Arvind Iyengar

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World’s Best All-rounder: Shane Watson

Australia pulled off an important win against Sri Lanka at Galle in the first Test of the Warne-Muralitharan
series. A lot of guys played a part in the win - Hussey with his man-of-match
worthy 95 in the first innings, Lyon picked up 5-34 on debut, Clarke got an
attacking 60 in the second innings and Harris had a fifer in the final innings
to seal the victory. Another man with a major contribution was Shane Watson.

 

Five crucial wickets in the game which included breaking Sri Lanka's 4th
wicket partnership in the first innings by dismissing the first innings highest
scorers Samaraweera and Paranavitana which led to Sri Lanka losing their last 7
wickets for 18 runs. In the second innings, he got the big wickets of
Sangakkara and Matthews, the final nail in the coffin, to give Australia a
decisive victory. And on a low scoring pitch, he got a handy 22 runs on testing
day one conditions. His performances should come as no surprise though; Watto's
been Australia's
most consistent performer for the last couple of year now. In fact, he's been
one of the best in the world and is by far the best all-rounder in the game
today.

Here's a look at
the players who've got over 500 runs and over 20 wickets in the past two years.
It's a short list; a notable omission is Kallis whose bowling has taken a dip
due to a combination of injuries and poor form. The number to look out for in
this table is the batting average/bowling average ratio or the All-rounder
Ratio - the higher the number, the better the all-rounder.

 

Player

Mat

Runs

Bat Av

Wkts

Bowl Av

All-rounder Ratio

SR Watson (Aus)

17

1478

47.67

34

24.52

1.94

SCJ Broad (Eng)

19

568

27.04

68

28.45

0.95

DL Vettori (NZ)

11

675

33.75

42

37.33

0.90

Shakib Al Hassan (Ban)

8

538

33.62

31

37.9

0.89

Harbhajan Singh (India)

21

668

23.85

76

40.05

0.60

 

You can see it's
not really a contest, especially when Watson has the best batting and bowling
average on this list. Unless Kallis gets back to being a handy bowler or
Bresnan keeps up his current form with the bat and ball, you have to believe
Watson is going to be the game's elite all-rounder for a while.

 

What's truly
remarkable is to compare Watson's figures to some of the all-time greats. His
recent two-year run with an All-rounder ratio of 1.94 is pretty stellar; the
top four over the course of their career have a ratio in the 1.6-1.8 range.
Based on his overall career numbers and not just his recent purple patch, Watto
still fares pretty well with a 1.40 ratio that puts him ahead of Pollock,
Hadlee, Botham and Kapil Dev.

 

Player

Mat

Runs

Bat Av

Wkts

Bowl Av

All-rounder Ratio

JH Kallis (ICC/SA)

145

11947

57.43

270

32.01

1.79

GS Sobers (WI)

93

8032

57.78

235

34.03

1.70

Imran Khan (Pak)

88

3807

37.69

362

22.81

1.65

KR Miller (Aus)

55

2958

36.97

170

22.97

1.61

SR Watson (Aus)

28

1975

40.30

48

28.77

1.40

SM Pollock (SA)

108

3781

32.31

421

23.11

1.40

TL Goddard (SA)

41

2516

34.46

123

26.22

1.31

AW Greig (Eng)

58

3599

40.43

141

32.2

1.26

Sir RJ Hadlee (NZ)

86

3124

27.16

431

22.29

1.22

 

Of course, the
others have accumulated their numbers over the course of an entire career and
Watson's place in the pantheon of greats will be based on his ability to
sustain his form. But if he can keep going at his current rate, then you better
try and catch as many Watto performances as possible because you will be
witnessing something very special.

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