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Horses for all courses


No.1- WG Grace (FC-1865-1908, Test-1880-1899)

One of the most recognizable beards in cricket, WG Grace was the sports first true superstar. The sheer impact he had on the game transcends numbers and the longevity of his career is mind-boggling. Considering the paucity of Tests played during his era, his international record is not spectacular but in a first-class career that spanned 43 years it is inconceivable that any of the Good Doctor’s records would be broken.

Tests - 22 matches, 1098 runs @ 32.29, 100s - 2, 9 wickets @ 26.22

FC - 870 matches, 54211 runs @ 39.45, 100s - 124, 2809 wickets @ 18.14, 5WI - 240

No.2- Wilfred Rhodes (FC-1898-1930, Test- 1899-1930)

Another County veteran, Wilfred Rhodes was not the prima donna that Grace was. A dour professional who served Yorkshire and England for over 3 decades, Rhodes quietly went about his business. Whether it was accumulating runs anywhere in the order to picking up bagful of wickets with his left arm spin. In his 32 year career, Rhodes played more first-class matches and picked up more first-class wickets than anybody else.

Tests - 58 matches, 2325 runs @ 30.19, 100s - 2, 127 wickets @ 26.96, 5WI - 6

FC - 1110 matches, 39969 runs @ 30.81, 100s - 58, 4204 wickets @ 16.72, 5WI - 287

No.3 – Gary Sobers

Cricket fans are an argumentative lot but few would quibble when I say that Sobers is the greatest all-rounder of all time. Here was a man who could do anything on a cricket ground and do it brilliantly. Hitting six sixes in an over, scoring 365* as a 21 year old, winning matches with the bat and ball, Sobers did it all. Surprisingly he got a
duck in his lone ODI innings.

Tests - 93 matches, 8032 runs @ 57.78, 100s - 26, 235 wickets @ 34.03, 5WI - 6

FC - 383 matches, 28314 runs @ 54.87, 100s - 86, 1043 wickets @ 27.74, 5WI - 287

No.4 Jacques Kallis

The greatest all-rounder currently playing, Jacques Kallis is literally and figuratively a giant of the modern game with the stats to match. As a batsman Kallis ranks amongst the all-time greats, being a mind-boggling run machine and the anchor around which the South African innings is based. It is a testament to South Africa’s pace attacks that a bowler of his ability has been under-utilized but he occasionally chips in with a few wickets here and there.

Tests - 145 matches, 11947 runs @ 57.43, 100s - 40, 270 wickets @ 32.01, 5WI - 5

FC - 235 matches, 18299 runs @ 55.28, 100s - 57, 405 wickets @ 31.12, 5WI - 8

No.5- Keith Miller

Keith Miller was Australia’s greatest all-rounder and certainly one of their greatest ever players. An all-rounder in every sense of the term, Miller also played Aussie Rules Football professionally and was a WWII fighter pilot. He played the game with uncomplicated flair, being a powerful strokemaker and a surprisingly wily fast bowler. Add that to his laidback nature and it’s not surprising that Miller was a unanimous crowd favorite.

Tests - 55 matches, 2958 runs @ 36.97, 100s - 7, 170 wickets @22.97, 5WI - 7

FC - 226 matches, 14183 runs @ 48.9, 100s - 41, 497 wickets @ 22.30, 5WI - 16

No.6- Adam Gilchrist

Few cricketers can claim to have changed the game and Adam Gilchrist belongs to that select bunch. Prior to his debut, keepers could justify their place in a side on the keeping ability alone. Gilchrist changed all that. On top of that he thrashed bowlers at a strike-rate of 81, destroying whatever what left of the opposition after the top
order had finished thrashing them. A small stat illustrates the Gilchrist effect, during his 96 Tests, Australia scored runs at a brisk run-rate of 3.73, post his retirement they were going at a more sedate 3.32.

Tests - 96 matches, 5570 runs @ 47.6, 100s -17, 379 catches, 37 stumpings

FC - 190 matches, 10334 runs @ 44.16, 100s -30, 756 catches, 55 stumpings

No.7- Ian Botham

Beefy was supreme on field, with either bat or ball and well…an interesting character off it. If the literature surrounding it is to be believed the 1981 Ashes was the single greatest moment in the history of cricket. That series established the Botham legend but there was more to him than that one series and his figures itself. For much of his career he was the beating heart of English Team, leading his side to victory mostly through his performances but many a times through his personality. Since his retirement, England has spent a lot of time searching for “the next Botham”, maybe it’s time they realize there can be just one.

Tests - 102 matches, 5200 runs @ 33.54, 100s - 14, 383 wickets @28.4, 5WI - 27

FC - 402 matches, 19399 runs @ 33.97, 100s - 38, 1172 wickets @ 27.22, 5WI - 59

No.8- Imran Khan (Captain)

A man with monstrous ability, Imran Khan was the glue that held a usually volatile Pakistan team together and molded them into world beaters. His numbers stack up amongst the very best but as captain, they transform in superhuman realms. In 48 matches as captain, Imran averaged 52 with the bat and 20 with the ball including
once taking 14 wickets and scoring a century while leading Pakistan to victory. It is as a bowler though that he was at his deadliest and uncovered the 2 Ws during his tenure. The 92 world cup win just added to the aura.

Tests - 88 matches, 3807 runs @ 37.69, 100s - 6, 362 wickets @ 22.81, 5WI - 23

FC - 382 matches, 17771 runs @ 36.79, 100s - 30, 1287 wickets @ 22.32, 5WI - 70

No.9- Kapil Dev

One stat probably illustrates Kapil’s impact on Indian cricket. In the 3 decades before his debut only 22% of India’s deliveries were bowled by pace bowlers and since his debut it has doubled to 44%. In pitches created to destroy the faster men, Kapil thrived and even held the record for most Test wickets. With the ball, he was the workhorse who would put in the hard-yards but with the bat, he was the destroyer personified. An uninhibited dasher, Kapil had a Test strike-rate of around 81 and an ODI strike-rate of 95. He launched into bowlers with wanton disregard for reputation, pitches or the match situations. There also was this matter of the 1983
World Cup too.

Tests - 131 matches, 5248 runs @ 31.05, 100s - 8, 434 wickets @ 29.64, 5WI - 23

FC - 275 matches, 11356 runs @ 32.91, 100s - 18, 835 wickets @ 27.09, 5WI - 39

No.10- Mike Proctor

Another unfortunate member of a hugely talented bunch of cricketers who had their careers cut short due the sporting ban on South Africa, Mike proctor had to display his wares at the domestic levels in England and South Africa. He did manage to have an international record though although the numbers do not do him justice. Famous for having a wrong-footed action, he racked up runs and wickets in the relative anonymity of First-class cricket. Like Barry Richards, his talents belonged to a stage beyond what was afforded to him.

Tests -7 matches, 226 runs @ 25.11, 100s - 0, 41 wickets @ 15.02, 5WI - 1

FC - 401 matches, 21936 runs @ 36.01, 100s - 48, 1417 wickets @ 19.53, 5WI - 70

No.11- Richard Hadlee

An Atlas amongst the mortals, Richard Hadlee had to bear the burden of being the best player his country has ever produced and the only one who could bring them to victory. New Zealand failed to win a single Test out of the 14 that he missed in his career and he took 35% of New Zealand’s wickets even though he bowled just 27%
of their deliveries. After starting his career as an all-out speedster, he cut down on pace for accuracy and then he polished his batting to a level good enough to join his contemporaries Imran, Kapil and Botham amongst the great all-rounders of 1980’s. He also played his last match for New Zealand as Sir Richard Hadlee.

Tests - 86 matches, 3124 runs @ 27.16, 100s - 2, 431 wickets @ 22.29, 5WI - 36

FC - 342 matches, 12052 runs @ 31.71, 100s - 14, 1490 wickets @ 18.11, 5WI - 102

12th Man – Vinoo Mankad

Like Hadlee, Vinoo Mankad played in a team where victory was a rare occurrence to be celebrated not expected. Although he played alongside illustrious team-mates like Polly Umrigar and the Vijay’s, Hazare and Manjrekar, it was a period of individual brilliance alongside collective mediocrity and subsequently he was on the winning
side only 5 times out of 44. A batting average of 113 and bowling average of 13 in victories suggests he had a huge role to play in those matches. He did everything in power to help his team’s cause from bowling an average of 55 overs per match to batting everywhere in the order, setting the record for highest opening stand to
running out the batsman during his delivery stride.

Tests - 44 matches, 2109 runs @ 31.47, 100s - 5, 162 wickets @ 32.32, 5WI - 8

FC - 233 matches, 11591 runs @ 34.70, 100s - 26, 782 wickets @ 24.53, 5WI - 38

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