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Thread: Evaluating the top all rounders of all time

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    SJS
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    Evaluating the top all rounders of all time

    There has allways been a debate not just on who is the best allrounder but even as to who qualifies as an all rounder. There is a school of thought that says that an all rounder is someone who could get picked in a team only as a batsman or only as a bowler. It sounds great but really would disqualify a lot of all rounders for a large part of their careers. I have tried to see an allrounder from BOTH his batting and bowling capabilities and after a lot of thought I felt the following criteria would be fairly comprehensive and logical.

    NO OF TESTS PLAYED : This is just to eliminate the fluke of a great performance in a very short career. I have taken here a 20 test (minimum) limit but for the earlier periods, a ten test limit should suffice. There could be extra ordinary cases of proven mettle but did not play minimum tests for various reasons. Mike Proctor is a great example.

    BOWLING CRITERIA : I find that the greates bowlers in history have been those not necessarily with THE lowest average (though their averages will be low) but those who take wickets regularly. Thus wickets per test is a very good criteria. The top bowlers in the history of the game have taken close to 4.5 or more wickets per test.

    Barnes with 7 tops the list. Murali the great wicket taker of today is at 5.85, Grimmett 5.84, Orielly 5.33, Lillee 5.1, Hadlee 5.0, Kumble and Warne 4.7, Marshall and Bedser 4.6, Donald and Trueman 4.58, McGrath, Tyson and Garner 4.5 and so on. I know the criteria could have also been strike rate which appears more accurate than this one but it is a bit unfair when considering bowlers of different typs. Slow bowlers will always have a much higher (inferior) strike rate to pacers.

    So I decided that for an all rounder a minumum of 2.5 wickets per test should be required to qualify.


    BATTING CRITERIA :

    I think rather than pure average, how often the allrounder makes a significant contribution to the total would be better criteria. I took any score above 50 to be such a score.

    The top batsmen get a fifty every 2.5 to 4/4.5 innings or so. To give an idea, this factor for some top batsmen is, Bradman (1.9), Hobbs & Barringtin (2.37), Walcott (2.55), Tendulkar & Richards (2.63),
    Woodful, Gavaskar, Dravid, Greg Chappell & Lara (2.7), Sobers, Miandad Border (2.9), Boycott, May Hammond (3), Gower, Umrigar, Ganguly (3.6), Jayasuriya and Arvinda 3.8, Vaughan and Zaheer Abbas 3.9.Mark Butcher, Carl Hooper etc take more than 4 innings per fifty.

    I think from an all rounder , who is also contributing with the ball, the team would expect a fifty (or more) every now and then which alongwith his 2.5 wickets or more per test would make him extremely valuable to the side. I have fixed a fifty plus innings every 8 innings or less as the criteria for being eligible.

    I also took as a criteria at least one score of three figures to show that he was not just a bowler who could smash his way to a fifty but a batsman who could stay long enough to get a big score.

    This left me with a list of 14 top all rounders from test history. Here they are in the order of number of tests played.

    NAME Mat
    Kapil 131
    Botham 102
    Sobers 93
    Imran 88
    Hadlee 86
    Pollock 85
    Benaud 63
    Cairns 62
    Miller 55
    Mankad 44
    Noble 42
    Goddard 41
    Giffen 31
    Durrani 29
    Faulkner 25
    Sinclair 25
    Gregory 24

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    SJS
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    Now here is the same list in the order of their ranking as per the batting criteria of number of innings per innings of fifty or more. Clearly the better batsmen (starting with Sobers) are on top.

    NAME..... Mat....... Runs...... HS......... 50......... 100....... Avg....... inns per 50 or more
    Sobers... 93......... 8032...... *365...... 30......... 26......... 57.78..... 2.86
    Gregory.. 24......... 1146...... 119....... 7........... 2........... 36.97..... 3.78
    Cairns.... 62......... 3320...... 158....... 22......... 5........... 33.54..... 3.85
    Faulkner. 25......... 1754...... 204....... 8........... 4........... 40.79..... 3.92
    Goddard. 41......... 2516...... 112....... 18..........1.......... 34.47..... 4.11
    Noble..... 42......... 1997...... 133....... 16......... 1........... 30.26..... 4.29
    Miller...... 55......... 2958...... 147....... 13......... 7........... 36.98..... 4.35
    Botham.. 102....... 5200...... 208....... 22......... 14......... 33.55..... 4.47
    Imran..... 88......... 3807...... 136....... 18......... 6........... 37.69..... 5.25
    Kapil...... 131....... 5248...... 163....... 27......... 8........... 31.05..... 5.26
    Durrani... 29......... 1202...... 104....... 7........... 1........... 25.04..... 6.25
    Mankad.. 44......... 2109...... 231....... 6........... 5........... 31.48..... 6.55
    Giffen..... 31......... 1238...... 161....... 6........... 1........... 23.36..... 7.57
    Sinclair... 25......... 1069...... 106....... 3........... 3........... 23.24..... 7.83
    Hadlee... 86......... 3124...... *151...... 15......... 2........... 27.17..... 7.88
    Pollock... 85......... 2932...... 111....... 13......... 2........... 32.58..... 7.93
    Benaud... 63......... 2201...... 122....... 9........... 3........... 24.46..... 8.08

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    SJS
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    Here they are again . This time with the listing as per the bowling criteria. Clearly the better owlers are on top. I have included the catches to give a complete idea of their all round capabilities.

    I think while my criteria is good enough for eligibility, if one were to rank them purely as bowlers or purely as batsmen, I would prefer the bowling and batting averages respectively as the prefered criteria.

    Now you can kill each other trying to prove who is a better all rounder
    NAME. Wkt....... 5w........ 10w....... Avg....... Ca......... Srk Rate. Eco rate per 100 balls........ Wkts/test

    Hadlee... 431....... 36......... *9......... 22.3...... 39......... 48.17..... 46.29....... 5.01
    Imran..... 362....... 23......... *6......... 22.81..... 29......... 51.48..... 44.31....... 4.11
    Pollock....349....... 16......... *1......... 21.4...... 65......... 54.90..... 38.99....... 4.11
    Benaud... 248....... 16......... *1......... 27.03..... 65......... 65.98..... 40.97....... 3.94
    Botham.. 383....... 27......... *4......... 28.4...... 120....... 55.60..... 51.08....... 3.75
    Mankad.. 162....... 8........... *2......... 32.32..... 33......... 88.50..... 36.52....... 3.68
    Gregory.. 85......... 4........... *0......... 31.15..... 37......... 60.78..... 51.26....... 3.54
    Cairns.... 218....... 13......... *1......... 29.4...... 14......... 53.65..... 54.80....... 3.52
    Giffen.... 103....... 7........... *1......... 27.1...... 24......... 75.05..... 36.10....... 3.32
    Kapil...... 434....... 23......... *2......... 29.65..... 64......... 63.92..... 46.39....... 3.31
    Faulkner. 82......... 4........... *0......... 26.59..... 20......... 51.53..... 51.59....... 3.28
    Miller..... 170....... 7........... *1......... 22.98..... 38......... 52.80..... 43.51....... 3.09
    Goddard. 123....... 5........... *0......... 26.23..... 48......... 86.21..... 30.42....... 3.00
    Noble..... 121....... 9........... *2......... 25......... 26......... 60.16..... 41.56....... 2.88
    Durrani... 75......... 3........... *1......... 35.43..... 14......... 85.94..... 41.22....... 2.59
    Sobers... 235....... 6........... *0......... 34.04..... 109....... 87.63..... 38.84....... 2.53
    Sinclair... 63......... 1........... *0......... 31.68..... 9........... 59.10..... 53.61....... 2.52

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    Hall of Fame Member superkingdave's Avatar
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    IMO the criteria lend more to bowling all rounders than batting ones, if you were to lower the qualification to 2 wickets per match, it would give a better indication. Alternatively raise the qualification for batting to 1 in 6 innings. It seems harsh to leave out those such as Kallis who average over 2 wkts per match, Yet would appear second on the batting list, while including Sinclair and Durani

    Interestingly Flintoff just misses out on your list, but he would make 5th on the batting list were he to be included, his bowling is currently just over 2 a match. Given his poor start to his career, take out the first 10 and he averages a score of at least 50 every 3 innings and 2.67 wickets per match
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  5. #5
    Just to give a starting order to debate with, here I've multiplied the number of 50s per 15 Tests by wkts per Test.

    ............. Bat ... Bowl . Score
    Gregory . 3.97 .. 3.54 .. 14.1
    Cairns ... 3.90 .. 3.52 .. 13.7
    Sobers .. 5.24 .. 2.53 .. 13.3
    Botham.. 3.36 .. 3.75 .. 12.6
    Faulkner. 3.83 .. 3.28 .. 12.6
    Imran.... 2.86 .. 4.11 .. 11.8
    Goddard. 3.65 .. 3.00 .. 11.0
    Miller..... 3.45 .. 3.09 .. 10.7
    Noble..... 3.50 .. 2.88 .. 10.1
    Hadlee... 1.90 .. 5.01 .. 9.5
    Kapil...... 2.85 .. 3.31 .. 9.4
    Mankad.. 2.29 .. 3.68 .. 8.4
    Pollock... 1.89 .. 4.11 .. 7.8
    Benaud.. 1.86 .. 3.94 .. 7.2
    Giffen.... 1.98 .. 3.32 .. 6.6
    Durrani... 2.40 .. 2.59 .. 6.2
    Sinclair.. 1.92 .. 2.52 .. 4.8

    I guess it depends on your definition of all-rounder but I'd personally have some wicket-keepers up there like Andy Flower and Gilchrist.

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    International Debutant a massive zebra's Avatar
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    There was a detailed analysis of this in Charles Davis' book 'The Best Of The Best'.
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    Hall of Fame Member superkingdave's Avatar
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    given Scaly's rankings Kallis comes in at 10.7 and Flintoff 8.3 (if you exclude his first 10 tests he ranks 13.6)

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    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by superkingdave
    IMO the criteria lend more to bowling all rounders than batting ones, if you were to lower the qualification to 2 wickets per match, it would give a better indication. Alternatively raise the qualification for batting to 1 in 6 innings. It seems harsh to leave out those such as Kallis who average over 2 wkts per match, Yet would appear second on the batting list, while including Sinclair and Durani

    Interestingly Flintoff just misses out on your list, but he would make 5th on the batting list were he to be included, his bowling is currently just over 2 a match. Given his poor start to his career, take out the first 10 and he averages a score of at least 50 every 3 innings and 2.67 wickets per match
    Yes. One could do that. The list would become longer of course.

    Incidentally once in 6 innings as a qualification for batting is too much for an all rounder in my opinion.

    I think generally not worse than 50%(maybe 55) of what we would expect from a very good specialist should be the criteria for an all rounder. Which means if 50 is an average for a top batsman then 25 should be an acceptable average for an all rounder (mind you its the minimum acceptable). If 4-4.5 wkts per test is what we expect from top bowlers, then 2-2.5 wkts per test must be the cut off for all rounders.

    I think those who average 50(55 by todays standards) are to be treated at par as specialists ith bowlers who average 5 wickets per test. Needless to say there is no exact science in these things. One can merely go by what a top, medium and average performer is getting in each field.

    As far as Flintoff is concerned, I dont thibk leaving out anyones bad phase, even if it is at one end (particularly the early end) of their career. Every one has these, some at the beginning, some at the end and some in the middle. Any such exclusions would be arbitrary and would appear an attampt to fit in one's favourites. Flintoff has a long way to go and one has to watch how his career pans out.

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    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaly piscine
    Just to give a starting order to debate with, here I've multiplied the number of 50s per 15 Tests by wkts per Test.

    ............. Bat ... Bowl . Score
    Gregory . 3.97 .. 3.54 .. 14.1
    Cairns ... 3.90 .. 3.52 .. 13.7
    Sobers .. 5.24 .. 2.53 .. 13.3
    Botham.. 3.36 .. 3.75 .. 12.6
    Faulkner. 3.83 .. 3.28 .. 12.6
    Imran.... 2.86 .. 4.11 .. 11.8
    Goddard. 3.65 .. 3.00 .. 11.0
    Miller..... 3.45 .. 3.09 .. 10.7
    Noble..... 3.50 .. 2.88 .. 10.1
    Hadlee... 1.90 .. 5.01 .. 9.5
    Kapil...... 2.85 .. 3.31 .. 9.4
    Mankad.. 2.29 .. 3.68 .. 8.4
    Pollock... 1.89 .. 4.11 .. 7.8
    Benaud.. 1.86 .. 3.94 .. 7.2
    Giffen.... 1.98 .. 3.32 .. 6.6
    Durrani... 2.40 .. 2.59 .. 6.2
    Sinclair.. 1.92 .. 2.52 .. 4.8

    I guess it depends on your definition of all-rounder but I'd personally have some wicket-keepers up there like Andy Flower and Gilchrist.
    I know. I have not included keepers in this only because it is difficult to directly compare keeping all rounders with others. I suppose one could have a separate ranking for keeping all rounders.

    Incidentally, there is a tendency in the game to ignore the fourth kind of specialist in the game - the fielder specialist. I hope the game starts recognising their contributions too. People like Solkar, Marc Taylor, Bob Simpson are also all rounders in a way. But thats another debate.

    I intend to put a factor, a numbering system to the criteria to rank the all rounders. It will be here soon

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    International Regular Beleg's Avatar
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    One's performance as a captain, while excelling with both ball and bat adds another dimension to the defination of an all-rounder.

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    International Regular Steulen's Avatar
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    I have acually taken your descriptive data and are working on several ranking systems to see who's the best . I'll get back to you. does anyone know how to load a scatterplot into a post?

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    SJS
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    OK. I have taken the suggestion made regarding inluding bowlers with a 2 wkt per match rate.

    Here they are with points awarded for batting and bowling. I can explain the point system, its pretty simple.

    Here they are listed (left to right) in order of total points.
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    This chart shows them in the order of their batting points (left to right). As can be seen the batting all rounders like, Sobers, Kallis, Faulkner, Tony Greig and Oram are on the left and bowling all rounders like Benaud, Wasim, Tate, RWV Robins and Hadlee are on the right.

    Minumum criteria has been made as 4 points in each area which corresponds to 1.9 wkts per test and an average of 20 in batting. All of them have at least 1 test century. It was very interesting to note that for the top 300 bowlers, the wkts per test corresponded very accurately to their bowling average(runs per wicket). I was amazed at the extremely close co-relation.
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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    I know. I have not included keepers in this only because it is difficult to directly compare keeping all rounders with others. I suppose one could have a separate ranking for keeping all rounders.
    But how do you rank Keepers?
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