Thursday, January 22, 2009

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - the All-rounders

Having tackled the openers and the middle-order kings, here are the terrific ten who most definitely ‘can bat, can bowl’ – the Hall of Fame all-rounders.

Richie Benaud
Tests: Highest Rating 532 (1959), Highest Ranking 1st (1957-1960). 53 matches at number 1
He may best be known as the doyen of television commentators, but in his time he was a fantastic captain, not to mention a superb all-rounder. His bowling was good enough to give him the Australian Test record for wickets when he retired, as well as a brief week-long stay on top of the bowling tree in 1959. With the bat in his hand he smashed a 78-minute Test century at Kingston in 1955 and peaked at number 13 four years later.

Ian Botham
Tests: Highest Rating 646 (1980), Highest Ranking 1st (1978-1984). 120 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 469 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1980). 4 matches at number 1
For a five-year period from 1978 to 1983 he truly dominated the world game, spending a large proportion of that time on top of the Bowling charts as well as the all-rounder list. His batting wasn’t bad either, peaking at 811 batting points after his double-century against India at the Oval in 1982, which put him third behind only Viv Richards and Allan Border. He was less effective in One-day cricket, but still managed to muscle Greg Chappell out of top spot for a six-month period in 1980.

Kapil Dev
Tests: Highest Rating 433 (1981), Highest Ranking 1st (1992-1994). 73 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 632 (1985), Highest Ranking 1st (1983-1994). 655 matches at number 1
No-one has come close to Kapil’s 655 matches on top of the ODI all-rounder list – his nearest challenger is Jacques Kallis some two hundred matches behind him. In addition, his 632 points has never been bettered – indeed no-one else has reached higher than 569. He was the leading Test wicket-taker on his retirement and managed a lengthy spell on top in the longer form of the game late in his career, despite his home pitches rarely giving him the same help they gave his spinning colleagues.

WG Grace
Tests: Highest Rating 207 (1890), Highest Ranking 3rd (1892)
He was a true colossus of the game, and is so even now nearly a century after his death. The scorer of England’s first Test century spent two matches on top of the batting world way back in 1880, and for most of his career he was one of the most recognisable faces in the country. However, his bowling was little-used in his Test career and he ended with only nine wickets in his twenty-two Tests. His career record of 54,896 runs and 2,876 first-class wickets over the course of 44 seasons has stood the test of time and the combination of both have not been threatened by any all-rounder since his day,

Richard Hadlee
Tests: Highest Rating 483 (1987), Highest Ranking 1st (1984-1989). 133 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 471 (1986), Highest Ranking 1st (1983). 10 matches at number 1
Hadlee’s career ended in such a peak of form that in his last 39 Tests, his bowling Rating never dropped below 862. Without the presence of Malcolm Marshall at exactly the same time, he surely would have spent more than his 127 matches as the top Test bowler. His bowling was his stronger suit but he did manage to reach the top ten in the ODI batting charts early in his career, before reaching the top spot in the bowling table in 1983 and not moving far from there until his retirement seven years later.

Imran Khan
Tests: Highest Rating 518 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1983-1992). 104 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 480 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1990). 1 match at number 1
Only two men have ever reached higher Test bowling Ratings than Imran’s 922 which he achieved after his forty wickets in the 1982/83 series with deadly rivals India. Having debuted in 1971 his bowling peaked once he had matured, but his highest Batting Rating was achieved the month before his retirement. Arguably most famous for captaining Pakistan to their World Cup win, his brief stay as the number one all-rounder in One Day Internationals lasted just two days.

Keith Miller
Tests: Highest Rating 573 (1952), Highest Ranking 1st (1947-1956). 134 matches at number 1
Having been taught maths at school by former Australian captain Bill Woodfull, he was surely destined for greatness. Only two men have spent more matches rated as the number one Test all-rounder than Miller, and his all-round skills dominated the decade following the Second World War. His powerful hitting enabled him to reach the world’s top ten batsmen in 1952, and he actually topped the bowling chart for the two matches which immediately preceded ‘Laker’s match’ in the summer of 1956.

Wilfred Rhodes
Tests: Highest Rating 309 (1913), Highest Ranking 2nd (1905).
His slow left-arm spin took him to the top of the bowling pack early in his career after he took fifteen Australian wickets at Melbourne in early 1904. From then on it was his batting which took over and he shares England’s first-wicket Ashes record partnership with Jack Hobbs – also set at Melbourne. That innings helped him to reach number four in the world just before the outbreak of the First World War. He had a record 31-year Test career and his 4187 first-class wickets will never be beaten.

Garry Sobers
Tests: Highest Rating 669 (1966), Highest Ranking 1st (1962-1974). 213 matches at number 1
Once he took over from Alan Davidson in 1962 no-one managed to dislodge him from the number one spot for all-rounders until his final Test twelve years later. He spent a further 189 matches at the top of the batting tree and for the last decade of his career, he only spent one match outside the top ten bowlers. It is easy to understand why he was the dominant force in world cricket for so long and his peak all-rounder Rating of 669 is the best-ever.

Frank Woolley
Tests: Highest Rating 349 (1913), Highest Ranking 1st (1930). 6 matches at number 1
Only Jack Hobbs scored more first-class runs than Woolley, but the Kent left-hander also managed to take more than two thousand wickets and over a thousand catches. Both his batting and bowling were good enough on their own to take him into the top three for each skill at various points of his career. However, he finally reached the top spot for all-rounders at the age of 42 after taking nine wickets at Wellington during England’s tour of New Zealand in 1930.