Best All-Rounder of All Time

Garry Sobers from the West Indies is considered the best all-rounder of all time in cricket. Jacques Kallis, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Richard Hadlee are on the list.

Best All-Rounder of All Time
Umaima Saeed

Written by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-12-20

5 minutes read

All-rounders add an invaluable dimension to the game of cricket. Beyond the specialized skills of batsmen or bowlers, all-rounders master both facets of the sport, offering flexibility and depth to the team. All-rounders are pivotal in turning the tide of a match, contributing with the bat when the team falters and delivering crucial breakthroughs with the ball. Cricket history boasts an illustrious array of legendary all-rounders. Sir Garfield Sobers, hailing from the West Indies, is often considered the best all-rounder of all time. In no particular order, here's a list of the top 10 greatest all-rounders of all time. Let’s find out who is the best all-rounder of all time.

10 Best All Rounders in Cricket

Player Career spanMatchesRunsWickets
Jacques Kallis 1995 – 201451925534577
Sir Gary Sobers 1954 – 1974948032236
Imran Khan 1971 – 19922637516544
Kapil Dev1978 – 19943569031687
Richard Hadlee1973 – 19902014875589
Lance Klusener 1996 – 2004 2205482272
Ian Botham1976 – 1992 2187313528
Sanath Jayasuriya 1989 – 201158621,032440
Shaun Pollock 1995 – 20084237386829
Shahid Afridi 1996 to 201752411196541
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1. Jacques Kallis – South Africa

Jacques Kallis South Africa ODI Player.jpegJacques Kallis, widely regarded as one of the best all-rounders of all time, left an indelible mark on the sport during his illustrious career. As a batsman, Kallis displayed remarkable consistency, accumulating over 10,000 runs in both Test and ODI formats. Equally formidable with the ball, Kallis was a genuine all-rounder. His medium-fast pace deliveries troubled even the most accomplished batsmen and he ended his career with 292 Test wickets and 273 ODI wickets.

To date, Kallis is the only cricketer to achieve the double of 10,000 runs and 200 wickets in both Test and ODI cricket. He also holds the record for having the most Player of the Match awards in Tests (23). 

Kallis bid farewell to international cricket in 2014, marking the end of an era. 

2. Sir Gary Sobers - West Indies

Gary Sobers and Brian Lara.jpeg

Gary Sobers is another cricketer regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the history of cricket. Over a two-decade Test career, he amassed 8,032 runs, including a then then-world record of the highest Test score of 365*. Additionally, he claimed 235 wickets with a combination of medium pace and spin bowling. Sobers was also the first player to hit six sixes in a single over during a first-class match in 1968. He was also an excellent fielder.

 In 1974, after an illustrious international career spanning two decades, Sobers decided to retire from Test cricket. His farewell Test match, against England at his home ground in Barbados, marked the end of an era. Wisden named him one of the five cricketers of the century in 2000. Sobers was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975. 

3. Imran Khan - Pakistan

Imran Khan 1992 Cricket World Cup_1.jpg

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is considered one of the best all-rounders of all time in cricket. In Tests, he scored 3807 runs at an average of 37.69, while also picking up 236 wickets at an average of 17.77. His ability to generate pace and swing made him a formidable force on the field. In ODIs, he scored 3709 runs from 175 matches while also taking 182 wickets.

He was also a successful captain. The pinnacle of his captaincy came in the 1992 Cricket World Cup when Pakistan became world champions for the first time in ODI history. Khan played until 1992 and was later inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

4. Kapil Dev - India

Kapil Dev Bowling in ODI.jpeg

 

Kapil Dev, best remembered for leading the Indian cricket team to its historic triumph in the 1983 Cricket World Cup, is one of India's best fast-bowling all-rounders of all time. Kapil ended his Test career with 434 wickets in 131 matches. His best bowling figures in Test matches were 9 for 83 against the West Indies in 1983. His ability to swing the ball made him special. With the bat, he averaged 31.05 in the format.

In ODIs, Dev scored 3783 runs at an average of 23.79 and took 253 wickets. After announcing retirement in 1994, he served as the coach of the Indian team for 10 months. 

5. Richard Hadlee - New Zealand

Sir Richard Hadlee Bowling in Test.jpeg

 

Richard Hadlee was the first bowler to pick up 400 wickets in Tests. He also was the highest wicket-taker (431) in Tests at the time of his retirement. With the bat, Hadlee scored 3124 Test runs at 27.16, including two hundreds and 15 fifties. He amassed a remarkable tally of 36 five-wicket hauls in Test matches, alongside five in ODIs and definitely deserves a place in the list of best all-rounders of all time.

Recognizing his contributions, he was appointed MBE in 1980 for his services to New Zealand sport and later bestowed with a Knighthood in 1990 for his outstanding contributions to cricket.

6. Lance Klusener - South Africa

Lance Klusener ODI Batting.jpegLance Klusener did not have a long career but cemented his place in the list of all-time greatest all-rounders. In the 1999 World Cup, Klusener showcased peak performance, earning him the Player of the Tournament award. The southpaw scored 281 runs at an impressive average of 140.50 and a strike rate of 122.22. Additionally, he claimed 17 wickets at an average of 20.58.

His ability to contribute significantly with both bat and ball made him one of the best ODI all-rounders in cricket. Klusener was particularly impressive in ODIs. He hung up his boots in 2004 with a batting average of 41.10 and 192 wickets at an average of 29.95. 

7. Ian Botham - England

Ian Botham Batting in Test.jpegIan Botham's international career, spanning from 1977 to 1992, was marked by several milestones. His Test debut came against Australia in 1977, and it didn't take long for him to make an impact. In only his second Test, he showcased his talent by scoring a century and taking five wickets against India at Lord's, a feat that announced his arrival on the international stage. However, it was during the 1981 Ashes series that Botham etched his name into cricketing folklore.

He scored 5,200 runs in 102 Test matches at an average of 33.54, including 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries. As a bowler, he claimed a staggering 383 wickets at an average of 28.40, including 27 five-wicket hauls. In ODIs, Botham scored 2,113 runs in 116 matches at an average of 23.21 and took 145 wickets at an average of 28.54. He also held 120 catches across formats.

8. Sanath Jayasuriya – Sri Lanka

Sanath Jayasuriya ODI.jpegSanath Jayasuriya played a crucial role in Sri Lanka's victory in the 1996 Cricket World Cup and is known as one of the best ODI all-rounders in cricket. He was one of the standout performers of the tournament, showcasing his skills both as a batsman and a bowler and winning the Player of the Tournament award. His aggressive batting style at the top of the order and left-arm spin with which he chipped in with crucial breakthroughs, had a solid impact on limited-overs cricket during the 1990s and made him one of the best ODI all-rounders of all time.

He has scored the fifth-highest number of centuries in ODIs (28) and is also the 11th-highest wicket-taker in the format with 323 dismissals. Of the 440 international wickets he took, 323 came in the 50-over format. In Tests, he finished with 6,973 runs at an average of 40.07 and 98 wickets at an average of 34.34. Jayasuriya also served as the captain of the Sri Lankan team from 1999 to 2003.

9. Shaun Pollock – South Africa

Shaun Pollock ODI Bowling.jpegShaun Pollock made significant contributions with both bat and ball during his illustrious career from 1995 – 2008. Renowned for his accuracy, discipline, and ability to swing the ball both ways, he is South Africa's second-leading wicket-taker in Test cricket with 421 wickets. In addition to his bowling exploits, Pollock was a formidable lower-order batsman. Possessing a solid technique, he accumulated 3,781 runs in Test cricket and more than 3,519 runs in ODIs. He also picked up 393 wickets in the 50-over format.

Pollock, who captained the Proteas from 2000 to 2003, was part of the South African team that won the 1998 ICC KnockOut Trophy, the only ICC trophy the country has ever won. 

10. Shahid Afridi – Pakistan

Shahid Afridi Celebrating in ODI.jpeg

Shahid Afridi, who Initially started his career as a leg-spinner, transformed into an all-rounder after his record-breaking century in 37 balls against Sri Lanka. He established himself as one of the best ODI all-rounders in cricket His batting, characterized by powerful hitting and a fearless approach, made him a formidable force in limited-overs cricket. He scored 8064 runs in ODIs at an average of 23.57 and a strike rate of 117. With the ball, he picked up 395 wickets at an average of 34.51. 

In the shortest format, he batted at a strike rate of 150 in 91 innings and also picked up 98 wickets.

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Umaima Saeed

Umaima Saeed

Umaima Saeed is a professional sports writer whose articles have been featured in several leading websites. She writes long-form content on sports, particularly cricket. She has a penchant for telling human-interest stories. Umaima has contributed articles on cricket to more than a dozen publications, both in print and online.

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