Ranking the Best All Rounders in Cricket History

Sports are all about giving it your all, it’s a matter of pushing your limits to be a better version of yourself and help your team win always. In cricket, scoring runs is equally as important as saving them. A batsman on a good day can blow the bowling attack out and set a massive total, on the other hand, a bowler can single-handedly rip through the opposition's batting lineup. A good fielder too, can change the course of the game by taking a brilliant catch or inflicting a runout out of nowhere. But when you club all these qualities of a batter and a bowler and a fielder, you get an elite all-rounder in cricket who can do it all at the highest quality.

In cricket, an all-rounder is a player who always gives it all for the team. An all rounder is the biggest asset a team can have. Be it scoring those important runs or picking up crucial wickets for the team. How well a cricket team does on the ground depends upon the quality of the all rounders that they have in the team. There have been some players, who have stepped beyond just being the a team’s most important asset, and these players have dominated the sport at the world stage and got us all thinking, how is that even possible? I am talking about some of the greatest all rounders in cricket history, Kapil Dev, Sir Gary Sobers, Jacques Kallis, Yuvraj Singh and many more. 

In this chapter by ZAP, let’s look at the top 10 best all rounders in cricket history. 

Who is the best all rounder in the world?

Sir Garfield Sobers: The Greatest All Rounder in History

Sir Garfield Sobers Batting

Credit: Cricview

The West Indian side was a true masterclass in the 1980s. Some of the greatest cricketers in history, including Sir Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, and Brian Lara, were born in the Caribbean. But, no player was more dominant than Sir Garfield Sobers.

Sobers was one of the toughest batters to bowl to and was the toughest opponent they ever faced. Sir Don Bradman, one of the greatest batsmen of all time and the player with the highest ever batting average in cricket called Sobers a 5 in 1 player because he excelled at everything, just leaving wicket keeping aside. He is the highest ever ranked player in the ICC All time All Rounder Rankings. 

Jacques Kallis: The Best all Rounder of All time in all formats

Jacques Kallis plays a backfoot punch in an ODI for South Africa

Credit: India Today

Kallis without a doubt is the greatest all rounder of all time. He transformed the South African team into a force to be reckoned with during his career. As the ultimate all-rounder who could have played for any side in any period of the game, Kallis was truly a gift to cricket. His stats are astounding and unmatched, and he served as the standard for many players on all teams with his performance. In addition, Kallis was a gentleman who always played fairly and maintained his composure throughout his illustrious career.

Kapil Dev: India’s Best All Rounder

Kapil Dev plays a flick shot while batting

Credit: Hindustan Times

Kapil Dev, one of the greatest Indian cricketer ever is third on the list. From Ravi Shastri to Mohinder Amarnath, from Ravindra Jadeja to Ravichandran Ashwin and from Irfan Pathan to Hardik Pandya, India has produced some of the best all rounders throughout history. However, no one has ever been able to replicate what Kapil Dev did for the Indian team.  

Kapil Dev had a 16-year stellar international career and was a true all-rounder who could win games with both the bat and the ball. He was a tremendous asset to team India who played a crucial role in their 1983 world cup triumph.

Kapil's career is intriguing since he played the most of his cricket on flat pitches in the subcontinent, where we know that these surfaces had not produced a lot of fast bowlers, but Kapil bagged over 400 wickets through his career, which truly was a remarkable achievement.

Imran Khan - Pakistan’s best Captain:

Imran Khan celebrates by lifting the ICC 1992 ODI Cricket World Cup trophy

Credit: News18

Imran Khan is another legend on the list of the Greatest All-Rounders of All Time. Imran served as the inspiration for the Pakistani team's skilled and courageous style. In spite of all the difficulties, he saved the Pakistani squad from being eliminated early in the competition and motivated his country to win the World Cup in 1992. 

He was an all-around player who was a natural leader. At his finest, Imran was without a doubt the world's fastest bowler, and made life difficult for batters. He quit bowling, though, after sustaining a number of major injuries in cricket, and frequently played as a pure batter for the team. That is how skilled he was across the board.

Ian Botham:

Ian Botham from England Cricket Team bowling

Credit: Scroll.in

The legendary Englishman, Ian Botham is next on the list. The greatest honour that Botham has received was for his valiant efforts in the 1981 Ashes series that came to be known as "Botham's Ashes," which saw England defeat Australia 3-1. He scored 399 runs at an average of 36.27, with two centuries, while taking 34 wickets at an average of 20.58, including three fifers.

Along with Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, and Kapil Dev, Ian Botham was one of the top all-rounders of his time. Botham could have joined the English team at that time either as a star batsman or a bowling expert.

Shaun Pollock:

Shaun Polloack follows through after bowling a delivery

Credit: Sportskeeda

Pollock, a bowling all-rounder who was for a time among the world's most reliable bowlers and was also capable of breaking in with the bat, is widely regarded as one of the greatest South African cricketers of all time. In general, it was difficult to score runs off of his bowling because he bowled so efficiently and perfectly according to the pitch conditions. Pollock could deliver a consistent performance with the bat as a batsman, but couldn't covert his starts and only ever managed to get to two centuries. His batting average, though, is still 32.31, which is comparable to Andrew Flintoff, Ian Botham, and Kapil Dev.

Andrew Flintoff - England’s Finest:

Andrew Flintoff celebrates with the Ashes Urn

Credit: talkSPORT

England's greatest player of the 2000s, Andrew Flintoff, or Freddy Flintoff is next on this list. Freddy was a fantastic fast bowler with a top speed of almost 140 Kmph. With his devastating and quick pace, Flintoff bamboozled many of the best batsmen of his day. Even the best batsmen were helpless against his swinging Yorkers, which made watching him bowl a delight. He could also clear the ropes at will and was a powerful batsman. He is best renowned for his master blaster heroics during the 2005 Ashes series, which saw England win the Ashes for the first time since 1986/87. This series exposed the Kangaroos, who entered the cricket arena with the constant title of "best in the world."

Sanath Jayasuriya - Best All Rounder in ODIs:

Sanath Jayasuriya plays a pickup shot to send the ball out of the park while batting

Credit: Sportskeeda

Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka's most flamboyant player, is next on our list. Early in his career, Jayasuriya was a sluggish left-arm orthodox bowler, but he eventually worked on his batting techniques to improve as a hitter for the Lankans. Jayasuriya became a well-known all-rounder as a result of his consistent batting improvement over time. In ODIs, Jayasuriya was the one who changed the definition of the opening batsman. During the powerplays, smacked bowlers all around the ground. His lofted drives over the infield in the past ruined the reputation of the new ball bowlers. He destroyed nearly every bowler of his time.

Shahid Afridi - Best All Rounder from Pakistan:

Shahid Afridi does his trademark celebration after picking up a wicket

Credit: Sportskeeda

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's best ever, is next on our list of the Greatest All-Rounders of all time. He is regarded as one of cricket's biggest power hitters. He was given the nickname "Boom Boom" by former Indian cricketer and cricket commentator Ravi Shastri because of his aggressive and attack-oriented batting style. 

Afridi was a productive all-rounder known for his reliable leg-spin bowling that depended more on pace than spin, but his aggressive batting style garnered more attention. In his first ODI innings against Sri Lanka in 1996, he scored a century in just 37 balls, setting a record that stood for 17 years and catapulting him into the international stage. He kept up his crazy hitting prowess, finishing third in cricket history with an ODI strike rate of 117+. Along with Chris Gayle and Rohit Sharma, he is third on the list of cricketers with the most sixes.

Ben Stokes - best cricket all-rounder in the world right now:

Ben Stokes roars as he celebrates an innings for the ages after beating Australia at Headingley in the Ashes Series

Credit: ZEE5

Ben Stokes, one of the best all-rounders in the world right now, is England's most useful player across all three formats of the game. The 31-year-old bats as well as he bowls, and he has the ability to break vital partnerships while bowling. He can even bat against the finest bowling lineups. Ben Stokes has been given the nickname of "Clutch-Player"- a player who performs when the team requires it the most. Three times—in the 2021 T20 World Cup Final, the 2019 Headingly Test match against Australia, and the 2019 Cricket World Cup Final, he saved the team. He is current England Test Captain has a long way to go in his international career.

Who is the Best All Rounder in T20 Cricket Format?

T20 cricket has taken the world by storm and all-rounders are the most important players in any team in the shortest format of the game. Having an all rounder in the team in this format is like having a bonus player who can do the job of 2 players together. They can bat and score valuable runs for the team in the death overs and come in as a bowler to pick important wickets at any moment. There are so many players who can be stated as the greatest all rounders in cricket in T20I format history like Hardik Pandya, Andre Russel, Keiron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Shadab Khan and many more. But there are some players who have been more valuable than other, both with the bat and the ball.

Here are the top 5 best all rounders in the T20 cricket format:

Player

Matches Played

Runs Scored

Highest Score

100s

50s

Wickets

Best Bowling

Shane Watson

58

1462

124*

1

10

48

4/15

Shakib al Hassan

117

2382

84

0

12

140

5/20

Ravindra Jadeja

64

457

46*

0

0

51

3/15

Glenn Maxwell

100

2275

145*

4

10

39

3/10

Dwayne Bravo

91

1255

66*

0

4

78

4/19

Shane Watson:

    Shane Watson raises his bat and helmet to celebrate his first t20I century versus India

    Credit: SportsAdda

    Shane Watson: The former Australian cricket player easily deserves being on the top spot on the list of the best T20I all-rounders of all-time.  In the T20 format, his explosive batting, efficient medium-pace bowling, and superb fielding abilities make him a complete package and was a key component of Australia's T20I sides. He also showed his worth in the shortest format of the game with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, winning the tournament in 2018 as the man of the match in the finals. 

    Shakib Al Hasan:

      Shakib Al Hassan plays a big hit in the T20I Cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan

      Credit: Hindustan Times

      Shakib Al Hasan from Bangladesh is one of the most underrated cricket player in the world. He has silently made a name for himself as one of the best all-rounders in both, the ODI and T20 format. Leaving the fact that he is infamous for on field antics, his contributions with both the bat and ball on the field cannot be understated. Shakib has a great bat and bowling combination and has regularly produced game-winning performances. In addition to his impressive strike rate and batting average, he can take wickets with his left-arm spin when it matters most.

      Ravindra Jadeja:

        Ravindra Jadeja shows an unbeliveable fielding effort in the deep and throws the ball towards the pitch

        Credit: Sportskeeda

        Arguably one of the greatest all-rounders in the history of Twenty20 cricket is Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja has put in a tonne of effort to demonstrate his ability to compete on an international level. Ravindra Jadeja is a left-handed batter with a left-arm orthodox bowling technique. More than his bowling and powerhitting abilities, he is praised for his exception fielding. He has played 64 T20 internationals for India and has 457 runs with the bat and 51 wickets with the ball. 

        Glenn Maxwell:

          Glenn Maxwell plays a reverse sweep in a T20I game against India

          Credit: SportsAdda

          Glenn Maxwell is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and entertaining all-rounders in T20 cricket. His explosive batting, effective off-spin bowling, and acrobatic fielding make him a valuable asset to any team. Maxwell is known for his aggressive and unorthodox batting style, capable of hitting boundaries all over the ground. He possesses a wide range of shots, including his trademark reverse sweeps, switch hits, and scoops, making it difficult for bowlers to set fields against him. Maxwell's bowling skills are often underestimated, but he is a more than handy off-spinner. His ability to control the flight and spin the ball makes him a threat to batsmen, especially in the middle overs.

          Dwayne Bravo:

            Dwayne Bravo celebrates a wicket in a T20I game

            Credit: Wisden

            Dwayne Bravo’s was one of the main players of the West Indies Team and the Chennai Super Kings. He won 2 ICC T20 World Cup Trophy with his nation and his all round ability, both as a bowler, batter and fielder is what every team would crave for. He was a master of deception and fast bowling variation, possessing a lethal combination of pace, accuracy, and control. His ability to bowl yorkers, slower balls, and cutters makes him a difficult bowler to read and score off. He was particularly effective in the death overs, where his ability to restrict runs and take wickets has been crucial for his teams' victories. Though his bowling overshadowed his batting, he could come in an hit sixes whenever his team required. He is a hard-hitter who can accelerate the scoring rate in the middle overs and finish innings with a flurry of boundaries.

            FAQ:

            Who is best all-rounder in cricket history?

            Sir Garfield Sobers from West Indies and Jacques Kallis can be considered two of the greatest all rounders in the history of the sport.

            Who is India’s best ever all rounder?

            India has produced some great players who could bat and bowl equally well, like Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin but if there’s one player who has defined generations with his talent and contribution to the Indian Team, it has to be the former captain Kapil Dev.

            Who is the best all rounder in ODI Cricket format?

            Sanath Jayasuriya changes the way openers approach batting in the powerplay overs and his medium pace bowling got him a lot of wickets in the one day format. His contributions to the Sri Lankan team are nothing short of extraordinary and he is the best all rounder in One Day International Format.

            Now that you have read about some of the best all rounders in cricket, here are some articles we recommend reading about to know more about other legendary players:

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