India’s production of quality all-rounders is relatively much lesser than batsmen and bowlers. Reliance on top-order batsmen and spin bowlers was Indian cricket’s mantra throughout history. However, the IPL is providing high hopes and interesting prospects to the all-rounder department but to what extent is something we should wait and watch. Though the amount of quality Indian all-rounders are few, there is no shame in saying that those few are exceptional talents even at the international stage. Here we present our ranking for the top 10 best Indian all rounder of all time.
Top 10 Indian all rounders list
Indian all rounders: Lala Amarnath
Best all rounder in India: Yes, one of the first batch of Indian cricketers feature in this list and it’s the first Indian Test centurion. Though we have less access to the cricket matches that happened during the pre-independent era, Lala Amarnath is a popular name for us. He is also the first captain of independent India. In 24 test matches, Amarnath scored 878 runs and took 45 wickets. Recognized as one of the first Indian all-rounders, Lala Amarnath’s contribution to the team and for Indian cricket is indelible.
Indian all rounders: Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan had the hype of being the next Kapil Dev during the initial phase of his career. A brilliant left-arm bowling all-rounder who could swing the ball both ways came into the Indian side and made an immediate impact. He became the first Indian bowler to take a test-hattrick in the first three balls of a test match. Discovering his ability to hit quick boundaries late in the innings, he was an obvious choice to play India’s victorious 2007 T20 World Cup and even awarded the Man of the Match award in the final. When Irfan was signed for Kings XI Punjab in the first IPL season, a mountain of expectations was on him. But his IPL career never boomed and a steep decline in form caused his international career too.
Indian all rounders: Hardik Pandya
India’s best all rounder: One of the best all-rounders in world cricket right now. Hardik Pandya arrived in the 2015 IPL season without having any first-class experience. Mumbai Indians, the franchise which is known for the introduction of surprise players presented the skinny T20 specialist who can bowl medium pace and has explosive power behind his bat. Hardik Pandya gained attention in his first-ever IPL season earning him a place in the 2016 T20 World Cup Squad. He and his elder brother, Krunal Pandya is now inevitable for Mumbai Indians. Hardik Pandya did prove his worth in the Indian jersey by the lone-warrior innings played at the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. As of now, Hardik Pandya stays at 8th position in our list but he surely has the potential to rise up to the top.
Indian all rounders: Manoj Prabhakar
India’s best all rounder in cricket: Arrived as a right-arm medium pacer, Manoj Prabhakar made his international debut in 1984. He wasn’t used much as a strike bowler but an economic one to build pressure on the opposition. Yet, he bagged a total of five 5-wicket hauls in his career across Test and ODI formats. He got 96 wickets from 39 Test matches and 157 ODI wickets from 130 matches. At the later phase of his career, Prabhakar’s batting skill became overt when he scored a total of 20 half-centuries and three centuries. Towards the end of his career, he became a controversial figure accusing his captain Azharuddin for match-fixing.
A more expressive all-rounder than his father Lala Amarnath, Mohinder was known for his comeback performances. Being one of the key players in the 1983 World Cup success, he was named as the Man of the tournament and was also the Man of the match in the semifinal against England. Starting as a medium-fast bowler, the way he transformed himself to become a fine top-order batsman was phenomenal. He has an amazing batting average of 42.5 in tests and 30.54 in ODI cricket. With 13 international centuries and 37 half-centuries, Mohinder Amarnath was one of the best of his time.
The all-rounder in and off the pitch. That’s the apt way to describe Ravi Shastri. In a way, he revolutionized the game against its flow. While batsmen started being quicker at scoring runs, his defensive technique and the subsequent result of getting big scores against big opponents worked well for him. He was a right-handed batsman who bowls left-arm orthodox, one of those rare bunch of players. But at times, Ravi Shastri became so much brutal to go on and hit six sixes in an over against Baroda. Quite impressive stats of 3830 runs with 151 wickets in test cricket and 3108 runs along with 129 wickets in ODIs speak for himself. He also proved proficient in coaching and commentary.
Everyone remembers Vinoo Mankad for the “Mankading” way of getting a batsman out. But no one remembers how good an all-rounder he was. In the 44 Tests he featured, 2109 runs and 162 wickets were taken. His accolades include five centuries, two double-hundreds, eight 5-wicket hauls, and two 10-wicket hauls. In the 1955/56 series against New Zealand, Mankad and Pankaj Roy sewed a 413-run opening stand, a 52-yearlong record. Vinoo Mankad is one of those players who were unlucky to play before the broadcasting era. Otherwise, he would have been remembered as a lauded star in Indian cricket history.
Best all rounder in India: Ravichandran Ashwin
IPL is not only a platform for budding T20 stars, but for all formats. Ravichandran Ashwin is a living example of that. Stepped on to limelight as the major CSK spinner and gradually became MS Dhoni’s trusted servant in the national team, Ashwin’s career is a rollercoaster. In the Indian team, he replaced Harbhajan Singh and broke Test records one by one. Known as a street-smart cricketer, Ashwin developed various variations to bamboozle the batsmen in all formats. Batting at the lower order, Ashwin managed to claim five test centuries batting with the tail end. Even though he was another one of those players who lost his place in the ODI and T20 team due to the overflow spinners in India, no one was able to match his test dominance. He has a staggering 30 five-wicket hauls and seven 10-wicket hauls in his Test career. With sensible knocks and cheeky ramp shots, Ashwin is still one of the best all-rounders for India.
Best all rounder in India: Ravindra Jadeja
This man simply revolutionized the fielding sector. Watching Jaddu, we feel that the term “all-rounder” is only complete when he takes catches and stops runs as he does. Sir Garry Sobers was highly praised for his exceptional fielding. Well, Sir Ravindra Jadeja is just as good. Played as the vice-captain of Virat Kohli in the Under-19 World Cup, Jadeja struggled a lot to secure his spot at the Indian team. It is a fact that Jadeja is still improving as a limited over all-rounder but in Tests, his combination with Ravichandran Ashwin is nothing but fatal. His 221-wicket tally in 52 test matches is miraculous considering his very limited number of variations. Jadeja plays those quick cameos to take his team to a respectable total in ODIs and T20s, but the innings of 77 from 59 balls in the semifinal of the World Cup 2019 changed the complexion of his career. Now, Jadeja is a match-winner with the bat, ball, and on the field. India simply cannot exclude him from any of their sides.
Best all rounder in India: Kapil Dev
India’s no 1 all rounder: No second thoughts on who will top this list. India never came close to producing an all-rounder of Kapil Dev’s caliber. An epitome of sheer character and strength, Kapil Dev could even go down in the history as one of the greatest athletes in India. He bowls unbelievably long spells which modern-day bowlers could never think of yet, never missed a match due to fitness issues. The former skipper is India’s third-leading wicket-taker in Tests. But out of everything else, the moment which created the halo around him was the 1983 World Cup victory. His amazing catch to dismiss Viv Richards in the final of the World Cup is arguably where the mighty West Indies lost their grip. As a bowler, a batsman, a fielder, and a captain, he proved everything. Kapil Dev would be that one player India, or even cricket could never replicate.