The focus on something or someone shifts when a very dominant entity leaves to make way for the others to occupy their place. Now that Tendulkar, Kallis, and Ponting have left the game of cricket, the world is finally recognising batsmen like the Virat Kohlis and the Ian Bells who are currently among the best in their spots. Same goes for all-rounders. Kallis is an example here as well as he dominated this sphere of cricket so much that the term had almost become synonymous with his name. Even now that he is retired, when somebody says ‘all-rounder’, and you get the picture of the South African in your mind, much like one imagines Sachin or Lara for batting.
That said, there are quite a few amazing all-rounders, who feature in the game today. Here is a compilation of the 5 most effective ones today based on their performances and fitness levels. A couple of them are relatively new in international cricket, but they sure have the potential to play their role with both bat and ball, when their teams require, for a long time to come.
5. Corey Anderson
This new sensation has taken everybody by surprise. There was never a doubt about his batting capabilities looking at his performances in the first class cricket. Whether he would be as effective on the international stage was answered early this year when he smashed the fastest ODI ton ever. That has made him a player that all teams will watch be watching out for, whenever they are up against the Kiwis.
The left-hander even has a Test ton to his name which came last year against Bangladesh. It is still early days for him, but he certainly looks like one who can do wonders for his team. He currently bats at no.6 for New Zealand, averaging 37 in Tests and 62 in ODIs.
He bowls left-arm medium pace and has 11 Test wickets to his name in just 5 games. His best 3/47 came against the West Indies at Hamilton; in a game that the Kiwis won comfortably by 8 wickets. His medium pace adds a new dimension to the pace-dominant attack that the Kiwis currently have, and he has shown the knack of picking up wickets, thus, emerging as a viable bowling option.
It is up to the team management to figure out a perfect role for him from which he can win matches for them. The 23-year-old looks good to represent his country in all formats and can certainly be expected to become one of the best all-rounders in coming years.
His recent exploits with the bat against England in the ODI at Brisbane earned him a guard of honour welcome from his teammates after he hit the winning runs. It is now almost made certain that Australia now have a great all-rounder at their disposal. One might think that his services may not be required with the bat considering that he bats at no. 8 or 9, but he has shown that he is no novice with the bat and has done great for his team on more than one occasion.
We all know how his left-arm pace and variations in bowling have been successful in getting wickets. He has 6 wickets from the only Test match he has played and, to add that, 30 ODI wickets from 22 games. But his record with the bat is equally impressive. He averages over 50 in ODIs, and can be relied on to deliver in the most crunch of situations that prevail at the time when he goes out to bat.
His 116 against India while chasing 383 was no ordinary innings – he almost caused a great upset with Clint McKay in a 115 run-stand for the 9th wicket – before both of them fell when Australia still needed 58 to win.
He is a very good batting prospect down the order for the Aussies and irreplaceable in the pace attack. He can be expected to be a part of the Aussie team for a good part of the future, and that too in all formats. His finishing skills with the bat make him a very versatile player and have helped the Australians more than once before. He just has to stay fit and continue in the way he has so far.
The Sri Lankan skipper has been a consistent all-rounder for Sri Lanka and has done well from the time he burst onto the international scene in 2008. An explosive batsman down the order and a key medium-pace option for his side, he has often proved to be an asset for his team. Now that he has become the captain he has an added responsibility and an added pressure to do well.
He has led Sri Lanka to some amazing finishes with the bat in limited over games. His Test record is also impressive considering the fact that he is an explosive batsman and is most often required for fast scoring to finish games. He has over 2000 Test runs at an average of over 40 that includes 2 hundreds and 13 fifties. He became the youngest Test captain of Sri Lanka, at an age of 25, a year ago.
His energy on the field is another thing to look up to. He generally fields just near the boundary line and has produced outstanding bits of fielding and saved runs and got wickets for his team. He has proved to be an irreplaceable cog in the Sri Lankan wheel. Now that he is the leader of the side, he has to make sure the youngsters are groomed well and a strong squad is built for the upcoming ODI World Cup next year.
One of the more experienced players that Pakistan has, Hafeez has been incredible in performing the role of an all-rounder in the side. The 33 year old bats usually at no.3 and averages above 30 in both Tests and ODIs. As regards his bowling, he bowls off-spin; something which he has been very effective in by keeping things tight and getting crucial breakthroughs. He has claimed over 100 wickets in ODIs with an outstanding economy rate that just touches 4.
He is also among one of the better fielders in his side. He had an incredible 2011, wherein he performed brilliantly with the bat and the ball and got as many as 10 Man of the Match awards.
He has also done well in the shortest format of the game; having played 54 matches and scored over 1200 runs and taken close to 50 wickets. He has established his place in all three formats for his national side.
It will be very difficult to replace him when he retires because his attacking capabilities at the top of the order and his control with the ball are skills which will not be found easily in a single player. He recently got consecutive hundreds against Sri Lanka when the two sides played each other in the UAE. His present form and his abilities easily make him one of the best all-rounders in world cricket today.
There are few words that can describe how awesome a player he is, and how well he led Bangladesh before the change of leadership. He has had a major contribution in revamping Bangladesh cricket and making it reach where it is today. Be it his captaincy, his batting, or his bowling – no other all-rounder (except probably Kallis) in his age comes even close to the contribution he has made for his national team.
He is without a doubt one of the finest cricketers and gentlemen of the game. He is among the top 5 in the rankings of all-rounders in all formats of the game and is the only Bangladeshi to feature here.
He first became captain at an age of 22 replacing the injured Mortaza. He exhibited excellent captaincy skills which resulted in him continuing as captain, and the Bangladeshis played some amazing result-oriented cricket under his leadership.
He is just 26 now and has a long career ahead of him. As a senior in the team, he will have the role of helping the new talent that enters the team. As far as the youngsters go, they will only be too happy to get guidance from someone like him.
As far as statistics go, he averages above 35 in both Tests and ODIs and has over 2000 and 3000 runs respectively in the formats. His bowling economy is just over 4 in ODIs. As far as T20s are concerned, he has 33 wickets from just 26 games with an impressive strike-rate of 17.
He is one of the calmest characters on the field. His best bowling performance was 7/36 against New Zealand at Chittagong. There is a lot to be learnt from the kind of player that he is, and he may well be the greatest all-rounder at the time he says goodbye to the game.