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Debate: SA's greatest All rounders.

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Post by Biltong Fri 25 Jan 2013, 11:38 am

Last in my series of greatest SA cricketers I want to look at the best all rounders produced by South Africa. Now this one I think is possibly the most difficult to adjudge, purely because All Rounders fall in a different category to specialist bowlers and batsmen.

We often say an all rounder is someone who can be picked based on one of their disciplines, either batting or bowing. But in truth it isn’t as clear cut as just that. Some players might barely qualify in either category, but as a collective is still a worthy team member.

So what I have decided is to categorise the top SA all rounders according to a points system firstly, just as an indicator as to where their talents lie in comparison to being specialists in their fields.

If a player averaged more than 20 as a batsman (but clearly being more of a bowler all rounder he would get 1 point in the batting department, if he averaged more than 30 with the bat, he would receive another 1 point, and having an average over 40 yet another. This way a player can earn a maximum of 3 points for his batting exploits.

The bowling I worked on the same basis, 1 point if you averaged less than 35 with the ball, another if you averaged less than 28 with the ball and yet another if you averaged less than 23 with the ball.

Hence it will provide us with a weighting of maximum 3 for batting and maximum 3 for bowling.
In order to qualify as an All Rounder it was necessary to at least earn a weighting of 1 point for batting and 1 weighting point for bowling. Not earning a point on both sides of the weighting simply isn’t good enough.

Lance Klusener as an example was seen as an all rounder for SA, but his bowling average of 37.91 means he should come near this list.

All rounder weightings.

Name – Batting weighting – bowling weighting.
JH Kallis 3/1
GA Faulkner 2/2
EJ Barlow 2/1
SM Pollock 1/2
TL Goddard 1/2
WJ Cronje 1/1
BM McMillan 1/1
SJ Snooke 1/3
PM Pollock 1/2
JH Sinclair 1/1
CL Vincent 1/1

The next step was then to consider their actual effectiveness as bowlers and batsmen. So what I did was to use the top benchmark at 100%, with reduced values in comparison for the rest, the same with the bowlers, and then tally it up.

List of top allrounders.

Debate: SA's greatest All rounders. Top_sa10


Jaques Kallis
It should be no surprise that Kallis heads the list of South African Allrounders, I often hear that Kallis is unforgettable, his metronomic manner in which he collects runs excludes him from being better than others. Considering that Kallis has 23 Man of the match awards, it would suggest only modern day perception and yesteryear nostalgia stands in his way as the greatest All Rounder ever.

GA Faullkner
Cricinfo hails him as one of the greatest Allrounders. Sadly for us he played in an era when most of our Grandfathers were still in diapers and some not even born yet. He was a right hand batsman with a very unorthodox grip and a legbreak bowler, his 153 and 6/64 against Australia in 1921 is remembered as one of his better tests ever played.

SM Pollock
Inducted into the 606V2 Hall of fame just the other day, Pollock was one of the most miserly bowlers to play in the modern era. As a batsman he had natural talent and a very good eye. I suspected although his bowling was his strength, he enjoyed batting more.

EJ Barlow
He played 30 tests for South Africa, in my view fourth on the all time list of SA Allrounders, a better batsman than any other SA allrounder bar Jaques Kallis, as a bowler just qualifies in the weighting of 35 bowling average.

T Goddard
The statistical ranking method puts Goddard behind Pollock, but there is little to choose between these to greats of SA, the one slightly better in the bowling department, and the other more reliable wiith the bat. Goddard was a left-hander of classically correct technique with bat and ball.He had natural away swing but he had the ability to move the ball the other way. When you consider his leadership abilities, the fact that he opened the batting and yet had a very decent bowling average it is quite possible that some will rank him above Pollock.

Those are my top five, I was surprised to see Hansie Cronje on the list and equally surprised to see Klusener didn’t make the list, but then I always saw Klusener as a limited overs player rather than a test player.
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Post by gboycottnut Fri 25 Jan 2013, 2:47 pm

No mention of the 2 best all-rounders in the late 70's to 1980's Clive Rice and Mike Proctor. Also there was an all-rounder called Harvey Lance who played in a couple of tests for SA in the late 60's. How good was this guy?

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Post by Biltong Fri 25 Jan 2013, 2:49 pm

For some reason Proctor doesn't show neither do Harvey Lance, Clive Rice never played a test so I have no international stats to compare him.
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Post by guildfordbat Fri 25 Jan 2013, 3:46 pm

Biltong - not totally sold on your formula. The points out of 3 seems a red herring provided the player meets your minimum criteria for both batting and bowling.

When I was oh so much younger than today, I was told that you should divide an all rounder's batting average by his bowling average. If that gave 1.5 or more, it meant he was a very good player. To be fair, that can still give a misleading picture and not reflect a player's true effectiveness. So much depends, in particular, on when and how often he bowls.

Anyway, all interesting stuff. Particularly pleased to see Trevor Goddard and Eddie Barlow up there.

Goddard was a key member of the South African team for many years and is now very largely an unfairly forgotten figure.

Cricket's ruling bodies were very harsh on Barlow. He missed out on many years of playing for South Africa due to the apartheid boycott. He did at least have the consolation of playing and starring for the Rest of the World against England in 1970. This consisted of 5 compteitively fought matches of the highest quality which replaced the scheduled South Africa series. Barlow took 20 wickets at under 20 each including three fivefers and a hat trick; for good measure, he also chipped in with two centuries and a seventy odd. The Rest of the World series was awarded Test status at the time (that was a condition upon which Garry Sobers agreed to captain the side). A couple of years later, the ICC reneged on that and retrospectively withdrew Test status for the entire series meaning that Barlow's all round accomplishments that summer were wiped from the record books. Shameful. If you include Barlow's stats from the Rest of the World series, he leapfrogs Shaun Pollock and, by a rough and ready reckoner, ties for second spot with Aubrey Faulker.

PS Further to other comments, possibly Procter didn't play enough Tests to make the cut. However, in terms of ability, fight and effectivess he was right up there with the very best.


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