Ashley Mallett
Former Australia offspinner

Five to do it all

Allrounders who could bat, bowl and sometimes field their sides to victory

Ashley Mallett

July 10, 2012

Comments: 170 | Text size: A | A

Garry Sobers bludgeons Illingworth for another four, England v West Indies, Old Trafford, June 12, 1969
Garry Sobers: the man who could do everything © The Cricketer International
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There are two certainties in this cricketing life: Don Bradman was the greatest of all batsmen, and Garry Sobers was undoubtedly the game's best all-round cricketer.

Sobers was cricket's lion, and he heads my pride of the five best allrounders I've seen. Because of his mercurial all-round ability, Sobers must be crowned the greatest player in cricket history. Statistics don't always tell the full story, but his stats aren't half bad: 93 Tests, 8032 runs at 57.78, with 26 centuries and a career best of 365 not out. With the ball, bowling left-arm fast, wrist- or orthodox spin, he took 235 wickets at 34.03 with six five-wicket hauls and a career best of 6 for 73.

He also took 109 catches, some of them seemingly impossible ones at backward short-leg. During a charity match in Adelaide in which I played alongside Sobers, he took a catch off my bowling at short midwicket. There was not the hint of a sound. Another catch, again no sound. Twice the ball had disappeared into a pouch of fur: Sobers was the epitome of the iron fist in the velvet glove.

Bradman reckoned Sobers' 254 against Australia for the Rest of the World team at the MCG in 1972 was the "best innings I've seen in Australia".

Sobers had a sense of history and of fair play. When South Africa played South Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 1963-64, he sidled up to his state captain, Les Favell, and asked: "Is it okay, skipper, if I wear my Test cap?" Favell said he couldn't care what cap Sobie wore, but he was intrigued as to why his great allrounder wanted to don the West Indies cap. With a not-so-subtle swipe at the injustices of the apartheid system, Sobers said: "I believe it is time these Springboks got a good, long look at the West Indies cap I am wearing." He got a big hundred.

There have been a few better batsmen than Sobers, also a number of superior bowlers, but as a complete package - batsman, bowler, fieldsman, cricket thinker - he reigns supreme. There was an ease of motion to this man which bordered on the poetic; in a cricketing sense Sobers on the prowl was something to behold.

***

Second to Sobers, in terms of skill and an innate ability to perform when needed, was Keith Miller. Miller was right out of the Boy's Own Annual. He was a war hero and a supreme athlete with the sort of star quality we associate with stage and screen. In 55 Tests he hit 2958 runs at 36.97, with seven hundreds, and he took 170 wickets at an average of 22.97, with a career-best 7 for 60 among his seven bags of five wickets or more in an innings.

Sir Leonard Hutton told me that the best bowler he ever faced was SF Barnes. Barnes was 62, Hutton a boy of 16, but on the Test stage, Hutton said, "the most dangerous bowler was undoubtedly Keith Miller". He was just as likely to bowl a legbreak as he was a fast outswinger in his first over of a Test match. He batted and bowled on whim and the need of the side. If Australia were in trouble he lifted a few gears and got the job done.

In 1969, Miller turned up to take part in a coaching film. All he had to do was to bowl three balls at an unprotected set of stumps. He walked past me where I stood some seven paces back from my mark and said, "Ahem, son, I'll pitch leg and hit off." His first and third balls did precisely that: the ball was propelled at a speed at least as fast as Graham McKenzie, who was a fast bowler for Australia then. The seam was perfectly upright and it pitched on both occasions on the line of leg stump and broke like a Shane Warne legbreak to hit the top of off stump.

***

Imran Khan was a warrior cricketer if ever there was one. He was blessed with great strength and a calm temperament, and could "lift" as a batsman or bowler. In 88 Tests, Imran hit 3807 runs at 37.69, with a highest score of 136 among his six hundreds. With the ball he took 362 wickets at an average of 22.81, taking five or more wickets in an innings 23 times. He was also a born leader, a trait that has stayed with him in his political quest to try and steer Pakistan towards a democracy of sorts.

Imran succeeded with his pace bowling on all surfaces, even on the bone-dry parched pitches of home that powdered to the touch like some river bed in biblical times after 40 years of drought. While he batted with skill and good judgement, especially when he needed to guide his country out of the mire, it was his bowling which fired the imagination. Imran loved a challenge and was his best against the best batsmen, for they provided the greater challenge. He could be operating at a pace around fast-medium, and then, suddenly, without any obvious change in approach or action, he could deliver at savage express pace. When he was quick, he was seriously quick as he proved in Australia in the 1976-77 series.

Like a good-quality red, Imran got better with age. In his final 50-odd Tests he averaged a shade above 50 with the bat and just 19 with the ball. His stirring match figures of 10 for 77 against England at Headingley in 1987 gave Pakistan their first series win against the olde enemy on their home soil. And in 1992 he led Pakistan to World Cup glory.

***

Ian Botham had an outstanding all-round record. In 102 Tests he scored 5200 runs at 33.54 with 14 centuries, and he took 383 wickets at 28.40 with 27 bags of five wickets or more and a career-best haul of 8 for 34. He was probably lucky to have struck an Australian team mostly without its better players. Just after he began his career, Australia and West Indies lost their best players to World Series Cricket, and then came the rebel tours of South Africa.

Botham batted and bowled with great belief, but to me he seemed a better batsman than a bowler. He hit with explosive power, especially straight. As a bowler he seemed to bowl well within himself, but every now and then he would drive through the crease with amazing energy and produce a pearler of a delivery. It was this element of surprise that had batsmen guessing, and it often led to wickets. He wasn't in the class of Kapil Dev or Richard Hadlee as a bowler, yet he was a better bat than both men, and a brilliant slip fieldsman.

Perhaps Botham's magnum opus came at Headingley in 1981, when he flayed Dennis Lillee, Terry Alderman and Co to the tune of 149, which turned the match on its head and won it for England - thanks also to an eight-wicket haul by Bob Willis - after the bookies were offering 500-1 against an England victory.


Mike Procter in full flow
Mike Procter: denied what would have been a successful Test career because of apartheid Ken Kelly / © The Cricketer International
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***

My fifth choice is a little controversial. Mike Procter played little international cricket, and in seven Tests he averaged a modest 25.11 with the bat, though he took 41 wickets at 15.02.

As a bowler, Procter came at you like a raging bull. He was full on, bustling towards the batsman with a determined glint in his eye. At the point of delivery he was very front-on, not unlike Malcolm Marshall, and he seemed to bowl off the wrong foot, the ball seemingly coming on to you in a big rush. His pace was around Marshall's but usually Procter's deliveries came in to the right-hander. He bowled huge, dipping inswingers and clever legcutters.

In England in 1972, I watched on television as Procter completed an unusual hat-trick, in that though the ball was bowled from around the wicket, every batsman was plumb lbw.

As a youngster Procter spent a season on the Lord's grounds staff with Barry Richards, another player who was denied a long and successful Test career with South Africa. Procter knew that apartheid in his country would prevent him from playing any more than his seven Tests, and his ultimate became first-class cricket - mostly for his beloved adopted county of Gloucestershire. In 401 first-class matches he scored 21,936 runs at 36.01 with 48 hundreds and a highest score of 254. He also took 1417 wickets at 19.53, with 70 bags of five wickets in an innings and 15 lots of ten wickets in a match.

That he was denied Test cricket could not dissuade me from counting Procter among one of the best allrounders I've seen. I place him above the likes of Kapil, Hadlee, Richie Benaud, Daniel Vettori, even Alan Davidson, who was most assuredly Australia's best allrounder seen since Miller.

Procter reckoned his loss of a long and successful Test career was little compared with the suffering of 40 million non-whites in South Africa. In April 1971, Nelson Mandela was spending his seventh year in a cell at Robben Island, just across the water from Cape Town, where a cricket match between Transvaal and the Rest of South Africa was about to start at Newlands. The players knew the John Vorster government had decreed that it would prevent the South African selectors from picking a non-white player in the national team for the coming tour of Australia. After one ball, four players - Procter, Graeme and Peter Pollock and Denis Lindsay - walked off the field and issued a press statement supporting the selection by merit regardless of skin colour. From that moment Procter and the others could walk tall forever.

Ashley Mallett took 132 Tests wickets in 38 Tests for Australia. An author of over 25 books, he has written biographies of Clarrie Grimmett, Doug Walters, Jeff Thomson and Ian Chappell

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Posted by camcove on (July 13, 2012, 22:40 GMT)

Jay57870 - Mallett is expressing his opinion. We are not talking absolutes here. My granddad used to tell my dad that Bradman was OK but not as good as V. Trumper, the hero from when he was a child. Bradman was a run machine and averaged nearly double his nearest rival; "bodyline" was devised with him in mind, and his average during that series against England was reduced to the mid-50s. There is no question that Tendulkar is and always has been great. It is a big call to put him up there with Bradman (or indeed as being superior to the likes of V. Richards or G. Proctor). On allrounders, I saw that double hundred by Sobers against Australia for the Rest of the World, and it was breathtaking. Lillee was at his fastest, and Sobers treated him like a medium pacer. Kallis is statistically as good as it gets in history (and technically perfect), but I'd go with Sobers personally. These, and the likes of Dev, Imran etc (and wickie batsmen like Gilchrist) are what any side would kill for.

Posted by jay57870 on (July 13, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Ashley is killing a fly with a mallet(t)! Poetic license aside, his lack of comprehension of the word 'certainty' - meaning 'perfect knowledge that has total security from error' - raises doubts about his journalistic norms! To proclaim in the very 1st para "Don Bradman was the greatest of all batsmen" - as a 'certainty' - is contextually over the top! Let's again weigh in David Frith's informed opinion (see my post below). He posed the question: "So what did the greatest of a former era think of the greatest of our time?" Frith should know. The great Don personally wrote to Frith extolling Sachin: "My philosophy was to try and score off every ball and to take the initiative and I feel Tendulkar does this." Like himself: an equal. Such comparisons arise with all-rounders too: IMHO again, Kallis is like the great Sobers, "best among all-rounders" (my post). Still, Frith is philosophical about such comparisons: "The 'argument' can never be settled absolutely". Nobody has the final word!

Posted by harshthakor on (July 13, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

@Phat-Boy You have made an important point and I greatly admire Kallis's contribution.However remember he has scored more than half his run sin drawn games at an average of 79,as against his match-winning average of 65.Gary Sobers's knocks could turn the complexion of game to a considerably greater extent and he till the end of his career he performed with the ball.Kallis has basically been a great batsman for a long period.

At the peak of their careers Botham and Imran were the closest equivalent to Sobers as match-winners.Botham was particularly flamboyant with the bat and a most intelligent seam bowler while Imran bowled with the heart of a lion and could bat for his life.

Posted by harshthakor on (July 13, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

@straight6:I share your admiration for Imran Khan.In the 1982 summer he defeated Ian Botham for the title of best allrounder with a Soberesque peformance of 21 wickest at 18.53 and scoring 318 run sat an average of 53,almost winning a test series for his nation.Finally he achieved it in 1987 where his bowling at Leeds played an instrumental role.From 1981-88 Imran was arguably the best cricketer and best allrounder,winning his battles with both Ian Botham and Kapil Dev.Arguably Imran is the best cricketer and match-winner after Sobers. However I can't forget Ian Botham's herculean efforts to win the 1981 Ashes with his 149not out at Leeds and 5-11 bowling at Edgbaston ,virtually turning lost causes into victories.In the 1980 Jubilee test he surpassed any peformance by even Sobers,with 13 wickets and a hundred.I would rate Imran the better cricketer and arguably better allrounder but at his best Botham was the superior all-round cricketer.

Posted by g.narsimha on (July 13, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

KAPILDEV is all time best, wtether the writer agree or not that doesnt matter as he may be driven by personel liking dis likings but one thing is sure KAPIL is instrumental in all round rise of INDIAN cricket had he not won THE 1983 WC for india we would not have seen the status INDIA presently enjoying in world cricket ,more over he single handedly taken india to un emaginable standards .he never had the luxiry of a decent partner at other end as enjoyed by IMRAAN, BOTHAM , IMRAAN is famous more than for his non cricket activities , but for indians KAPIL IS TRUE CHAMPION doesnt need certificates we are more than enough to admire our all time great .

Posted by BillyCC on (July 13, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

@Highflyer_GP, I don't know why you said the Sobers era was a bowling era. Looking back at that era, it was clearly one where quality batsmen and quality bowlers shone. If anything, it was the period after Sobers in the 1970s/80s which is deemed the bowling era with about ten truly greats across 4 teams, followed by the 1990s with about seven or eight greats across 3 teams. The 1960s had much less across 3 teams although I'm not taking into account the South African bowlers.

Posted by straight6 on (July 12, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

I never saw Sobers, but out of the 4 greats in the 80's and 90's it's got to be the great Imran Khan. No matter which way you look at the stats, Imran is the clear Winner. I was extremely lucky to have seen the Alil-rounders battle with Beefy Botham, Sir Richard and Kapil Dev. Very very Entertaining Stuff, I wonder all hell would have broken loose with T20 around with these guys around!

Posted by BillyCC on (July 12, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

@jay57870, get over it. Ashley's statements were all backed up in an opinion-based article. It is completely different to a historian perspective which already is quite outlandish to provide a statement such as that made by Frith. And for the record, unless you truly believe that someone can average over 100 in Test cricket over 50 consecutive matches or can match the batting, bowling, captaining, fielding and match-winning exploits of Sobers, those statements are certainties.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

Jack Kallis should be ranked in the top 5. His numbers are impressive enough to rank among the very best!!!

Posted by 777aditya on (July 12, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

no Kapil Dev (India's only meaningful all rounder ever) and no Jacques Kallis (best all rounder ever according to plain stats)!!!!!!! - only one person contributing to such articles makes it sound rather biased

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 12, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

@Phat-Boy: Thank you for posting some sense. All these guys harping on about how Kallis is a stats machine and a minnow basher are obviously clueless. If you exclude minnows, he still comes up tops. And if we're going to exclude minnows for Kallis, then we'd need to exclude the minnows of yesterday (India and Pakistan) for Sobers.

Posted by Marktc on (July 12, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

No Kallis makes this piece a joke

Posted by Phat-Boy on (July 12, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

I don't get why people dismiss Kallis as a match-winner. He's scored 20 centuries in test victories - not sure how many players could boast that, and his average actually jumps to 65 in wins. His percentage of centuries per match stays the same - he hit's a century in every 3.6 SA wins, and hits a century every 3.6 matches overall, which means that his contributions are similar win, lose or draw. If that doesn't suggest a player who simply turns up and does his job no matter the circumstances, then I don't know what does. The fact that he has hit only 3 centuries in defeat also tells you how much his side depends on him - when he fails, SA fail. Simple as that. You can bang on with the 'stats don't tell the full story' stuff all you want, but at the end of the day all you have to do is watch the guy bat to see he's a genius, and likewise all you have to do is watch him bowl his heavy-ball outswing to see that he's a handful who happens to bowl behind some of the world's best.

Posted by Phat-Boy on (July 12, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

jb633 - I think you'll find Kallis' maiden century was actually against the Australians led by Warne and McGrath to save them a test match, so yes.

He also played a leading hand in South Africa winning their first series in Australia four years ago, when Australia were slipping but still almost unbeatable at home.

Posted by crazy.mechanic on (July 12, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

@nz cricket...if he has a posted his opinion ans so are we in the comments block. if u take my opinion KAPIL DEV should have been there. you have to look at a player who took underrated side to a world cup glory. it's simple i would rate Shakib Al Hasan more than any other all rounder from his generation for one simple reason that he is playing for underated team!!!

Posted by Mjlaikc on (July 12, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

It's amazing that people keep harping on statistics as the ONLY benchmark of GREATNESS! Today's glut of cricket allows many players to accumulate runs and wickets and that is one reason why Jacques Kallis has so many of each! After all, he's played over 150 Tests! What is far more important is whether his performances influenced the direction of matches against formidable opponents. And on this score, he is sorely lacking! The great allrounders are the ones who stood up to be counted when the going got tough, especially against superior opposition. That's what GREAT means, fellows! Sobers, Miller, Imran, even Botham have all changed the course of matches in favour of their teams under the toughest and most pressurized situations. But Kallis, not so much. Take away his accumulation of runs against pedestrian attacks like WI, Ind, NZ, Zim & Bgdh and a truer picture of him comes into being.

Posted by jay57870 on (July 12, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Ashley - To hype up a statement surreptitiously as "certainties" - Bradman "greatest of all batsmen" & Sobers "best all-round cricketer" - is as credible as a 100% accurate & reliable DRS! The notion of "certainties in this cricketing life" is an overkill. Just like tennis pundits frozen in a time warp - hailing Rod Laver as the "greatest" - rudely awakened by Roger Federer with his 17th major! Nadal & Djokovic in hot pursuit too! Just like Mark Spitz dethroned after 36 years as "King of the Olympic Pool" by Michael Phelps at Beijing 2008. Look for Phelps in London: with 3 more medals he'd become the "greatest Olympian ever"! And so it goes in cricket too. Reputed cricket historian David Frith opines: "It is tempting to mark down Bradman and Tendulkar as the finest two batsmen who ever lived"! Likewise (IMHO), Sobers & Kallis as best among all-rounders. Reasoned opinions are respected, not outlandish "certainties"! They say: The only certainty in life is Death & Taxes! Get it, Ashley?

Posted by Meety on (July 12, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

@RodStark - I like/agree with your definition - however I don't like ruling out Shakib on the basis of being in a weak team. There is enuff evidence to suggest he COULD occupy a position in the top 6 of most countries (even England atm), & his bowling is worthy of being a lead spinner. Anyways - no big deal just my opinion.

Posted by Arun-Masilamoni on (July 12, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

It is a pity that WG has been forgotten. In his day, he probably did not take the Aussies - and Test cricket - too seriously, for he probably perceived his hunting ground to lie in the first-class game, and the class conquests of the Gentlemen versus the Players matches which he dominated, and, of course, in those days every Aussie was deemed an amateur. I would call him the greatest cricketer ever not just for his inventing of modern batting but for the undying obsession he had for the game. If he could have taken such a large a part in inventing it yesterday, then, surely, were he to be born today, he would take to the game as a duck to water, and extend its technical horizons into realms we can only imagine. I have this favourite mental picture of WG stretching out a long left leg to a delivery pitched outside leg stump, padding the ball high into the air, then smiting it over mid-off to the boundary! - then admonishing the umpire for permitting negative bowling!

Posted by Garvogujarati on (July 11, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

Kapildev had scored a test hundred aginst the most lethal bowling attack in history of cricket : Marshall, Holding , garner and roderts at POS in 1983 on a wearing last day pitch. Not many established batsmen can do it. And you put him behind Botham ? Look at their recoeds against the mighty WI of 70's and 80's and you will know who is the best .

Posted by nzcricket174 on (July 11, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

Silly Indians commenting on this article - its about HIS top five all rounders who were the best in the business at getting their side to victory. Kallis obviously (no offence intended) does not qualify as most of his centuries, wickets and catches did not directly inspire his team to victory. This isn't a stats exercise people!

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 20:32 GMT)

Kallis struggled against Australia at their prime and that could be the reason for author not selecting him in the best of 5.Additionally, Imran should be ahead of Miller, though there is only marginal difference in statisitcs but Imran's inspirational leadership should get the nod ahead of him.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

Ashley Mallet seems to be living in his own world. No Kallis in his top 5 all rounders, and no Muralitharan in the top bowlers list. Ridiculous.

Posted by passionateindocricfan on (July 11, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

A glaring omission from the list is the legendary Kapil Dev. Over 5000 test runs, 434 test wickets, an outstanding fielder and a World Cup victory under his leadership. I think these acheievements more than suffice to take him to the top 5 all rounders list.Like Imran, Kaps too overcame injury and subcontinental pitches. People may say dat Imran was a superior bowler. But d fact remains dat Kapil Paaji was d first pacer dat India had. Kaps didn't have someone like Sarfaraz to teach him reverse swing early on in his career. Also for most of his career he bowled without another pacer to support him ,except 1986 ( Chetan Sharma) and early 90's(Prabhakar, Srinath).So there was no one to tie up d other end or to soften batters at d other end. Admittedly Kaps was not at his best in his final years, but dat doesn't take away his accomplishments. For his stellar record and his longevity, Kaps deserves to be on the list.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

Where is Kapil Dev ?!?!?!

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

I would rate Ian Botham as the greatest all rounder simply on the basis that he could change the course of a test match alone either with the bat or the ball. He has taken the double (century and five-for in the same test) five times while no one else has achieved it more than twice. He might have faded in his later years but I'm talking about him at his prime.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

botham shudnt be in here, because in his time there were no big names like khan, croft, holding and some others coz they were in kerry packer

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

Well what Mike Procter did was a great thing but i still think he doesn't belong in the mentioned list. As a cricket fan, in my opinion Kapil's name must be there right alongside Imran khan. Other than than i think the list is fine.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

Don,t belittle ksllis during earliy stages he was good allrounder but not now , so the expert is fuly right ,in his claim of five best allrounders...

Posted by liz1558 on (July 11, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

Good article, although I'd raise questions about the analysis of Ian Botham as a bowler. The old chant of 'there's only one Ian Botham', is wrong. There were at least two Ian Botham's - first, the slim, athletic, and lethal fast medium swing bowler of Anderson's pace and ability between 1977 and 1981; and second, the increasingly plump 2nd change medium pacer that he morphed into between 1981 and 1983 and remained for the rest of his career. Before he became 'Beefy', he was as a good a swing bowler as there has ever been. Back then, he was a fast bowler who batted, rather than the other way round.

Posted by kh1902 on (July 11, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Amazed at the overreaction to Kallis' omission. Stats are the only basis on which he would be included, but stats don't equal greatness. Anyone who hangs around long enough can accumulate them. As a batsman, Kallis looks out of his depth against people who actually know how to bowl. He is a prolific scorer against weaker opponents and often goes missing when South Africa are in trouble. As a bowler, he is pedestrian.

Posted by Springbok111 on (July 11, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

To those of you who say Kallis is average and only dishes out against minnows - explain why just about every comment on this article mentions his name? It's a travesty that he was left off this list!

Posted by Venkatb on (July 11, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

For all those baying for Kallis' inclusion here based on statistics, the important fact is statistics alone never tell a story - Ken Barrington had a higher batting average than Tendulkar, Hammond, Sobers, Hutton, Hobbs but, and with due respect to him for I did see him bat in India in the early 60s, he would never make it into even an all-time 2nd English XI. Cowdrey, Dexter and May were considered better batsmen during his era. Kallis is in that mould. I had the privilege of watching 4 of the 5 (except Miller) - and Miller batted at 4 or 5 during the dominant years of Aussie cricket, including in Bradman's 46-48 years - that he could do anything on the field is evidenced by the fact that when he toured England in 1945 with the Australia Services team, he was not even a fast bowler then - as a casual change bowler, the field was set for a gentle medium-pace - after 2 deliveries, the field was hastily re-arranged for Miller's pace, with wicketkeeper and slips going back 20 feet!

Posted by peterhrt on (July 11, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

There are three types of Test all-rounder. Batting all-rounders who are major runscorers and whose bowling provides good support, but rarely the penetration to win matches, eg Sobers, Kallis, Greig, Mushtaq Mohammad. Then there are the top-class bowlers who might average thirty with the bat but never forty - Miller, Procter, Imran, Hadlee, Shaun Pollock. The third and largest group tend to average around thirty with both bat and ball. Good in both departments, but not consistently outstanding in either at the highest level: Bailey, Botham, Flintoff, Goddard, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Reid, Cairns, Vettori. Had he played Tests, Clive Rice would also fall into this category. These guys are nearly always excellent fielders. The modern preference for paqking sides with batting means that batting all-rounders are more highly valued. But bowlers win more matches. An old-fashioned balanced attack would often require an all-rounder from the third category to maintain pressure in the field.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

looking at the records there is absolutely no doubt Kallis is No.1 All-rounder even better than Sober. Here is the test records for Kallis & Sober: Batting: Player Span Mat Runs Ave JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2012 152 12379 56.78 GS Sobers (WI) 1954-1974 93 8032 57.78

Bowling: Player Span Mat Wkts Ave JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2012 152 276 32.45 GS Sobers (WI) 1954-1974 93 235 34.03

Even if u ignore the better record that Kallis hold he has got to be at No.2 atleast

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

people say that kallis dishes out against the minnows. But the truth is that during Sobers time only Eng and Aus were good. India and Pak were minnows during his time. And to those who say that Sobers was Lethal as a bowler, I find that hard to believe:his bowling strike rate was over 90. His average is good because he was economical.

Posted by CarloL on (July 11, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

WHAT ABOUT WATSON??? By far the greatest display of all-round ability. He cant bowl OR bat - and he's rubbish in the field for equal measure!

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 11, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

How many of you actually saw Sobers play? He was an average bowler with a hopeless strike rate in a bowling era. Who cares if he could bowl fast and spin when he averaged 15 overs per wicket?

Posted by jb633 on (July 11, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

@Phat-Boy- look at Kallis vs Austalia in the 90,s and 00.s, did he ever win them anything and perform against the best when it really counted. Greatness is not about scoring dull 100's against second rate attacks. I am not suggesting he is not a quality player, but is he really a game changer. IMO, to be classed as the best you have to win games against the best. Kallis did not do this, fact. SA were bullied throughout the period of Aussie dominance and Kallis could not do anything to prevent this.

Posted by rohanbala on (July 11, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

@ReverseSweepIndia... Good judgement from you.. I only hope that M.S Dhoni reads your post.

Posted by wix99 on (July 11, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

Jacques Kallis and Daniel Vettori are two players of the current era who might find a place on the list. Steve Waugh probably didn't bowl enough in latter part of his career to be considered as a true allrounder.

Posted by 9ST9 on (July 11, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

Sacrilege!! Sacrilege!! a list without Sachin Tendulkar!!!

Posted by Sir_Francis on (July 11, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

When Kallis had reached the same number of Tests as Sobers, using Cricinfo, I did a comparison. Interesting. Granted this isn't perfect as they played different eras and different opponents. However, based only on stats they were pretty much interchangeable. As I never saw Sobers play I'd pick Kallis but would not be disappointed getting Sobers. I disagree with the selection of Botham. He played 20 Tests against the Windies, by far the best team in the world at the time. Averaging 20 with that bat and 35 with the ball. Imran, Hadlee & Kapil had far superior averages against the Windies compared to Botham. Surprisingly Kapil had the best record against them. I think Mr. Mallett is doing Kapil an injustice. If Botham was so great why did he fail against good players? World's greatest flat track bully.

Posted by BillyCC on (July 11, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

@RodStark, I really like your definition. And it is crucial that people look at this from the context of a strong team. Sobers was one of the six best batsman in the strong Windies lineup. He would also have been ranked third in the bowling given his pace and spin combination. Keith Miller, Imran Khan and Adam Gilchrist are the only other three players who could have a claim to being a true all rounder in a strong side. Botham was arguable, and Proctor didn't play enough but had the potential to be. Therefore, Mallett's list is quite valid. Kapil Dev and Jacques Kallis fail the test completely. Dev was not in the top 6 Test batsman of India at the time, although he certainly would have been in ODIs. And Kallis likewise in the bowling stakes.

Posted by Meety on (July 11, 2012, 2:11 GMT)

Kallis unquestioanble a fine test player, easily be able to defend calling him a great of the game. He is easily one of the consistantly best batsmen I have ever seen & the stats back this (despite some "gravy" against Bang & Zim). When you add his bowling to his very impressive batting history, kallis becomes arguably the most prolific player of all time. Does that make him the greatest allrounder ever? (IMO - no). Compared to the list above, Kallis's bowling is completely inferior. Removing Bang & Zim wickets - Kallis's test average is over 35 as a bowler. The "worst" bowler (hate to use that to describe Sobers), took 2.5 wickets per match, Kallis 1.7 wickets. I highly rate kallis's slip fielding - I don't ever recall him dropping a catch (slips fielding is a facet I highly rate), but it is bowling that keeps him off this list. For those advocating Dev, it is his batting & fielding (relatively), that keeps him off this list (narrowly), same with Hadlee.

Posted by Gizza on (July 11, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

I think my five would be Sobers, Khan, Miller, Hadlee, Kallis. Then maybe Dev. Dunno much about Proctor. And Botham was too inconsistent. Might as well put Flintoff in the top five as well then. And I would say Sobers is the best cricketer of all time. I would pick him ahead of Bradman since he could help you draw matches with his batting and actually create victories with his bowling and fielding.

Posted by Phat-Boy on (July 11, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

jb633, funny that for a player who plunders first innings attacks (which is when the game is set up anyway) averages 59 in his teams' second innings.

His bowling average actually drops to 26 in the second innings too, just to further highlight that you probably should try and find some evidence of what you're saying before you say it.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

John R Reid is always left out of these lists, despite being possibly the best batsman of his day, the best fast bowler in his country and also the best spinner. He was an amazing fielder also, and captained the team. But the difficulty is who to leave out. The list already missed Hadlee, Kallis, Davison and Shakib.

Posted by   on (July 11, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

For me Sobers,Kallis,Imran,Kapil,Miller.Note: U cannot keep out Kallis from gr8 allrounders list.

Posted by Baddabing on (July 10, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

I agree with the choice of Sobers above Kallis,you see the big difference is that Sobers was a full time bowler as well as a batsman,his average number of overs bowled per match was more than Courtney Walsh,Kapil Dev or Michael Holding,and about double that of Kallis who I regard as a part-time allrounder as he usually only bowls about 6 overs per innings

Posted by RodStark on (July 10, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

The true definition of a great all rounder (in my opinion) is that he would be one of the best six batsmen available and one of the four best bowlers. It's also important that this should be within the context of a strong team, which rules out contenders like Shakib-Al-Hassan, Vettori, and John Reid of New Zealand (who was considered the second greatest all rounder of his day in the early 60s). Apart from Sobers, I' don't know who meets that definition consistently over their career. By the way, the greatness of Sobers was that he bowled seam AND spin.

I'd be interested in seeing a list of the greatest all-round performances within a limited period--a series? a year?--because I don't think it's fair to dismiss people like Kallis because his bowling may have gone downhill as he's got older. It's also hard to rate others (Botham?) who perhaps start as a great bowler and end up as a great batsman and have overall good stats without necessarily being really good at both simultaneously

Posted by nakihunter on (July 10, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

How could he leave out Jaques Kallis? I would have Kalis and Kapil Dev ahead of Procter and Botham. Kalis is definitely no. 2 if not even no. 1. Kapil would be 4 and Milller at 5.

Posted by BattosaiXX on (July 10, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

Kalis is an the an amazing all rounder but he is not a wicket taking bowler. Very usefull in ODI but not so much in Test circket. bowler with 32.45 is avg at best. He is more of a batting all rounder than a complete all rounder. Kapil should be up there. Imran Khan over Kalis any day.

Posted by RakeshGPradhan on (July 10, 2012, 21:58 GMT)

Ridiculous article - sobers number one based on stats - and in the same breath stating stats dont always tell the full story.... IMO best allrounders are those that do it all - score lots of runs , take plenty of wickets and take catches - sobers did as did Botham and Kallis - imran was a bowler who batted , hadlee and kapil the same - jaque kallis and sobers are front line batters and first change bowlers

Posted by SurlyCynic on (July 10, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

No Kallis = joke of an article. Not even mentioned. Sure he doesn't bowl as much these days, but what bowler does in his mid 30s? He still averages low 30s with the ball and high 50s with the bat. This author mentions allrounders who may have been marginally better with the ball but far worse with the bat, you have to judge the overall contribution of the player. At his best Kallis hit 90mph and held the batting lineup together... which of these allrounders ever batted 3 and 4?

Posted by doctornikki on (July 10, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

Imran Khan pride of asia....

Posted by msg1711 on (July 10, 2012, 19:32 GMT)

Sorry, but Ashley Mallet loses all credit here by not including Jaque Kallis. This article can just be taken with a pinch of salt.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

There is not a single mention of Kallis' name.. Even Vettori got mentioned, that too fro test matches..

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (July 10, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

A all rounders list without Sir Ravinder Jadeja? Not acceptable. Not acceptable at all. All those guys in list had to actually bowl/bat/field their heart out to remain in team. But Sir managed that without doing any of these activities (oops, he fields sometime). That shows how much influence he has on this little game of cricket. I as a viewer and all my generation has been enlightened by this greatest of all-rounder produced ever. I vote for his name to be included in the elite list of "can't bat/can't bowl/can't field" list at the top.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

no kapil dev?? he has the 3rd highest strike rate for all batsmen with over 5000 test runs and he had shouldered india's bowling for over a decade taking 430 odd wickets. Also captained the team to world cup victory.

This was one highly biased article. proctor and miller do not hold a candle to kapil dev. in fact kapil dev alone is greater than proctor, miller and their neighbor put together.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

kallis is no way near as good as imran , botham or sobers. He is a great batsman but an average bowler who hardly bowls these days. He hasn't even taken a 10 wicket haul. I can't think of any (test) series in which kallis performed with both bat and ball in such a manner that he could be compared with the likes of sobers or imran or hadlee.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

Nice to see the article has stimulated some debate! I wouldn't, as some have suggest, pick Kallis instead of Miller - the latter was one of the best fast bowlers ever, and a more than useful top order batsman and fielder.

I would, though, choose Kallis over Botham. Botham was primarily known for his performances against Australia, who were severely weakened by WSC. Others have mentioned his performances against New Zealand - a team which, Hadlee aside, was also very weak at the time. His record against WI, the best team in the world in his day, was very poor - batting average 21, bowling 35. Kallis's record against Australia, the best team of his era, is notably worse than his overall stats, but not quite that bad - batting 39, bowling 38.

Procter was undoubtedly a world class player, but I don't think you can rate someone as one of the greatest if they haven't played a significant amount of Test cricket. I'd take another Saffer, Trevor Goddard, as my fifth choice.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

This is a faulty list............. No Kallis............. No Kapil.............. UTTER NONSENSE................ Kapil had records equal to Botham's if not better......... n he was a great leader too.......... took so many wickets in demanding indian conditions............ also did well against the best side then......... west indies.......... botham took so many wickets in helpful english conditions......... n also no ways u can think of Mike Proctor over Kallis.......... For me Kallis is even better than Sobers..........

Posted by r1m2 on (July 10, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

I think all except Botham is a good choice for top 5 all rounders of all time (until so far of course).

Botham to me doesn't have impressive enough records to be in that list. I'd rather put Hadlee or even Kapil above Botham. Botham was good at bullying the meeks with both bat and ball. Kapil and Hadlee were from the teams that were the meeks, so they had to do extra well to do as well as they did.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

Here's my top 5 -- Sobers, Kallis, Botham, Imran and Kapil -- Close 6 & 7 are Miller Hadlee. I will pass Procter because he has hardly played at international level.

Posted by US_Indian on (July 10, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

Even though i have been a fan of Malletts cricketing knowledge, his writing skills and judgements through first hand interaction, but I am Sorry to disagree not on the names included,even though every name mentioned is genuine in their own rights but on the names escluded,atleast 3 names are missing which definitely cant be an error but a deliberate attempt to degrade those 3 gentlemen, true fighters who gave it all for their teams and have performed under tremendous stress and testing conditions,men who have been the backbone of their teams and carried much of the weight on their broad shoulders to say the least and contributed a lot which cant be measure in terms of just runs and wickets or catches but in terms of this phrase "no fear XYZ player is here" and they are #1.Kapil Dev #2.Richard Hadlee #3.Jacques Kallis. Even there have been some others who fall on the border line of being called as genuine allrounders but they have done with both bat or ball on occasions very successfull

Posted by India_boy on (July 10, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

okay i am not one of those who think there country players should appear in every list, but this one surely jolts me ! NO KAPIL DEV????? this guy was a superman! he is one of the rarest people who held batting and bowling records at some point of time in their career. A world record holder with 434 wickets, and 175* in a WC semi, he was the most athletic fielder in all of Asia! if he wasnt bowling on the dead pitched of India and instead plied his trade in Eng or Aus, Mcgrath/Walsh and Co. would have ended their career chasing his records of wickets. not to mention the passion he brought in the game. and he was the captain to boot! cmon, not fair, he was definitely better than Procter and Miller !

Posted by mainul079080 on (July 10, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

Guys,when Sakib al hasan will retire people will be amazed to see his record,the topics of all time best allrounders will be rewritten including him in the list. Long live Sakib.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

An allrounder list without Kallis is not at all a proper list, he might be the most boring all rounders when compared with the rest, but in my opinion he is the greatest ever.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 10, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

@On-Drive, subjective factors such as pitches and conditions and hence the value of wickets and runs are hard to estimate objectively. However, if you believe the ICC player rankings, Ian Botham reached the 8th highest bowling ranking of all time (911) v India in 1980 and has the 83rd highest batting ranking of all time (also reaached v India, albeit in 1982). In contrast, Kapil is only 35th in the all-time bowling rankings (reached v Pakistan in 1980) and does not make the top 100 of the batting. It suggests that, when each was at his peak, Ian Botham was just a little the better in both departments, although Kapil was a very very fine player. In the (now discontinued) all-rounder ratings, Ian Botham had, I recall, the 2nd best ever rating.

Posted by VinayK on (July 10, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

Flintoff? No. Cairns? No. KALLIS? YES!

Posted by Mary_786 on (July 10, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

Where is Kapil Dev on the list, surely he should be in the top 5

Posted by Bollo on (July 10, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

@spinkingKK. Kapil `second only to Gavaskar in batting`?? come on - I hope Viswanath, Vengsarkar, Azha, Sidhu, Amarnath, Shastri, Sachin et al. aren`t reading this.

He was a very good lower order batsman,...but no need to over-egg the pudding.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Really lost a lot of respect for the writer after leaving out perhaps the greatest all rounder of all, Kallis.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

I never saw Keith Miller play and therefore I am unable to comment about him. However out of the other four I agree Sir Garfield Sobers was the BEST followed by Imran Khan. With regard to Ian Botham and Mike Proctor I wonder whether instead of one of these two it should be Kapil Dev of India as in the history of Indian cricket he is the best all rounder they have ever produced. He single handedly carried their, bowling and batting. I cannot recall India ever producing better fast bowler than Kapil Dev. He was also a good fielder and possessed leadership quality leading India to win the World Cup. I recall Ian Botham was only successful against Australia and the weaker teams. He hardly succeeded against full strength West Indies or Pakistani side. Ian Botham also failed as captain. As for Mike Proctor I only saw him in county cricket and therefore it is difficult to assess how he would have performed at international level.

Posted by sneeky55 on (July 10, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

jacques kallis!!!????? the greatest allrounder of the 21st century.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (July 10, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

extremely sad to not see the name of Jack Kallis. man has better record in test cricket than Sobers. Man has great record in ODI cricket too. I believe that Jack Kallis is greatest cricketer ever , even better than bradman and sobers because of his all round records and don't forget his catches too.

What a tragedy that people don't recognize Kallis ability as all rounder at all. sad.

Posted by essel1 on (July 10, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

How come no Kallis???? I thought he should have been number 2 after Sobers

Posted by Chris_P on (July 10, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

Pretty strong group, Ashley. I wouldn't have had Botham but to each their own. By and large I read some incredibly stupid posts by people who obviously have no clue about cricket. Some of the names people have put up had to be a joke, surely. Those people slamming Miller, consider this, he opened the bowling and bowled fast! Then he batted at number 4 in a strong batting line-up against strong teams. No easy games to pump up the average. No other opening fast bowler has consistently batted in the top 4. Proctor was an awesome player who could have been anything had he been born in another country or born a few decades later. I think Wasim Akram, Kapil, Hadlee come close and all rate ahead of Botham IMHO, but this Ashley's piece and he is entitled to his view. After all, he has the privilege of having played test cricket & performed at the highest level & would probably have a better idea than the lot of us.

Posted by Nambat on (July 10, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

I seem to remember watching Procter hitting 5 glorious sixes in an over off Ashley Mallet one sunny summer's day in Cape Town? - many many years before such events became common in 'one day' cricket....

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (July 10, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Can't believe one Mr. Kapil Dev is missing from this list. He won a WORLD CUP all by himself. Forgot the catch that won the final Ashley?

Posted by Mooky on (July 10, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Modern day all ounders Brenson, Broard, Swann, Bopara and trott ( stuggled with the last one)

Posted by Bollo on (July 10, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

@Vikram Vishwanath. Yes, Flintoff had a huge series against Aus in 2005 (400 runs and 24 wickets), although Warne`s 250 runs and 40 wickets in the same series is probably a more impressive all-round return. Whatever, we`re not talking about the best 5 all-round performances in a series here, but over a career.

Flintoff`s overall averages of @32 with the bat, and @33 with the ball just don`t quite make the grade. Once again I refer you to Miller - @37 with the bat, @23 with the ball.

Posted by On-Drive on (July 10, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

Bollo - Between Kapil and Botham ...you forgot one important factor. Kapil did so well against might WI and Botham did not. Secondly, Kapil took most of his wickets in India where as Botham took his wickets in very helpful English conditions. Kapil was the leader when India won the world cup. Botham lacked leadership skills. Case closed.

Posted by shillingsworth on (July 10, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Procter isn't a controversial choice to anyone lucky enough to see him play. Inevitably he gets less recognition than the others who played more test cricket and it's a brave call to include him, but a good one.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

Can't argue with the chosen five - much - but what about Clive Rice? One can only wonder what sort of a test career he would have had.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

Why there is politics, references in sports?

Posted by Bollo on (July 10, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Glad some people have mentioned Chris Cairns - he was a sensational player, only 60 tests, but obviously world-class.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

what abt andrew flintoff?.. if u see the way he rattled the aussies in the ashes tour of 2005, his name too deserves to be in this list..

Posted by Indian_Fan09 on (July 10, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Where is SACHIN TENDULKAR, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Sanjay Bangar, Ravindra Jadeja, Robin Singh, Ramesh Powar??

Posted by Geordie613 on (July 10, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Clive Edward Butler Rice. Not on here, but only due to the disaster that was apartheid.

Posted by harshthakor on (July 10, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

A most important criteria is the ability to peform all-round performaces with both ball and bat in games and series.Had Ian Botham maintained his same standard as from 1977-82 he would have well given GarySobers a a run for his money.

Although Kallis was a true all-round cricketer only for the initial part of his carer he has to be classed with the great allrounders.Remember Imran at his peak as a batsman,was hardly so effective with the ball and vice-versa.The point in favour of Imran Khan was that he was a great match-winner like Sobers,which Jacques Kallis was not.Infact counting ball with bat Kapil Dev should be ahead of Kallis.

Figures can never reflect how extraordinary Sobers was ,but morally with his outstanding efforts there is every case for rating Jacques Kallis as 2nd best,if you consider the modern era.True Mike Procter was more talented,but he hardly played test cricket.

Posted by landl47 on (July 10, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

My problem with Mallett's list is that he includes two players that he hardly saw play test cricket at all. Mallett was 11 when Keith Miller played his last test, so he (Mallett) doesn't have the ability to form an objective opinion of his career as a whole based on having watched him play and, as he admits, Mike Procter only played 7 tests altogether. I'm not doubting the ability of these two players, but once you start including people whom you have hardly seen on the big stage, where does it stop? W. G. Grace, based on his statistics compared to other cricketers of the time, was far and away the best all-rounder ever, but he is (rightly) not in this list. Personally, I'd include Kallis and Kapil Dev on my list instead of Miller and Procter, just because I'm almost the same age as Mallett and my experience of watching cricket is more or less contemporary with his. He's got one thing right, though- Sobers is the best cricketer I've ever seen, too.

Posted by Tom_Bowler on (July 10, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Well that's very well argued and obviously Ashley's 100+ Test wickets and 20+ books beats my 0 and 0 but for me this list should comprise David Capel, Manzoor Elahi, Brendon Julian, Eldine Baptiste and Robin Singh.

Posted by number-09 on (July 10, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

@David_Boon - Come off it, the don is the Greatest Batsman, and sobers is the greatest cricketer because of his allround, very superior game. I think you have a problem understanding Greatest Cricketer and greatest Batsman. Sobers went beyond greatest Allrounder.

Posted by Bollo on (July 10, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

There doesn`t seem to be to much love for Ian Botham out there, perhaps understandably after some of the tripe he comes out with on commentary, but credit where it`s due. He was a phenomenal player, similar to Kapil in many ways, but @ab_cricket, I`d probably give it to Botham in all 3 categories. Kapil was a decent outfielder, Botham a world-class slip-fieldsman. Botham scored 14 hundreds in 100 tests at 34, Kapil 8 in 130 at 31. Botham averaged 28 with the ball (27x 5 fors), Kapil averaged 30 (23x5 fors).

@Hadlee Crowe, as for Botham being remembered for one test/one series only - he remains the only man to have scored 100 and taken 5-wickets in an innings in the same match more than twice. Botham managed it 5! times (between 1978-1984) including 2 times in NZ, where according to you he `barely tried`. He averaged 45 with the bat and 27 with the ball in NZ - hate to think what he would have achieved if he`d been having a go.

Posted by makuba on (July 10, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

I am glad this is your list. Here is mine 1. Kallis, 2. Pollock, 3.Imran Kham 4.Botham 5.Mike Procter

Posted by sweetspot on (July 10, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Where is Arjuna Ranatunga? Only Dwayne Leverock amongst international cricketers was more round all round.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

First, it's Mallett's personal list, so he is entitled to his opinion. Don't have much of a problem regarding Hadlee/ Kapil not being there - they were most definitely better much more top class bowlers and a handy bat in an under-strength batting unit. Similarly, if there's one replacement, it might be Kallis for Procter, but I don't mind this much either. Kallis again, is much more a top class batsman, and mostly a handy back-up bowler in a generally good bowling unit. In contrast Procter liked (and did well) in both disciplines. Of course, if first class level talent is included, I'd be inclined to chime in for Franklyn Stevenson as well ..

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

Kapil Dev,jacques Kallis,Lance Klusener,Andrew Flintoff atleast the first two should have been there.

Posted by Wexfordwonder on (July 10, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

Part of te debate that should inform this article is surely what constitutes and all rounder. Are we talking genuine all rounders or are we talking partial (ie batting or bowling all rounders). It would seem to my youthful and uneducated eye that there have been very few genuine all rounders. If I were to think of some names, Sobers, Kallis, possibly Botham, Dev any more?

I take the point about the players in this atricle's e;ectrifying abilities but they would, by and large be classified as either batting or bowling allrounders.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

Being a former cricketer.My best all-time all-rounders.1.SIR GARY SOBERS 2.IMRAN KAHN 3.SIR IAN BOTHAM 4.JACS KALLIS.5.KAPIL DEV.6.SIR RICHARD HADLEE.7.ANDREW FLINTOFF.8.THEY ALL HAVE GREAT CONTRIBUTION IN BOWLING/BATTING/FIELDING/AND AS CAPTAIN.THEY ALL LEAD FROM THE FRONT.I HAVE HONOR TO PLAY WITH IMRAN KHAN AND KAPIL DEV AND HONOR MEET MY ALL TIME HERO AND LEGEND SIR GARY SOBERS.

Posted by Bollo on (July 10, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@kallis_01. I`d probably agree that Kallis deserves to be on the list, although Miller certainly wouldn`t be the man he might displace. I`d agree with Mallett that Miller ranks only behind Sobers as the greatest all-rounder, and is probably the purest fast-bowling all-rounder of them all - opened the bowling, batted in the top order, was a brilliant fieldsman, and inspired a generation. His bowling average (about 50% better than Kallis) suggests at the very least that Kallis was not `a much better bowler` as you suggest.

Posted by Aristotle01 on (July 10, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

imran khan in this list is an absolute joke . He must easily be the MOST OVERHYPED PLAYER IN THE WORLD. Even Irfan Pathan is better than him .

Posted by Kentheavenonearth on (July 10, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Botham and Imran are in there as greatest evers, and that's that. Flintoff would be in greatest Ten, as would Kallis. But Australia in modern times ? It's time cashrich CA commissioned a proper movie of Keith Miller, reads like a true superstar. Would inspire young aussies to toss their playstations in the bin too.

Posted by harshthakor on (July 10, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

My all time list in order 1.Sobers 2.Miller 3.Imran 4.Botham 5.Kallis 6.Kapil Dev 7.Hadlee 8.Chris Cairns 9.Flintoff 10.Shaun Pollock

Posted by Roger_Allott on (July 10, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

Replace Beefy with Kallis and you'll have a peerless quintet.

Posted by harshthakor on (July 10, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

One has to add Jacques Kallis instead of Mike Procter, who is statistically the greatest allrounder of all time.13,000 runs and 270+wickets speaks for itself and with Gary he is the best batting allrounder of all,almost on par with Gary as a batsman.He may not have been as flamboyant but to bat for your life he even surpassed Sobers.He lacked Sober's bowling versatality but could produce great spells of medium pace bowling which turned games.What counted against Kallis is that he could not perform outstandingly with both ball and bat for the major part of his career and is now only a great batsman.

Had Kapil Dev received support from a good bowling attack he may well have been Sober's nearest rival as like Botham he would champion the cause with both ball and bat at his peak.Imran and Miller have similar figures and Imran was consistently the greatest match-winner but he contributed a lot more as a pace bowler than a batsman.Thus Miller edges ahead.

Posted by S.h.a.d.a.b on (July 10, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Hadlee was obvious choice, you could replace procter. Every time you write something, you leave some space for feed backers. Enjoyed the reading.

Posted by harshthakor on (July 10, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

Without doubt Gary Sobers was the greatest allrounder and arguably the best cricketer of all challenging Bradman.No allrounder was simply in the league of Sir Gary and mere statistics hardly told the story.His feats in the 1970 England summer for Rest of the World and his allround performance in the 1966 tour of England were simply unequalled.Imagine he could bowl pace ,spin and chinaman!

At his best Ian Botham was Sober's closest challenger from 1977-82 and the 1980 Jubillee test and 1981 Ashes testify this.Infact his best all-round performances were the best by any allrounder in turning a match or series.Imran Khan was the best from 1981-1988 but was never a great batsman and bowler at the same time and was a great pace bowler for his major career.Keith Miller was consistently a great batsman and bowler and thus correctly wins the 2nd place.It is a photo for 2nd between Miller,Imran and Botham but I agree with that order of merit.

I feel Jacques Kallis has been unfairly excluded.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

where is sir ,Ravindra jadeja .

Posted by Aristotle01 on (July 10, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

Where is Sanjay bangar , Khaled Mahmud, ian Harvey, Andre Adams and Upul Chandana? They deserve to be in the list. They are the best IMHO.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

Good masterpiece on allrounders ,but Great imran khan should have been at 2nd place , kallis also should have been their

Posted by Bollo on (July 10, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Must admit I don`t have too much of a problem with Kallis not being in Mallet`s top 5, although he obviously deserves a mention and might just make my list. I do think the recent burst of enthusiasm for Kallis as `the greatest cricketer of all-time` is rather wild exaggeration, although he has obviously been a wonderful player and seems to be getting better with age.

@aalkool, sure you`re entitled to your opinion, but Bhajji (bat ave.19, bowl ave 32) is a long way from making the cut - as an all-rounder at all, let alone one of the greats. Why not Warne (bat. 17, bowl.25, world-class slipper) or indeed Gillespie (bat.19, bowl 26). But when you`re comparing him to someone like Miller (batting average double and bowling average about 50% better) you`re really starting to clutch at straws. Yes, we all agree that stats aren`t everything but...

Posted by Jonathan_E on (July 10, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

Hadlee's batting record, despite 2 centuries, is not quite good enough to class him as the all-rounder he initially threatened to become: though a better bowler than most of them (I rate him as a bowler above Kapil, Imran and Botham), he wasn't up to them with the bat - he was a batsman for no. 7 or 8 in the order, whereas the others at their best were good enough for 6 or higher.

Also, I'll go against the consensus and rate Botham, like Flintoff, a more consistent bowler than batsman: in between his 14 centuries (nearly as many as Kapil, Imran and Hadlee put together!) were a good number of low scores, but - despite the propensity to bowl apparently bad balls - he seldom failed with the ball to the same extent. (It should also be remembered that a lot of the "wide half-volleys" that he had a tendency to take wickets with, were in fact, wide *but heavily swinging* half-volleys, of which a batsman could easily misjudge either the swing or pace...)

Posted by StevieS on (July 10, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Jacques Kallis >> Chris Cairns > Ian Botham

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

No Hadlee or Kapil Dev ? Strange.

Posted by AndrewFromOz on (July 10, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

Good choices by the Mallett man. Have to say, I was never sure about Kallis and his bowling (compared to his excellent batting). Rather than being a "batsman who bowls", at times he seemed to be a "batsman who sometimes wants to bowl". Maybe too fine a distinction but you get my drift... ;)

Posted by Venkatb on (July 10, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

Cannot agree more with Rowdy though with some qualifiers - Sobers was consistent throughout his career, Imran (post 1982), Botham (pre-1983) showed the same prowess, and Mike Proctor in the English circuit in the mid-70s! For all those who wonder why Hadlee, Kallis, Kapil Dev are not this list need to know that these 5 were live-wires who could inspire a team, bowl, bat and lift teams out of desperate situations. Miller too was an electrifying presence but during the Bradman years, it was The Don first, and then Miller!

Posted by joseyesu on (July 10, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

Interseted in players between 1995 to 2012*. To me YUVRAJ comes after a superb display in WC.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

Kallis is the modern day great, like dravid we will will understand Kallis's true value when he bids the game adieu.

Posted by dogcatcher on (July 10, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

Kallis is not a game changer, what a laugh! Kallis is not a massive personality or an extrovert like Proctor or Botham for example and he is not English or Australian. If he were English he'd be the greatest player ever. The individuals mentioned above are all larger than life and had characters and personalities to match. There is no doubt that that if Kallis was an extrovert he would receive more acclaim. Beefy except for a few swashbuckling innings which looked distinctly like a man slogging and lucky for it to come off is highly over rated. Funnily enough he heads up the bowling list of most wickets for an Englishman - er not too may ahead of Kallis either. Proctor was good but not in the same class as Kallis. Keith Miller a legend who has grown over time but really should be there. So what does that leave us with Sober and Khan. Missing and better choices has to be Kapil Dev,Vetori (of recent times and another introvert) and Afridi,hadley, Greig, Shaun Pollock.

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 10, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@robelgordo: There is no need for Kallis to be chosen as a bowler alone, since he has played alongside some of the greatest bowlers ever in Donald, Pollock and Steyn. Kallis' bowling stats (both avg and SR) are far superior to Sobers', and Sobers played in a bowling era. Not sure how you can say that he would have been picked as a bowler alone.

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 10, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Sobers is overrated as a bowler. His strike rate is extremely poor, even when measured against spinners and other batting all rounders. Botham and Proctor ahead of Kallis is a joke. And why does everyone overlook Shaun Pollock? His bowling was on par with McGrath, and he was a pretty capable bat.

Posted by vrn59 on (July 10, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

Good list! My only suggestion would be to add Jacques Kallis, the only cricketer to have scored over 10,000 runs and taken over 250 wickets each in Test and ODI cricket. Yes, it can be argued that mere statistics don't tell the whole story, but Kallis' stats are truly overwhelming. Many have criticised him for his lack of 'match-winning' ability, mostly due to slow scoring in limited-overs cricket. What people fail to understand is that defensive batting, albeit not as attractive as six-hitting, is crucial to any batting lineup. Kallis' batting is understated at times, but always benefits the team, much like Rahul Dravid and nowadays, even Jonathan Trott. In my personal opinion, he is a true match-winner and a cricketing legend!

Posted by Tigg on (July 10, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

I personally put Kallis and Hadlee above Procter and Botham. I love Beefy but he had a large drop off in performances in the second half of his career although his ability to take wickets with bad balls is phenomenal. Hadlee was by far the best bowler of the big 4 (Hadlee, Khan, Dev, Botham) and Kallis is up there with Sobers from a batting point of view and still bowls 140kph even now. The reason Kallis isn't viewed as a matchwinner is because of where and how he bats. A grafter at 3 or 4 it isn't there role to win matches it's to set them up allowing the match turning blitzes from the middle order dashers that the likes of Beefy where renowned for.

Posted by ooper_cut on (July 10, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

Depends on whose list. The older folk would always love the older generation since they have seen them as they grew up and matured. If you ask a younger journo to pick 5, he would have Kallis as undoubtedly number one. I feel Kapil, Hadlee and Imran were the most prolific and efficient in their times.

Posted by aalkool on (July 10, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Harbhajan Singh should have made this list, in my opinion. He is a game changer with the ball and has two test match centuries and over hundred international catches. His wicket of Umar Akmal in the WC'11 semi-final against Pakistan was the most defining moment in the world cup from India's perspective, in my point of view. Please note that this is my opinion, which I am entitled to, much like the above list is Ashley Mallett's and he is entitled to his views. This website has not influenced my opinion, except in the use of Statsguru to understand Harbhajan Singh's statistics. :)

Posted by Mooky on (July 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

How about Botham, Flintoff, Brensen, Broad and Swann

Posted by smalishah84 on (July 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

Made for great reading. Interesting choices there. I do feel Imran should have been ahead of Miller if this list is in sequential order. Kallis doesn have a wickets per match of less than 2 so I guess some people might not classify him as a true all rounder.

Posted by meanmen on (July 10, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Kallis' omission is baffling to say the least.. He, in fact, is the best of them all.. We all get too absorbed in mentioning greats of the past.. Botham and Imran are in no way better than Kallis.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

Where is Kallis, Kapil & Hadly... we also miss Crains...

Posted by jb633 on (July 10, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

To all those shouting Kallis' name, it is important to realise that there is more to crciket than plain stats. Match winning contributions are a huge factor. IMO Kallis does not actually win that many games for SA, rather he puts them into a position to not lose it. If he had scored big runs against the great Aus side then my opinion would be different. I always see him as a selfish player, who piles on runs in the 1st innings of games where the bowling attack is pretty weak I think Gilchrist is the best all rounder I have ever seen. A real match winner and a good bloke.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Kallis should be here. And Sanath Jayasuriya because "Stats dont always tell the story".

Posted by robelgordo on (July 10, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

I wouldn't have Kallis in the top 5 all-rounders either, stats be damned.

The reason is that 3 of this list were auto choices as a batsmen or a bowler - if you took away one skill for Sobers, Miller and Imran, they still would've been picked for the other. Botham was the same for the first half of his career. Proctor would've been if available for Tests.

With Kallis he is a great batsmen, but has always been a 4th/5th bowling option, and often reluctantly. You would never pick him as a bowler outright if he couldn't bat.

The only fault I find with Mr. Mallett's list is I'd swap Imran and Miller.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

Kapil Dev definitely deserves a place in this list....he is one of the most fit cricketers of all time...with his fielding, batting, bowling and the leadership qualities he has been one of the best cricketer's of all time and definitely better than Imran Khan, Ian Bothom, Hadlee or Kallis

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (July 10, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

No mention of Kallis or Clive Rice is a puzzle. Sobers on top you can make arguments for Botham, Khan, Hadlee, Kalllis and the others depending on your viewpoints.

Posted by kallis_01 on (July 10, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

Kallis should definitely be on that list instead of keith miller; he is a much better batsmen, bowler and fileder and would challenge Sobers for the best allrounder accolade. australian bias is seeping through this article

Posted by frost on (July 10, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

I don't understand how Jacques Kallis couldn't even get a mention from you. You found a place to mention Alan Davidson, but no, Kallis isn't worth a second thought. I'm struggling to take you serious on this subject.

Posted by Alec_J on (July 10, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Quite shocking that the greatest all rounder of all time and according to many the best cricketer of the modern game Jacques Kallis is not on the top of this list. It is actually farcical and diminishes the credibility of this website!!!

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

What happened to Kallis? Im sure he deserves to be in the top 3

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 10, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

I'm surprised that Mallet has never seen Kallis play! He should get out a bit more and watch some cricket.

Posted by SamRoy on (July 10, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

"I place him above the likes of Kapil, Hadlee, Richie Benaud, Daniel Vettori, even Alan Davidson, who was most assuredly Australia's best allrounder seen since Miller." -- no mention of Jacques Kallis, who is statistically better than even Sobers. I am not saying Kallis is better than Sobers (he is not). That way we can say Samaraweera is better than Viv Richards (statistically speaking). But Kallis as a slip fielder, bowler and a great batsman is a much better overall cricketer than Daniel Vettori. So even though he may not be in your top 5 (he is in my top 5) at least he deserves a mention. Sobers, Miller, Imran, Kallis and Botham in decreasing order for me. Imran gets nod ahead of Kallis because of his captaincy.

Posted by kh1902 on (July 10, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

There's usually such a disproportionate focus on players of the last 20-25 years, that it's nice to see an article which focuses on some of their great predecessors. A pleasure to read.

Posted by ab_cricket on (July 10, 2012, 5:30 GMT)

Ian Botham's over rated. I think Kapil was a better batsman and fielder than both Imran and Botham. Imran was the best bowler of the three but if you have to pick 2 of these three (Imran/ Botham/ Kapil) I would pick Imran and Kapil. I think Mr. Kallis should also get a mention in the above list.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

I'd be hard pressed to leave out Kallis, so I won't.

kallis, Sobers, Botham, Richard hadlee, Imaran Khan

Posted by Phat-Boy on (July 10, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

Can't believe there can be an article about great all-rounders and even in the 'these guys just missed out' section, not a single mention of Jacques Kallis, who statistically has every single one of them covered twice over, and probably would have done even better only that his career has co-incided with some of the greatest fast bowlers of the modern era in Donald, Pollock and Steyn.

Posted by zero_knowledge on (July 10, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

not even a mention of Jaques Kallis?

Posted by djfishy on (July 10, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

What about Jacques Kallis??? His stats are pretty good too... maybe only second to Sobers Test Avg Bat 56.78, (12379 runs), Bowling, 32.45 (276 Wickets) and 181 catches ODI Avg Bat 45.26,(11498 runs), Bowling, 31.69 (270 Wickets) and 125 catches.

Posted by mumbaiguy79 on (July 10, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

Glad Imran Khan made it to the list. Best all rounder subcontinent has ever produced followed by Kapil. Great list Ashley!

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

How could Jacques Kallis not be on this list? What an embarrassment These old timers are stuck in the past.

Posted by RafaeldeNito on (July 10, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

I am surprised that you didn't consider Wicket-Keeper Batsmen as Allrounders. For me, Adam Gilchrist deserved a place in this list.

Posted by aashishcalla on (July 10, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Surprising the Jacques Kallis' name isn't anywhere in the article, let alone in the best 5 !!

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Good choices, but i ll prefer, Kapil over Proctor, though i m from Pakistan. I think Imran should come before Miller, right beside Sobers...... !

Posted by Joji_ on (July 10, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Talking of allrounders and no mention of Kallis!! Incredible!

Posted by Pacelikefire_Samrat on (July 10, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

Nice Pice Ashley,nice choice.In my opinion Sir Garfield Sobers was the greatest cricketer ever;no other cricketer has been blessed with such natural talent.Who else can score a century battling a massive hangover or who else could have oozed the same amount of charishma as he did?It was said about him that,"When he walked to the crease,though he rapidly scurried it always had a hint of laziness".Keith Ross Miller would always be the greatest poster boy of cricket.Who else would have the audacity to defy the don?Remember his reluctance to bat and thus deliberately getting bowled in the 1948 invincibles tour?what a character!Players these days,half as talented as these guys were,strut their stuff,do some crap,get picked for ads and think they are the greatest ever.India has a host of riches to boast of in the MBA range(Mediocre But Arrogant)-Harbhajan,Sreesanth,Rohit,Pathan(Both of them),Munaf.The list goes on and on.Guess we will never see the likes of Miller again,praying we would ....

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

Sports is felt, its like a generation thing, iam sure all these cricketers were great all rounders, i haven't seen them in live matches, so i will speak of what i saw, my top 5 are - Jaques Kallis, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chris Cairns, Abdur Razzak and Shahid Afridi

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

a list without kallis is absolute tripe...delete this article..shame..

Posted by mikey76 on (July 10, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

This won't cause any controversy at all!! Jaques Kallis is the most obvious omission, I wouldn't pay to watch him but he is only just behind Sobers as the games second best all-rounder. You just can't argue with his stats.

Posted by HadleeCrowe on (July 10, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

like all the pics bar botham ... over-rated player whose stats show that... remembered for performances on one test series and one test in particular... A lazy cricketer who barely tried on tours of n.z.

Posted by David_Boon on (July 10, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

Sorry Ashley, I stopped reading after the first paragraph. Sobers may be the greatest 'all-rounder', but Bradman is the greatest overall cricketer. To even insinuate otherwise is sacrilege.

Posted by Cric_Wiz on (July 10, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

I believe Jack Kallis is one of the greatest all rounder. One of the best bats man in his era, he is also a good fast bowler. Fielding was excellent.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

Definitely the best all rounders! Didn't get a chance to see them all but have surely seen Imran and Botham go toe in toe against each other! I would also add Wasim Akram to the list. Amazing talent with the ball and not so bad with the bat either!

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:09 GMT)

Sobers ..... Imran ..... Botham ...... perfect choice ........ but man where is Wasim Akram .......

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

Sobers, Kallis, Imran, Hadlee, Botham

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

Would definitely put Jacques Kallis in before Mike Procter

Posted by spinkingKK on (July 10, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

I haven't read the article completely. Because, when I scrolled down, there was no Kapil Dev. If you are talking about the cricketers who bowled, batted and also fieled exceptionally well, Kapil must be there. Out of the 5 you have mentioned, I have only seen Imran Khan playing. Imran, eventhough an inspirational leader, wasn't a good fielder. He often refused bend down to pickup the balls. I wasn't a great supporter of Kapil when I watched him play. May be because, I have been watching a Kapil who lost his bowling mojo. However, I know he has taken 8 or 9 wickets in an innings against the aussies. He could have just played for India for just his fielding alone. When he played, he was second only to Gavaskar in batting, second only to Azharuddin in fielding and he was leading the bolwing attack.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

I don't know much about the old cricketers Like Bradman, Gary Sober, Mike Procter or many other greats of cricket. But I have heard from many other senior cricketers/commentators about Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham that these guys were greats of their time.......... and this is true

Posted by dales543 on (July 10, 2012, 3:40 GMT)

I suggest you get round to seeing someone called Jacques Kallis. You probably haven't heard of him he has got 12,379 runs in Tests and 11,498 ODI runs at an average of 56.78 and 45.26 respectively. To go with 276 Test wickets and 270 ODI wickets. As well as over 300 catches in international cricket.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2012, 3:40 GMT)

Quite a good selection, I must say. But I think you forgot about another SA great Jacque Kallis and even Shaun Pollock wasn;t any less allrounder.

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