All-time ODI all-rounders XI?
All-rounders are the backbone of any side.
There are no better heroes in cricket than genuine all-rounders who can swing matches in their team's favour with their batting or bowling. Being an all-rounder is probably the hardest job as it requires one to be adept at more than one skill.
While a top-notch all-rounder can be of immense value in any format, his importance multiplies manifold in limited-overs cricket. A great all-rounder is often worth more than one player in the team. Ever wondered what a team filled only with all-rounders looks like? Here is our 'all-time ODI allrounders XI.'
As one would expect, the top-order and the middle-order are dominated by all-rounders whose primary skill is batting and the rest of the lineup is filled with those whose strong suit is bowling.
#1 Sanath Jayasuriya
In the first five or six years of his career that began in 1989, Sanath Jayasuriya did not set the stage on fire and seemed to be no more than a 'bits and pieces' cricketer. But, the 1996 World Cup changed everything for him.
Throughout the tournament, Jayasuriya along with his opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana, launched all-out attacks against the bowlers in the first 15 overs, exploiting the fielding restrictions to the hilt.
His belligerent batting made the world of cricket stand up and take notice of the pocket-sized Lankan dynamo. The daredevil approach of the duo not only played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka's victorious campaign but also revolutionized the role of openers in ODIs.
He was a very shrewd bowler and an agile fielder as well. In the middle overs, Jayasuriya tied the batsmen down with his left-arm finger spin and picked up wickets frequently. He is the only player in the history of ODI cricket to have achieved the double of 13,000 runs and 300 wickets. 'The marauder from Matara' will open the batting for our team.
#2 Chris Gayle
A typical modern-day batsman, Gayle biffed and battered his way to greatness. The coaches may always harp on the need to possess a 'sound technique' to achieve success, but with Gayle, technique plays second fiddle. His immense physical strength and simple 'see ball, hit ball' strategy neutralize any weaknesses in his technique. He battered the ball with so much power that even if he managed to get only half of the bat to it, it would still sail comfortably over the ropes for a six!
If someone grew up watching only T20 cricket and thought it was Gayle who was the 'God of Cricket' instead of Sachin Tendulkar, he could easily be forgiven.
There is always so much talk about his hard-hitting batting that his utility as a bowler often slips under the radar. With his fast off-spinners, he did a splendid job as a bowler. In 273 matches, Gayle scored 9394 runs at an average of 37.42 and a Strike Rate of 85.61. His 163 wickets came at 4.76 runs per over, which is a decent economy for a fifth bowler.