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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

The top-order allrounders

Shane Watson and Jacques Kallis are among the rare allrounders who bat in the top five and bowl a substantial number of overs

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

November 16, 2011

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Shane Watson gets low to play one to the leg side, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day, September 8, 2011
Shane Watson opens for Australia and is their fourth fast bowler © AFP
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On the second day of the Newlands Test, Shane Watson began the madness after lunch with a five-wicket burst that routed South Africa for 96. He had little time to savour his performance for he was soon opening Australia's second innings. Watson lasted only three balls as Australia were razed for 47. In the aftermath of that eight-wicket defeat, Watson said it had been a challenge to switch to a batting mindset soon after bowling. In this week's column, therefore, we've examined the Test stats of top-order allrounders: those who batted in the top five and bowled a sizeable number of overs as well. The likes of Watson and Garry Sobers, not Daniel Vettori and Ian Botham, who batted lower than No. 5.

The first table lists all players who batted in the top five for more than half their careers and bowled an average of 15 overs per Test. It begins with George Ulyett (1877-1890) and ends with Watson (2005-2011). There are only 42 in all, out of 2658 Test cricketers, making the top-order allrounder a rare asset. Manoj Prabhakar, Carl Hooper, Jacques Kallis, Neil Johnson, Shahid Afridi and Watson are the only ones since 1980.

Another current allrounder who is close to getting on that list is Mohammad Hafeez. He has opened in all 41 innings but bowled only 310 overs in 21 Tests, which is fewer than our qualification average of 15 overs a match. He has become a much more regular bowler for Pakistan in the last 12 months, though. Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has batted above No. 6 only once, so doesn't make the cut.

List of top-order allrounders (over half of career in top 5, average of 90 balls per match, minimum of 10 Tests)
Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Bat Av 100 50 Balls Conc Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5
G Ulyett (Eng) 1877-1890 25 39 0 949 149 24.33 1 7 2627 1020 50 7/36 20.40 1
AG Steel (Eng) 1880-1888 13 20 3 600 148 35.29 2 0 1360 605 29 3/27 20.86 0
RG Barlow (Eng) 1881-1887 17 30 4 591 62 22.73 0 2 2456 767 34 7/40 22.55 3
W Bates (Eng) 1881-1887 15 26 2 656 64 27.33 0 5 2364 821 50 7/28 16.42 4
G Giffen (Aus) 1881-1896 31 53 0 1238 161 23.35 1 6 6391 2791 103 7/117 27.09 7
MA Noble (Aus) 1898-1909 42 73 7 1997 133 30.25 1 16 7159 3025 121 7/17 25.00 9
W Rhodes (Eng) 1899-1930 58 98 21 2325 179 30.19 2 11 8225 3425 127 8/68 26.96 6
WW Armstrong (Aus) 1902-1921 50 84 10 2863 159* 38.68 6 8 8022 2923 87 6/35 33.59 3
GA Faulkner (SA) 1906-1924 25 47 4 1754 204 40.79 4 8 4227 2180 82 7/84 26.58 4
CG Macartney (Aus) 1907-1926 35 55 4 2131 170 41.78 7 9 3561 1240 45 7/58 27.55 2
FE Woolley (Eng) 1909-1934 64 98 7 3283 154 36.07 5 23 6495 2815 83 7/76 33.91 4
C Kelleway (Aus) 1910-1928 26 42 4 1422 147 37.42 3 6 4363 1683 52 5/33 32.36 1
JW Hearne (Eng) 1911-1926 24 36 5 806 114 26.00 1 2 2926 1462 30 5/49 48.73 1
J Ryder (Aus) 1920-1929 20 32 5 1394 201* 51.62 3 9 1897 743 17 2/20 43.70 0
WR Hammond (Eng) 1927-1947 85 140 16 7249 336* 58.45 22 24 7969 3138 83 5/36 37.80 2
DPB Morkel (SA) 1927-1932 16 28 1 663 88 24.55 0 4 1704 821 18 4/93 45.61 0
SJ McCabe (Aus) 1930-1938 39 62 5 2748 232 48.21 6 13 3746 1543 36 4/13 42.86 0
L Amarnath (India) 1933-1952 24 40 4 878 118 24.38 1 4 4241 1481 45 5/96 32.91 2
KR Miller (Aus) 1946-1956 55 87 7 2958 147 36.97 7 13 10461 3906 170 7/60 22.97 7
VS Hazare (India) 1946-1953 30 52 6 2192 164* 47.65 7 9 2840 1220 20 4/29 61.00 0
MH Mankad (India) 1946-1959 44 72 5 2109 231 31.47 5 6 14686 5236 162 8/52 32.32 8
FMM Worrell (WI) 1948-1963 51 87 9 3860 261 49.48 9 22 7141 2672 69 7/70 38.72 2
AJ Watkins (Eng) 1948-1952 15 24 4 810 137* 40.50 2 4 1364 554 11 3/20 50.36 0
GO Rabone (NZ) 1949-1955 12 20 2 562 107 31.22 1 2 1385 635 16 6/68 39.68 1
JR Reid (NZ) 1949-1965 58 108 5 3428 142 33.28 6 22 7725 2835 85 6/60 33.35 1
GS Sobers (WI) 1954-1974 93 160 21 8032 365* 57.78 26 30 21599 7999 235 6/73 34.03 6
OG Smith (WI) 1955-1959 26 42 0 1331 168 31.69 4 6 4431 1625 48 5/90 33.85 1
TL Goddard (SA) 1955-1970 41 78 5 2516 112 34.46 1 18 11736 3226 123 6/53 26.22 5
RB Simpson (Aus) 1957-1978 62 111 7 4869 311 46.81 10 27 6881 3001 71 5/57 42.26 2
Mushtaq Mohammad (Pak) 1959-1979 57 100 7 3643 201 39.17 10 19 5260 2309 79 5/28 29.22 3
RW Barber (Eng) 1960-1968 28 45 3 1495 185 35.59 1 9 3426 1806 42 4/132 43.00 0
RF Surti (India) 1960-1969 26 48 4 1263 99 28.70 0 9 3870 1962 42 5/74 46.71 1
EJ Barlow (SA) 1961-1970 30 57 2 2516 201 45.74 6 15 3021 1362 40 5/85 34.05 1
RM Cowper (Aus) 1964-1968 27 46 2 2061 307 46.84 5 10 3005 1139 36 4/48 31.63 0
BE Congdon (NZ) 1965-1978 61 114 7 3448 176 32.22 7 19 5620 2154 59 5/65 36.50 1
BL D'Oliveira (Eng) 1966-1972 44 70 8 2484 158 40.06 5 15 5706 1859 47 3/46 39.55 0
M Prabhakar (India) 1984-1995 39 58 9 1600 120 32.65 1 9 7475 3581 96 6/132 37.30 3
CL Hooper (WI) 1987-2002 102 173 15 5762 233 36.46 13 27 13794 5635 114 5/26 49.42 4
JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2011 146 248 39 11949 201* 57.17 40 54 18373 8680 270 6/54 32.14 5
NC Johnson (Zim) 1998-2000 13 23 1 532 107 24.18 1 4 1186 594 15 4/77 39.60 0
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 1998-2010 27 48 1 1716 156 36.51 5 8 3194 1709 48 5/52 35.60 1
SR Watson (Aus) 2005-2011 31 56 2 2047 126 37.90 2 15 3141 1556 55 6/33 28.29 3

Our second table is a list of allrounders with the best averages while batting in the top five, in Tests in which they bowled more than 10 overs in the same innings. Jacques Kallis, for instance, has batted in the top five for South Africa and bowled more than 10 overs in an innings in 129 innings. He has scored 5713 runs in those innings at an average of 51, while taking 176 wickets at 35.61 apiece.

Garry Sobers, widely acknowledged to be the allrounder sans pareil, batted higher than No. 6 and bowled more than 10 overs in 54 innings. He scored 2696 runs in those innings at an average of 55, and took 94 wickets at an average of 34 each.

The best batting average when bowling at least 10 overs in the same innings belongs to former West Indies captain Frank Worrell. He averaged 71.65 with the bat in 36 innings, with seven centuries and 10 fifties, and took 41 wickets at an average of just under 40.

Best batting average in the top 5 when bowling more than 60 balls in the same innings (minimum of 20 innings)
Player Span Inns NO Runs HS Bat Av 100 50 Balls Conc Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5
FMM Worrell (WI) 1948-1961 36 4 2293 261 71.65 7 10 4197 1625 41 7/70 39.63 2
RB Simpson (Aus) 1960-1978 37 2 2462 311 70.34 7 13 4290 1761 41 5/57 42.95 2
SJ McCabe (Aus) 1930-1938 24 2 1415 232 64.31 4 5 2421 983 21 4/13 46.80 0
GS Sobers (WI) 1955-1974 54 5 2696 226 55.02 10 7 8607 3208 94 5/63 34.12 2
ER Dexter (Eng) 1959-1964 26 1 1354 205 54.16 1 12 3020 1298 32 4/38 40.56 0
RJ Shastri (India) 1981-1992 26 1 1318 206 52.72 5 5 3572 1633 32 4/78 51.03 0
JH Kallis (SA) 1997-2010 129 17 5713 160 51.00 18 29 13033 6269 176 6/54 35.61 4
GA Faulkner (SA) 1907-1912 25 2 1129 204 49.08 3 6 3045 1668 56 7/84 29.78 3
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 1994-2007 40 2 1855 340 48.81 4 7 4340 1631 59 5/34 27.64 2
MH Mankad (India) 1946-1956 33 2 1442 231 46.51 5 3 7859 2890 83 8/52 34.81 5
CH Gayle (WI) 2000-2009 45 2 1999 317 46.48 5 9 4986 2109 54 5/34 39.05 2
Mushtaq Mohammad (Pak) 1967-1978 22 2 929 157 46.45 3 5 2630 1114 44 5/28 25.31 1
KR Miller (Aus) 1946-1956 59 5 2304 147 42.66 7 9 7232 2759 122 7/60 22.61 6
CL Hooper (WI) 1988-2002 62 3 2315 233 39.23 4 15 7550 2952 59 5/26 50.03 1
EJ Barlow (SA) 1962-1970 24 0 920 138 38.33 3 6 2199 967 31 5/85 31.19 1
ME Waugh (Aus) 1992-2002 20 1 713 137 37.52 2 3 1619 746 21 5/40 35.52 1
Mudassar Nazar (Pak) 1978-1989 36 3 1237 199 37.48 4 2 3764 1597 43 4/55 37.13 0
WR Hammond (Eng) 1927-1939 49 1 1789 177 37.27 4 7 5385 2065 47 5/57 43.93 1
BE Congdon (NZ) 1965-1978 32 3 1076 166* 37.10 3 6 4008 1510 47 5/65 32.12 1
BL D'Oliveira (Eng) 1967-1972 21 1 729 117 36.45 1 4 2438 739 22 3/46 33.59 0

The third table contains allrounders with the best bowling averages when batting in the top five in the same innings. Keith Miller averaged 22.41 apiece for his 129 wickets and batted in the top five in 76 innings, scoring 2687 runs at an average of 38.

Trevor Goddard, the former South Africa captain, used to open the innings and bowl first or second change. He opened the bowling in five innings as well. So in 72 innings in which Goddard batted in the top five, he took 114 wickets at an average of less than 27. He scored 2337 runs in these innings at an average of 34.

Best bowling average when batting in the top 5 in the same innings (minimum of 20 innings, 2000 balls)
Player Span Inns NO Runs HS Bat Av 100 50 Balls Conc Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5
TE Bailey (Eng) 1949-1959 29 1 749 134* 26.75 1 2 2744 893 43 7/34 20.76 2
KR Miller (Aus) 1946-1956 76 6 2687 147 38.38 7 12 7623 2891 129 7/60 22.41 6
WJ Cronje (SA) 1992-2000 96 6 3313 135 36.81 6 20 2827 942 36 3/14 26.16 0
TL Goddard (SA) 1955-1970 72 4 2337 112 34.36 1 16 10894 3055 114 6/53 26.79 5
Mushtaq Mohammad (Pak) 1960-1978 71 4 2706 201 40.38 8 15 3515 1543 57 5/28 27.07 1
GA Faulkner (SA) 1907-1912 29 2 1372 204 50.81 3 8 3105 1696 56 7/84 30.28 3
MA Noble (Aus) 1899-1909 53 3 1561 133 31.22 1 14 4352 1880 61 7/17 30.81 2
BL D'Oliveira (Eng) 1967-1972 43 5 1553 117 40.86 3 9 2972 898 29 3/46 30.96 0
RM Cowper (Aus) 1964-1968 39 1 1898 307 49.94 5 9 2821 1058 33 4/48 32.06 0
M Prabhakar (India) 1984-1995 30 2 905 120 32.32 1 5 2379 1165 35 5/104 33.28 1
JR Reid (NZ) 1949-1965 77 2 2732 135 36.42 5 18 7121 2630 79 6/60 33.29 1
G Giffen (Aus) 1883-1896 36 0 981 161 27.25 1 5 4944 2173 65 6/72 33.43 3
JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1997-2011 226 34 11338 201* 59.05 39 51 15478 7455 219 6/54 34.04 4
FE Woolley (Eng) 1910-1934 67 4 2262 154 35.90 3 16 3885 1642 48 7/76 34.20 3
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 1992-2007 151 8 5711 340 39.93 12 24 6418 2640 77 5/34 34.28 2
MH Mankad (India) 1946-1956 38 2 1567 231 43.52 5 4 8026 3019 88 8/52 34.30 5
GS Sobers (WI) 1955-1974 79 8 4384 365* 61.74 17 11 9127 3445 100 5/63 34.45 2
EJ Barlow (SA) 1961-1970 55 2 2501 201 47.18 6 15 2793 1279 37 5/85 34.56 1
BE Congdon (NZ) 1965-1978 96 5 3104 176 34.10 7 17 4750 1838 53 5/65 34.67 1
WW Armstrong (Aus) 1902-1921 42 2 1646 159* 41.15 3 5 4464 1583 45 5/27 35.17 2

So which allrounder had to do the most bowling on average after batting in the top five? Goddard had one of the highest average number of balls bowled when batting in the top five in the same innings. He bowled 10894 balls in 72 innings - an average of 151.3 balls.

The highest average, however, belongs to India's Vinoo Mankad, who averaged 211 balls per innings for the 38 innings in which he batted in the top five. Mankad took 88 wickets at 34.30 apiece in those innings and scored 1567 runs at an average of 43,52.

Highest rate of balls bowled per innings when batting in the top 5 in the same innings (minimum of 20 innings)
Player Span Inns NO Runs HS Bat Av 100 50 Balls Conc Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 B/I
MH Mankad (India) 1946-1956 38 2 1567 231 43.52 5 4 8026 3019 88 8/52 34.30 5 211.2
TL Goddard (SA) 1955-1970 72 4 2337 112 34.36 1 16 10894 3055 114 6/53 26.79 5 151.3
G Giffen (Aus) 1883-1896 36 0 981 161 27.25 1 5 4944 2173 65 6/72 33.43 3 137.3
IT Botham (Eng) 1978-1987 20 1 994 208 52.31 3 4 2343 1313 34 5/46 38.61 1 117.1
GS Sobers (WI) 1955-1974 79 8 4384 365* 61.74 17 11 9127 3445 100 5/63 34.45 2 115.5
L Amarnath (India) 1933-1952 22 1 503 118 23.95 1 1 2437 900 22 5/118 40.90 1 110.7
GA Faulkner (SA) 1907-1912 29 2 1372 204 50.81 3 8 3105 1696 56 7/84 30.28 3 107.0
WW Armstrong (Aus) 1902-1921 42 2 1646 159* 41.15 3 5 4464 1583 45 5/27 35.17 2 106.2
KR Miller (Aus) 1946-1956 76 6 2687 147 38.38 7 12 7623 2891 129 7/60 22.41 6 100.3
TE Bailey (Eng) 1949-1959 29 1 749 134* 26.75 1 2 2744 893 43 7/34 20.76 2 94.6
JR Reid (NZ) 1949-1965 77 2 2732 135 36.42 5 18 7121 2630 79 6/60 33.29 1 92.4
RF Surti (India) 1961-1969 28 2 832 99 32.00 0 7 2450 1302 26 5/74 50.07 1 87.5
RJ Shastri (India) 1981-1992 49 2 1738 206 36.97 5 6 4100 1917 35 4/78 54.77 0 83.6
C Kelleway (Aus) 1911-1928 24 2 903 147 41.04 3 3 1985 832 17 3/46 48.94 0 82.7
MA Noble (Aus) 1899-1909 53 3 1561 133 31.22 1 14 4352 1880 61 7/17 30.81 2 82.1
FMM Worrell (WI) 1948-1962 60 7 3248 261 61.28 9 17 4802 1902 47 7/70 40.46 2 80.0
M Prabhakar (India) 1984-1995 30 2 905 120 32.32 1 5 2379 1165 35 5/104 33.28 1 79.3
RG Barlow (Eng) 1881-1887 21 1 403 62 20.15 0 1 1664 484 27 7/40 17.92 3 79.2
SA Durani (India) 1961-1973 21 0 509 104 24.23 1 2 1562 674 26 6/73 25.92 1 74.3
RM Cowper (Aus) 1964-1968 39 1 1898 307 49.94 5 9 2821 1058 33 4/48 32.06 0 72.3

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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