Quality all-rounders are invaluable to any team for their holistic ability to keep their side in the match. The final between India and New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) will be no different. Both sides have men who are more than capable of overturning the proceedings with more than one discipline.
Ahead of the India-New Zealand clash in Southampton, which starts on June 18, let us look at the top five ranked all-rounders who might play this match.
1. Ravindra Jadeja (India)
Age 32 | ICC Test Rank for All-Rounder: 3 (Points: 386)
It’s quite fitting that Ravindra Jadeja will enter this Test as the top-most ranked all-rounder. India are blessed to have a player of his ability who can turn a game on its head with his batting, bowling, and fielding.
In 2020, Wisden named Jadeja India’s most valuable Test player of the 21st century. He was rated as the second-most valuable Test player of his century worldwide, only behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan.
Jadeja broke his hand during the memorable Sydney Test in January and will make a return to the national side after five long months. He showed glimpses of his usual brilliance during the IPL 2021.
His rise as a batter will give India the confidence to go in with five specialist bowlers. At No.7, the team will rely a lot on his batting. Although Jadeja has good memories in England, especially the 2013 Champions Trophy and the 2014 Lord's Test, he will look forward to bettering his Test numbers in the country.
2. Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
Age 34 | ICC Test Rank for All-Rounder: 4 (Points: 353)
Over the past decade, nobody has won India more Tests than Ravichandran Ashwin. He has been exceptional since the Australia tour and will start the game as the first-choice spinner. However, he is back to being among the runs. From his match-saving effort in Sydney to turning the second Chennai Test against England with a sublime ton, Ashwin’s resurgence with the willow has been refreshing.
If India has to play five specialist bowlers, Jadeja and Ashwin’s batting will hold much importance. Especially considering their three pacers have limited batting abilities, resulting in a long tail.
3. Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand)
Age 26 | ICC Test Rank for All-Rounder: 6 (Points: 293)
Kyle Jamieson has had a phenomenal start to his Test career. His good showing in limited time made him a hot property in the IPL, bagging a contract of INR 15 crore with the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Standing at six-foot-eight, the all-rounder, who made his debut against the visiting Indians last year, is yet to fail in the longer format. With no experience playing a Test outside New Zealand, Jamieson will be banking on his fellow pacers for guidance.
Dismissing tail-enders has been India’s perennial weakness, and Jamieson will look to exploit the same with his batting lower down the order.
4. Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand)
Age 34 | ICC Test Ranking for Bowling: 8 (Points: 258)
Over the past five years, Colin de Grandhomme has emerged as one of New Zealand’s most important players. Batting lower down the order, he has made handy contributions at a brisk rate.
With the ball, he brings back the memories of New Zealand’s good days of dibby-dobbly bowling. He has been effective with his medium pace in New Zealand conditions, and there’s every reason that his medium pace will be effective in England as well.
5. Tim Southee (New Zealand)
Age 32 | ICC Test Ranking for Bowling: 11 (Points: 205)
Tim Southee’s debut Test at Napier in 2008 was for the folklores. He got a five-for, but he also belted nine sixes in New Zealand’s chase of 553. His 40-ball 77 not out couldn’t help the hosts win the Test or the series. Only Wasim Akram, Nathan Astle, Matthew Hayden and Wally Hammond had hit more sixes in a Test innings at that point in time.
In his 77-Test career, that 77 not out remains his highest score. He hasn’t fully justified his ability as an all-rounder, but time and again, he does contribute with the bat that helps him play decisive roles for the side.
He remains one of New Zealand’s key players with the ball. With 591 wickets across formats, he’s only behind Daniel Vettori (696 wickets) as the country’s highest wicket-taker. His ability to swing the ball away from the batters will make thiings difficult for India.