Versatility is one of the most desired aspects that a cricketer is expected to possess. It is a captain's dream to have a player in the team who is ready to carry out any task that is asked of him. This can vary from a bowler being asked to do a job with the bat and vice versa or a batsman playing in different positions.
The history of cricket has several examples of cricketers who have been flexible enough to bat for their country at numerous batting positions. There are also some who have batted at all eleven positions whereas a few others who have occupied ten.
Let's take a look at 5 players who have batted in the most number of positions in Tests:
5. Ravi Shastri (India)
Former Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri has always been known to be a versatile individual both on and off the field. While he played the role of an all-rounder for the Indian cricket team during his playing days, he took up commentary and also carried out the responsibility of being the team director for the national team.
Shastri represented India in 80 Tests between 1981 and 1992, scoring close to 4000 runs at an average of just under 36. He was a floater in the batting line-up and batted from numbers 1 to 10 in the order. The only position that Ravi Shastri did not play in during his career was the No. 11 position.
For most of his career, the all-rounder batted at the No. 6 spot but enjoyed a greater level of success at the top of the order.
4. Nasim-ul-Ghani (Pakistan)
Nasim-ul-Ghani is an all-rounder who played for Pakistan from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. He made his debut at the age of 16 and was the youngest cricketer to play Test cricket at the time. Post his retirement, the former Pakistani player served as a match referee, a national selector and an ICC development officer for brief periods of time.
Ghani was never really a prominent batsman but has the distinction of batting in 10 different positions for Pakistan. Although he did play as an opener in 2 innings, he was never at the striker's end and so he never batted at No. 1 in the team's batting line-up.
Among the different positions that he batted in, Nasim-ul-Ghani was mostly seen at the No. 8 spot, a position that he occupied in 15 out of the 50 innings he played.
3. Syd Gregory (Australia)
One of the earliest cricketers to have played the game, Syd Gregory represented Australia in 58 Tests over the span of a 22-year career. The right-handed batsman scored more than 2000 runs for his team with 4 centuries and a top score of 201. He played a large percentage of his cricket against England, 52 Tests in all.
Gregory was the first ever batsman to have come in to bat at all 11 positions during his career. Although he was predominantly a middle-order batsman, the Aussie played in the top order as well as the lower order. In 34 Test innings, he batted at No. 5 and scored 835 runs including a couple of hundreds.
Syd Gregory's only double ton, though, came when he was playing at the 6th spot in the Australian batting order.
2. Wilfred Rhodes (England)
Former England all-rounder Wilfred Rhodes is among the first few greats of the cricketing world. Not only was he an accomplished left-arm spinner, he also was a regular contributor with the bat during his playing days. In an international career which lasted 31 years, Rhodes played 58 Tests and scored 2325 runs at a 30-plus average.
The right-hander played for England in all eleven positions as a batsman. Rhodes spent most of his career opening the batting for his country and had a tally of 1469 runs at numbers 1 and 2. Apart from that, he was seen most at the No. 10 position in the line-up where he batted in 15 innings.
1. Vinoo Mankad (India)
Although Vinoo Mankad is remembered most for the infamous mode of dismissal named after him, he was certainly one of Indian cricket's earliest superstars. An all-rounder by trade, Mankad played for India in 44 Tests between 1946 and 1959. He had a run tally of 2109 runs at an average of 31.47 with 5 centuries to his name.
Mankad's primary role in the Indian batting line-up was that of an opener and he played 34 innings at the No. 1 position where he scored all of his hundreds. The other spot which he occupied for the most number of times was No. 8, where he played in 10 innings. Vinoo Mankad is the only Indian player to have batted in all 11 positions.