Selecting England’s Best All-Rounder Ever
Who is England’s best all-rounder of all time? What is an all-rounder?
The term all-rounder describes a cricketer who can offer their team both batting and bowling services. Theoretically, a perfect all-rounder would be able to make a team either as a batter or a bowler.
In reality, however, there are very few such players. England has been lucky to be blessed with superb all-rounders in the last 3 generations. Ian Botham was England’s match-winner in the 1980s and 1990s. Andrew Flintoff took over the mantle in the 2000s. Currently, Ben Stokes is England’s best all-rounder.
Taking both Test Matches and One-Day Internationals into account, who is England’s best all-rounder? And who just misses out in second and third place?
Ian Botham – England’s Best Ever All-Rounder
Sir Ian Terence Botham. Undoubtedly England’s greatest match-winner ever. In his peak, he was arguably the best batsman and the best bowler in the England team. His performances in the 1981 Ashes series remain part of English folklore. “Botham’s Ashes” inspired a generation of cricketers.
In the Jubilee test of 1980, Ian Botham spearheaded England to a famous victory in Mumbai. He scored 114 and took 13 wickets in the subcontinent. In the 1992 World Cup Ian Botham took 16 wickets – second only to Wasim Akram. He also scored nearly 200 runs in that World Cup as England reached the final.
Ian Botham – all-round superstar, Ashes hero and fashion icon. pic.twitter.com/poyc6or1Dv
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 2, 2020
Sir Ian Botham was a once in a generation cricketer. He was so much more than just statistics. As Bob Willis once stated “Botham thought that he could win the game on his own.” Many a time, he did for England Cricket. In fact, it was his heroics that allowed England to dominate Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Watch – Sir Ian Botham first ball six
Botham was undoubtedly good enough to make the England test team, both as a bowler and as a batsmen. He averaged 34 in test match cricket and with his amazing power and match-winning innings, that would probably be enough to keep him in the side. He also took 383 test match wickets at an average of 28, with 27 five-wicket hauls. Add that to his excellent slip fielding and outfielding.
Undoubtedly, England’s Best Ever All-Rounder.
Ben Stokes – Perhaps The Next Best
It is probably fair to say that Ben Stokes had an awesome 2019. He scored 465 runs at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, including a game-changing 84 not out in the final against New Zealand.
He also picked up 7 wickets with the ball. His 135 not out against Australia at Headingley saved England’s blushes. In the end, it helped England draw the series 2-2 -after winning at the Oval. Given how poorly England had batted throughout the series, it was probably more than they had deserved.
You cannot do that Ben Stokes …..
— Nasser Hussain (@nassercricket) August 25, 2019
Also, Read – Picking England’s All-Time ODI XI
Ben Stokes averages 38 in test match cricket and 40 in ODI cricket. He definetely has the potential to increase these numbers, given how technically solid he is as a batsman. He has also scored 10 test match centuries. There is no doubt that he will surpass Sir Ian Botham in terms of total test match runs.
He has proved his mettle in a range of conditions across his test match career. Ben Stokes averages above 30 in every country that he has played in, apart from the United Arab Emirates. His best averages are in South Africa, England and India. He averages 52, 40 and 38 in those countries respectively.
However, Sir Ian Botham will almost certainly remain England Cricket’s best ever bowling All-Rounder due to him taking nearly 400 test match wickets. Stokes has been an important bowler.
Rather than continiously bowling long spells, Ben Stokes is used as an impact bowler. He has the ability, speed and intelligence to nip out a few wickets when they are most needed.
Cape Town 2020 remains a great example.
Can he become England’s Best All-Rounder Ever?
Andrew Flintoff – Box Office In His Prime
As a youngster, Andrew Flintoff was my second favourite English player – after Kevin Pietersen. His domination in the 2005 Ashes against the world champions Australia will always be remembered. Andrew Flintoff also bowled one of the greatest overs ever seen in that series – claiming the wickets of both Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting.
Also, Read – Andrew Flintoff – England’s Superstar?
He was also the leading wicket-taker in the 2004 Champions Trophy. He took 9 wickets at an average of 14 as England reached the final. Flintoff was one of the most reliable fielders in the England team during his team. He could also stand at second slip or field at mid-on. A versatile cricketer who could outplay anyone on his day.
⭐ 227 internationals
⭐ 7,315 runs
⭐ 400 wickets
⭐ 2005 #Ashes hero
Happy Birthday to Andrew Flintoff, one of England’s greatest all-rounders 🎉 pic.twitter.com/k3V0In3WlH
— ICC (@ICC) December 6, 2019
Andrew Flintoff could perhaps have become England’s best all-rounder. He retired from the game in 2009 due to an injury. Injuries bogged his career down and resulted in his statistics doing injustice to his overall talents. Still, he won 2 Ashes series – in 2005 and 2009 and regenerated viewership in English Cricket, through his exciting and often match-winning cricket.
Watch – Andrew Flintoff at his best
Andrew Flintoff is Number 3 on the list of England’s Best Ever All-Rounders.
Sir Ian Terence Botham is without a doubt England’s best ever All-Rounder. Especially in test match cricket. Ben Stokes can match or surpass his legacy, should he continue to perform as brilliantly as he has over the past 18 months.
Also, Read – Picking India’s All-Time Test XI
Andrew Flintoff and Ben Stokes remain two elite all-rounders in ODI cricket, and their legacy in the shorter formats is perhaps greater than that of Sir Ian Botham. Mind you, Ian Botham did a pretty good job in his era, guiding England to the 1992 Cricket World Cup final.
Who do you think is England’s Best All-Rounder of all-time and why? Leave your answer in the comments section down below.
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