  • on November 1, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    I am quiet surprised at the comments, I guess the numbers suggest that he is the best all rounder after Garry Sobers and he was even better than his stats suggest. So "Imran is over-rated" is a ridiculous statement. Stats dont tell u how good a captain he was, or how classical his bowling and batting style was.

  • on November 1, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    Yeah. I didnt watch those games myself but I am told how the subcontinent was Dennis Lillee's graveyard, and of the time when he vowed to knock off Majid Khan's hat but failed and Majid Khan himself presented it to him...But I was thinking that when it comes to the ESPN World XI, far more than his bowling and batting we need him for his captaincy. Or else that team would be beaten black and blue like World XI was by Australia when they were #1.... As for Kallis, averaging less than two wickets per match makes it obvious that he is not a genuine allrounder and if he is, he mostly isnt used as one.... I think bowlers make better allrounders than batsmen in general, though many might disagree...

  • GHemrajani on November 1, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    For those who followed Imran's career, he was truly the most complete player - batsman, bowler and captain. The passion to win was so apparent on his face. Would take him in my team over Sobers any day. Should always be in the top 11 players and as captain.

  • vinu31 on November 1, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    Easily Pakistan cricket's greatest driving force, and the best captain of the four great allrounders. No captain thereafter inspired their team to the extent Imran did, when he was skipper you never felt Pakistan were ever out of any match.

    Not too many batsmen have hit Curtly Ambrose for 24 in an over, or taken 40 wickets a 3 test series, but regardless of his achievements I will always remember Imran's regal presence on the field. He was the real sultan of Pakistani cricket.

  • on November 1, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    To rshn below, how do you explain his bowling average and strike rate then ? He was not only bowling more but getting cheap wickets(for your information bowling average reflects runs given for a wicket). As for not being talked in the same breath as Garfield Sobers, well he is considered the next best all rounder...he made it to the second All Time XI ahead of everyone else. And the genius also thinks that Imran never won any matches with his bat, how do you explain an average of 47 in won matches ? Atleast read the whole thing. And to Apollo, I agree that there hasnt been the perfect allrounder yet, but Imran is the closest.

  • on November 1, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    To this guy below i.e. The_Dynamite_Kid, who thinks he wasn't a good bowler, do you even know how to read ? The analysis clearly tells you that during the period 1980-1988, Imran was not only the best allrounder but the best bowler in the world ahead of everyone that you have mentioned. He had an average of 17 and strike rate of 44 for 248 wickets. And ending a career with 350+ wickets with an average below 23 makes a bowler overrated ? wow, perhaps you should also suggest that javagal srinath, zaheer khan and kapil dev and even praveen kumar are better bowlers :P

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Here's the defination of being overrated. Can anyone guess Imran Khan's bowling figures in the 4th innings of Test matches? A sensational and extraordinary average of 42.09 at an equally mighty strike rate of 91.3

  • on November 1, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    As you mentioned about his performance against Windies in the 80s, 18 wickets and 23 wickets but about half of those wickets were tailenders (number 8 to 11 batsmen), which he was very good at (Wasim Akram was even better, about half of his career wickets were of tailenders). About Imrans batting, he definitely batted well as captain and during last phase of his career. As a batsman captain he is in the company of few great players but can you see, even during his best phase his runs/test was less than 52, his batting average. Although Lara and Greg have played similar number of tests, they have scored almost double the number of runs that Imran scored! In fact it is even less than Botham's career runs/test.... so much for the averages.

  • smalishah84 on November 1, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    Arguably the 3rd greatest cricketer of all time

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    @ Nayeem_Kohir As a cricketer, Imran Khan is not even the best Asian cricketer let alone among the top 5 cricketers of all time. in 2001, ESPN with the help of about 15 elite judges which consisted of mainly former greats and cricket experts compiled a list of the top 25 greatest cricketers of all time. They named the chapter "ESPN Legends of Cricket". Imran Khan came at the 8th spot. The list is - 1.) Don Bradman 2.) Gary Sobers 3.) Viv Richards 4.) Shane Warne 5.) jack Hobbs 6.) Dennis Lillee 7.) Sachin Tendulkar 8.) Imran Khan 9.) Wally Hammond 10.) Sunil Gavaskar 11.) Ian Botham 12.) Richard Hadlee 13.) Keith Miller 14.) W.G. Grace 15.) Graeme Pollock 16.) Malcolm Marshall 17.) Greg Chappell 18.) George Headley 19.) Frank Worrell 20.) Len Hutton. 21.) Wasim Akram 22.) Kapil Dev 23.) Steve Waugh 24.) Barry Richards 25.) Allan Border.

  • on November 1, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    Imran Khan is not only the finest cricketer from Pakistan but probably the finest from subcontinent. Akram selection in the World XI was a mere joke or they just wanted to incorporate a left armer. The above "detailed" analysis shows his greatness and how rose his game once he became captain. But there are many things that can be only judged by watching people play and I have for most part watched Imran play (wherever possible and listened when not possible). As your stats shows he superior bowler than Macko and Hadlee during the above mentioned period that's only because numbers don't tell the whole story. As a captain he was very conscious about his averages, whenever couple of boundaries are hit, he would take himself off the attack. This I had observed many times. Also whenever he encountered a dead pitch, the bulk of the bowling would be done by others (one exception I remember is Lahore test where Manjarekar scored 218). There he bowled many, more than 40+, I guess. cont..

  • Nayeem_Kohir on November 1, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    One of the five greatest cricketers of all time. Undoubtedly Gary Sobers is the greatest cricketer of all time because of his all round capabilities followed by Bradman. I would rate Imran as the third greatest cricketer of all time followed by Gilchrist as the fourth greatest cricketer of all time, and Vivian Richards as the fifth greatest cricketer of all time. Shane Warne, , Wasim Akram, Richard Hadlee, Brian Lara, and Glenn McGrath would fill the slots from 6th to the 10th greatest cricketers of all time. Then there are the likes of Kapil, Javed Miandad, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh, Sehwag, Muralitharan, Jaysurya, Greg chappel, Wally Hammond and many other cricketers whom it will be difficult to rate exactly from 11th onwards because each of them posessed exceptional talent.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    As bowlers, Hadlee, Marshall, Garner, Lillee, Roberts, McGrath, Ambrose, Donald are all better than this overrated Imran Khan.

  • rshn on November 1, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    I dont think Imran is a allrounder, unlike other allrounders Imran never won match for Pakistan with his batting, he perhaps saved some matches, Hence he is a good bowler but not an allrounder.

    Plus, when he was bowling, it was muralitharan like situation, he was the only good bowler at his team, so he got to bowl bulk of the overs and hence got more wickets, he was good, but not as good as wasim or waqar.

    Perhaps, thats the reason why Imran is never taken in the same breath as Sir Garfield Sobers despite having number on his side.

  • Emancipator007 on November 1, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    The more one retrospectively thinks and analyses Imran's career, the more one feels he should have been in the XI -definitely in place of Dennis Lillee or atleast Viv Richards since they anyways chose Gilchrist the batsman rather than A. Knott the superior keeper. And if Gavaskar was dropped because he as against Hobbs and Hutton did not play on uncovered wickets (what a skewed, ill-judged criterion- seems selective to me) then Tendulkar and Richards should also not have been in the XI cos of the same. Meanwhile, all be ready to hail the next serous all-skill (batting and bowling and captaincy) and world class all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh. I have watched this guy and his attacking temperament is astounding for one so young; he bowls with Akram's temperament while firing fast-paced wicket -taking spin yorkers almost at will and is performing consistently against all opposition.

  • Emancipator007 on November 1, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    most naturally talented batsman (note not best or most consistent or high-performing) of the 80s bar none. I have watched a lot of Kapil against the WI. He tore apart the WI pace attacks consistently in both ODIs and Tests with awesome strike rates in both - he was fluid and naturally explosive against them. Kapil was so naturally gifted that he was rarely beaten by bowlers but contrived to get himself out due to sudden lack of interest or concentration (basically was not disciplined in his batting approach unlike Imran was thru the 80s or Botham was between 1977-82 ) . Gavaskar as captain always understood the value and skill level of Kapil's batting. Can't help but reiterate again that the Anglo-Aussie biased panel selecting the all-time World XI gave sub-continental giants Gavaskar and Imran the short shrift. CONTD.

  • Emancipator007 on November 1, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Have been saying this for a while; Imran stupendously raised the level of his performance (varyingly as a batsman, bowler or leader) whenever the stakes were high- in India in 1987, in England in 1982 and '87, World Cup'92 and all thru against the Windies. He goaded his teams to play above their potential in those 3 series against the all-comers marauding WI and seriously push the Windies to their limit. I remember following all enthralling 3 series with utmost keenness as a teenager in India in the 80s as much as I could in a non-cable/satellite TV era thru print and a bit of radio (and even coaxed cricinfo to do a feature on those series by then on-the ground reporters/cricket analysts which they did). In much the same way that Khan's teams held their own against Lloyd's and Richards' teams, Ganguly's teams more than matched (and in fact won 3-2 over 7 Test matches) Steve Waugh's No. 1 Aussie team in 2001 and 2003-04. Folks, another point: I consider Kapil Dev the CONTD.

  • safwan_Umair on November 1, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    @ Rajesh ... excellent analysis again. How did this guy not get picked in the all time eleven? he should have captained it.

    @ cricketchopper ..... no way that sachin can be removed from the all time eleven .... imran should replace marshall/wasim, and viv/bradman should make way for Lara.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on November 1, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    only six test hundreds for imran in 21 years and not even played 100 tests that is shambolic

  • Apollo_v2 on November 1, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    The justification to not include Kallis in the Best Allrounders list is somewhat silly - "he averaged less than 2 wickets a match". His bowling average is actually even better than Sobers. Sobers simply had a better strike rate, helping him get more wickets per match. Kallis, like Sobers, is a batting-allrounder. And many of the others in that list, such as Imran Khan, Pollock and Hadlee are bowling-allrounders. You can't DQ Kallis, while keeping the others there. No one here has been a perfect all rounder (Bat Avg > 40 & Bowl Avg < 25).

  • on November 1, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    he peaked with bat in last three years

  • on October 31, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    He should have been in the ESPN XI. When you look at other bowlers such as lillee , they never excelled in the sub continent. Imran excelled all around the world. Even as a batsmen he had done greatly.

    Viv richards was never a good player against spin bowling in the subcontinent. Crappy World XI by the panel. Imran should have been included.

    I think the jury was biased.

  • Arabocentricasian on October 31, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Imran Khan and Viv Richards, the greatest ever cricketers since Gary Sobers.

  • Arabocentricasian on October 31, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    Just read the article and tell me y this man is not in the ESPN World XI. Stats dont tell the whole story, but detailed stats do. When did someone perform and against whom. And that is y this man is the greatest ever cricketer to come out of Asia. So please, kick Wasim Akram out of that XI and bring in the King Khan.

  • cricketchopper on October 31, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    He deserved to be in All Time World XI but for the sake of Sachin, he was not selected.

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  • cricketchopper on October 31, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    He deserved to be in All Time World XI but for the sake of Sachin, he was not selected.

  • Arabocentricasian on October 31, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    Just read the article and tell me y this man is not in the ESPN World XI. Stats dont tell the whole story, but detailed stats do. When did someone perform and against whom. And that is y this man is the greatest ever cricketer to come out of Asia. So please, kick Wasim Akram out of that XI and bring in the King Khan.

  • Arabocentricasian on October 31, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Imran Khan and Viv Richards, the greatest ever cricketers since Gary Sobers.

  • on October 31, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    He should have been in the ESPN XI. When you look at other bowlers such as lillee , they never excelled in the sub continent. Imran excelled all around the world. Even as a batsmen he had done greatly.

    Viv richards was never a good player against spin bowling in the subcontinent. Crappy World XI by the panel. Imran should have been included.

    I think the jury was biased.

  • on November 1, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    he peaked with bat in last three years

  • Apollo_v2 on November 1, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    The justification to not include Kallis in the Best Allrounders list is somewhat silly - "he averaged less than 2 wickets a match". His bowling average is actually even better than Sobers. Sobers simply had a better strike rate, helping him get more wickets per match. Kallis, like Sobers, is a batting-allrounder. And many of the others in that list, such as Imran Khan, Pollock and Hadlee are bowling-allrounders. You can't DQ Kallis, while keeping the others there. No one here has been a perfect all rounder (Bat Avg > 40 & Bowl Avg < 25).

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on November 1, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    only six test hundreds for imran in 21 years and not even played 100 tests that is shambolic

  • safwan_Umair on November 1, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    @ Rajesh ... excellent analysis again. How did this guy not get picked in the all time eleven? he should have captained it.

    @ cricketchopper ..... no way that sachin can be removed from the all time eleven .... imran should replace marshall/wasim, and viv/bradman should make way for Lara.

  • Emancipator007 on November 1, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Have been saying this for a while; Imran stupendously raised the level of his performance (varyingly as a batsman, bowler or leader) whenever the stakes were high- in India in 1987, in England in 1982 and '87, World Cup'92 and all thru against the Windies. He goaded his teams to play above their potential in those 3 series against the all-comers marauding WI and seriously push the Windies to their limit. I remember following all enthralling 3 series with utmost keenness as a teenager in India in the 80s as much as I could in a non-cable/satellite TV era thru print and a bit of radio (and even coaxed cricinfo to do a feature on those series by then on-the ground reporters/cricket analysts which they did). In much the same way that Khan's teams held their own against Lloyd's and Richards' teams, Ganguly's teams more than matched (and in fact won 3-2 over 7 Test matches) Steve Waugh's No. 1 Aussie team in 2001 and 2003-04. Folks, another point: I consider Kapil Dev the CONTD.

  • Emancipator007 on November 1, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    most naturally talented batsman (note not best or most consistent or high-performing) of the 80s bar none. I have watched a lot of Kapil against the WI. He tore apart the WI pace attacks consistently in both ODIs and Tests with awesome strike rates in both - he was fluid and naturally explosive against them. Kapil was so naturally gifted that he was rarely beaten by bowlers but contrived to get himself out due to sudden lack of interest or concentration (basically was not disciplined in his batting approach unlike Imran was thru the 80s or Botham was between 1977-82 ) . Gavaskar as captain always understood the value and skill level of Kapil's batting. Can't help but reiterate again that the Anglo-Aussie biased panel selecting the all-time World XI gave sub-continental giants Gavaskar and Imran the short shrift. CONTD.