1. Vinoo Mankad
Vinoo Mankad was probably the finest all-rounder of the era that is known for the likes of the Pataudi’s and Gavaskar’s. An attacking batsman who was extremely versatile and was made to keep changing batting positions depending on the need of the team.
As a batsman, Mankad scored 2109 runs at a healthy average for that time of 31.47 from the 44 matches he played for India. He was also more than handy bowler and as he took 162 wickets with his left arm slow spin. Mankad would often be the go-to man for skippers for his wily craft and sharp gaming tactics.
He holds the record of the only bowler to have taken 34 wickets in a series with two consecutive matches with 10+wickets. His highest individual score stands at an whooping 231 that was a record at his time and his batting heroics also include the world famous opening partnership of 431 with little known Pankaj Roy.
2. Manoj Prabhakar
Prabhakar may have had a very scandalous career before and after retirement but no one can question the value he added to the team during his playing days. The man mostly remembered for having mastered the art of reverse swing, something that the likes of only Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram were proficient at that time, the medium pacer took 97 wickets for India at the Test arena at an economy of 37.50 and 157 wickets in ODIs.
His bowling armoury included of quick bouncers, deceptive slower balls and menacing out-swingers that made him a highly regarded bowler at the World stage. As a batsman, Prabhkar was more than a useful lower order ODI batsman having scored nearly 1800 runs at an average of 24 and often used as an opener in Tests as he scored 1600 runs at an average of 32.65. He was also a part of the Indian team in as many as 3 World cups before his unceremonious exit.
3. Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri may be a popular figure for his commentary antics but at his time, he was an exceptional talent and a huge asset for the Indian team. A part of the World cup winning team under Kapil Dev and having being elected the Champion of Champions In the 1985 World Championship of cricket were the highlight of his career.
Shastri was a versatile batsman with an exceptionally strong defensive technique. He played 80 tests and 150 ODI’s for the country and scored 3830 and 3108 runs respectively. As far as his bowling is considered, he has taken 151 and 129 wickets in Tests and ODI’s respectively with his slow left arm orthodox bowling.
He may not have been the biggest turner but with his immaculate line and length as well as variations he was extremely successful in foxing batsmen. Shastri captained India in only one test and led the team to victory with his crafty thinking and changes.
4. Kapil Dev
The Wisden Indian player of the Century, captain of the 1983 World cup winning team, ICC Hall of Fame member and arguably one of the finest all-rounder to have played the game, Kapil Dev was a revelation to Indian cricket, something which comes once in a lifetime.
From underdogs, he was the architect of the aura of fear that the Indian team enjoys today. The only player to have scored more than 5000 runs and taken 400+ wickets in Test cricket and with 253 ODI wickets, the medium pacer and right handed batsman was the captain of the Indian team for the period of 1982-84 and again in 1985-86.
He was an extremely attacking batsman and a menacing bowler with an army of yorkers and could swing the ball both ways. His finest innings which is often considered the innings of the century came against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup when coming in at 9 for 4, he scored a breath-taking 175 to play the rescue act along with tail ender Syed Kirmani.
Many would consider it a little too early for considering his as one of the best all-rounders of the Indian side but Ashwin has proven to be amongst the finest players of the game. With 100+ wickets from only 18 Test matches which is also a World record as well as 95 wickets in ODI’s, Ashwin has soon developed into India’s first choice spinner in all formats of the game.
His bowling arsenal revolves primarily around the variations he possesses like the carom ball or the slower off breaks. Primarily a bowling allrounder, Ashwin has proven his dependability with the bat as well. He may not have scored too many runs yet with only 770 and 447 runs in Tests and ODI’s but what is exceptional about him is that in spite of batting lower down the order at no 7, he has maintained a batting average of 40+ which includes 2 Test centuries.
His batting technique, temperament and ability to hang on has come in for a lot of praise from all quarters and has given him the tag of being an genuine all-rounder who can be counted upon in adverse circumstances.