In the game of cricket the all-rounder brings a special value to the team. To contribute with the bat and then to do it again with the ball means the Captain always has an extra option to pitch in. The 1970s and 1980s saw 4 the emergence of 4 great all-rounder in the game of cricket. Such was their impact on the respective team that all 4 of them became the go to men for their sides and were revered by the fans. Let’s look back at the careers of those 4 men and their contributions to the respective teams.
4. Richard Hadlee
Hadlee is beyond doubt the finest cricketer ever that New Zealand has produced. A sensational fast bowler he also contributed effectively to the lower middle order give the then Kiwi side a much needed balance in the line up. Hadllee is the first ever bowler to cross the 400 wicket mark.
Hadlee played 86 test matches for New Zealand and scored 3000 plus test runs. He took 431 wickets in his test career. He also played 115 One day matches where he retired with 158 wickets as well as scoring more than 1700 runs. Perhaps the greatest regret of Richard Hadlee’s career was the inability to power his home side to a World Cup win, which the Kiwis have not done even to this date.
3. Kapil Dev
Kapil has deservingly been awarded as the Cricketer of the Century for India. The 1983 World Cup winning captain was the best ever all rounder India ever produced and one of the best ever in cricket history. The Haryana Hurricane was almost a complete cricketer who could bowl, bat as well as field well. His catch of Viv Richards in 1983 World Cup final is still regarded as one of the best catches ever that changed the course of the match.
Kapil finished his test career with 434 wickets in 131 test matches. He also got 253 ODI wickets for India. In the batting department Dev scored 5248 test runs and 3783 one day runs. He was well known as a match winner with both the bat as well as the ball in hand. In addition, Kapil also inspired his side to the World Cup success against the then mighty West Indies side.
2. Ian Botham
Beefy as he was famously called was the best ever Cricketer England ever produced. A genuine pace bowler and a hard hitting batsman Botham carried the much the burden of the English side on his shoulders. Botham’s heroics were on best display in the 1981 Ashes where he spearheaded England to a 3-1 series win against a mighty Aussies side. Botham would score 399 runs and pick up 34 wickets in that series.
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Botham scored 5200 runs and took 383 wickets in the 102 tests he played for England. In One day International Cricket he took 145 Wickets and took 145 wickets. Botham was the fastest ever Cricketer to take 100 test Wickets and score 1000 test runs, doing it only in his 21st test match.
1. Imran Khan
In an Era of the great all-rounders he was perhaps the greatest. He was an inspiring leader who led his side to a World Cup victory from the brink of ouster from the tournament in 1992. Wisden Cricket has regarded Imran Khan as the best all-rounder ever since Garfield Sobers. Imran was known as one of the fastest bowlers of the time when genuine pace bowling was more limited to the West Indian and Australian fast bowlers.
Imran played 88 test matches for Pakistan where he scored 3807 runs and took 362 wickets. He also played 175 ODIs taking 182 wickets and scoring 3709 runs. In the later stages of his career Imran faced repetitive shoulder injury issues and would limit himself to more of a batting all-rounder. Imran who is known as the Lion of Pakistan is also regarded as the best captain in Pakistan’s cricket history. He led his side to an inspiring victory in the 1992 World Cup after which he bid adieu to the sport.