There was a time when cricket was a game of specialists, even the role of wicket-keeper was to keep the wickets only. However, with the advent of white ball cricket and coloured uniforms transformed cricket overnight. Not only did the uniforms and the colour of the ball changed, but also the approach. Limited over format, forced teams to select players who could add value to the team with both bat and ball. Every team starting looking out for all-rounders and hence names like Ian Botham and Imran Khan started getting traction from selectors. Hence, it is very difficult to form a team of greatest all rounders of all times. However, we have tried our best.
Here is a team comprised of all-rounders who could take down any opposition and is the dream all-rounders XI.
1. Sanath Jayasuriya
Sanath was known for his destructive playing style during his career. He was an accomplished left-handed batsman and a handy left-arm spinner, who could swing the ball both ways. Although Jayasuriya’s performances were initially inconsistent. Yet he gradually improved and introduced a new style of attacking cricket. In the 1996 ODI World Cup, he came out all gun blazing from ball one.
The idea was to benefit from the 15 over fielding restrictions. He successfully executed the plan and helped his team lift the trophy. He has over 13000 runs in ODIs. Moreover, Sanath was also a partnership breaker, he could also roll over his arm when the team needed him.
2. Shane Watson
Shane Watson is one of the most under-rated all-rounder of all time. He has played a formidable role in Australia’s success. Watson debuted in 2002, and hence was unable to secure a permanent spot in the star-studded Kangaroo line-up. And, it was not until 2010’s that he finally made a place for himself in the playing XI.
Watson was particularly good against spin. He frequently went on the back foot and smashed spinners over midwicket. Paddle sweep was his another go-to shot against spin. He was also a handy medium-paced bowler, who has over 150 wickets and 5000+ runs in one-day internationals.
3. Jacques Kallis
Kallis is arguably the greatest all-rounder of 21st century. His batting stats are compared to that of great Sachin. And, his bowling stats could give even the finest bowlers a run for their money. He has over 250 wickets and 11500 runs in ODIs.
Statistically he is the greatest all-rounder of all times. He has won his team numerous matches both with bat and ball. Hence, he was an automatic choice for this team. No team of all-rounders would be complete without this South African maestro.
4. Yuvraj Singh
Most of the cricket fans remember Yuvi for his heroics in 2007 T20 and 2011 ODI World Cup. Who can forget those six sixes to Broad in the inaugural T20 WC. Yuvi, however is one of the finest all-rounders produced by India lately. He was smartly used by Indian captains Ganguly and Dhoni. He has over 8000 runs and 100 wickets in ODIs and hence is included in this team for his match winning performances in crunch matches.
5. AB de Villiers (Wicket keeper)
This for many would come as a surprise, but is there anything on cricket field that MR360 cannot do. He can bat, roll over his arm and can also keep wickets. So how can we ignore him for this team. In ODIs he has an astounding average of over 53.
He alone changed the complexion of the game with his 360 degree stroke play. Fans could still not believe that he hung up his boots and is no longer active in the game. But AB is and will always remain a class act. Moreover, above all, he is a complete team man, you give him a role and he’ll go all lengths to fulfill it.
6. Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib has not even retired from international cricket yet, and has attained the status of the greatest Bengali cricketer of all time. He is one of the most sought after players in T20 leagues majorly because of his exceptional all-round abilities.
He has over 5000 runs and 90+ wickets in one day internationals. Shakib has maintained a healthy average of over 35, which is quite remarkable for someone like him who bats in the lower middle order. He would surely add depth to this remarkable team.
7. Shahid Afridi
One simply cannot make a team of all-rounders and keep Pakistani great Shahid Afridi out of it. On his day, he was a match winner. He had the potential of changing the game in few overs, with both bat and ball. Moreover, he used to strike cricket ball like he was taking out some anger on it.
He has hit most number of sixes in one-day internationals. Afridi also has around 400 wickets and could play at any number for the team. He was a true match winner and hence he is an automatic choice for the team.
8. Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff is one of the most underutilized all-rounder of his time. He was a force to reckon with during his peak time from around 2005-2008. Flintoff averaged 32 with the bat and also had 169 scalps in one-day internationals. He had some attitude issues and had to take retirement early. However, he is still considered one of the most impactful English all-rounder of 21st century.
9. Kapil Dev (Captain)
Kapil Dev is the best all-rounder to come out of India. He was also a great leader, who led from the front and helped the team lift the trophy. Kapil was a revolutionary, as he used to score quick runs in an era when even in one-days, strike rates were more often than not around 65. He ended his career with a strike rate of 95. He would also captain this phenomenal team.
10. Ian Botham
It would be unfair to formulate a team of all-rounders and leave the greatest English all-rounder out. Botham had a great career, he was a fierce competitor, who liked to play attacking cricket. He is also part of ICC Hall of Fame. Botham has over 2000 runs and 145 wickets in one day internationals.
11. Imran Khan
Imran Khan is arguably one of the finest cricketer produced by Pakistan. He was a great bowler who would bamboozle the opposing batters with his lethal in swingers. He was also a dependable batter, especially during the twilight of his career. Khan played a crucial role with the bat and helped Pakistan lift the World Cup for the first time. He would be a great addition to the team.