Friday, 4 November 2011

All-rounders: The Batter v The Bowler - The Past

Ok, the title is slightly cryptic, but the basic point is simple. I'm bored so I'm going to imagine the great all-rounders (and some not so great, some not so all-round) bowling at themselves. Who will win out of Sobers the bowler, and Sobers the batsman? Botham the bowler and the batsman? You get the idea.

Garry Sobers
The greatest all-rounder of all time is probably the best place to start, and it's not an open and shut decision. The batsman has the gravity defying test average of 57, and the bowler the relatively modest average of 34, albeit with 235 test wickets. His status as a bowler is enhanced by his versatility, he could open the bowling at a brisk fast-medium then come back later on bowling left arm orthodox or chinaman.
The Verdict: The batsman would get an enterprising and brilliant hundred, but his wicket would ultimately fall to himself... the batsman edges it.

Ian Botham
Another tricky one, England's finest all-rounder was at his peak one of the most destructive batsmen and bowlers in the world, in the first half of his test career - spanning 51 tests - he averaged 38 with the bat and 23 with the ball. This version of Botham would smash centuries then run in and knock better batsmen than himself over.
The Verdict: The batsman would smash a quick-fire 20 before edging to slip trying one too many ambitious shots... the bowler gets it

Richard Hadlee
A slightly easier one here, Hadlee the batsman was hard hitting and decent for runs in the lower order, but Hadlee the bowler ended up with 431 test wickets, and troubled even the greatest batsmen of his era.
The Verdict: The bowler gets the batsman early on then proceeds to rip through the rest of the line-up/

Imran Khan
Whilst Botham started his career brilliantly and tailed off with age, Imran Khan just got better and better. In his last 10 years of test cricket - spanning 51 tests - he averaged 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball, stats that even beat the great Sobers. At his pomp it's almost impossible to tell whether batsman would beat bowler so...
The Verdict: I simply don't know, it just comes down to who has the better day.

Kapil Dev
The first, and only great Indian all-rounder, Kapil Dev was the fastest bowler India had ever produced and even when he slowed, the best fast bowler India's ever had. Add that to a very competent batsman, who averaged 31 and scored 8 test hundreds and you have a man who would have been regarded as the best all-rounder in the world in almost every other era than the one he played in.
The Verdict: The stats point to the bowler, and I have to agree, but not until after the batsman's scored a quick 40 odd... the bowler gets it.

Next time, the best all-rounders of the present and closer past... don't wait up!

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