We have often heard the term - 'all-rounder' being coined several times but fail to see its truest sense. An all-rounder is a cricketer who performs consistently with both bat and ball.
Ideally, all bowlers must be able to bat and a few batsmen should be able to bowl occasionally. However, most of the players are what we call specialists, owing to their skills in either of the disciplines. According to the accepted norm, an authentic all-rounder is someone whose batting or bowling skills alone would be good enough to win a place in the team.
Delivering exuberant performances with both bat and ball requires tremendous physical ability and honing various other skills. In the history of cricket, there have been a few who can be considered weapons with both the ball and bat. Only a handful of players can claim their spots in this exclusive group, while only a fraction of these will go down the history books as being an all-time great.
With the advent of a number of T20 leagues all over the world, the era of specialist players seems to be dying a slow death. All thanks to the formats which demand players to contribute to more than one department of the game, the ‘bits and pieces’ cricketers are slowly making their presence felt.
Regardless of the format, an all-rounder is an asset to cherish for any team for he brings the much-needed balance to the squad and also adds a tinge of versatility to the bowling and batting department of the team.
Many a times in the past, great teams have regularly featured some quality all-rounders in their sides and these players have often proved to be the streak of difference. Since 1877, when the first Test match was played, only a few men have been able to do justice to this title.
Let us have a look at some of the greatest all-rounders in ODIs.