Any successful Test team needs a potent all-rounder who can contribute both with bat and bowl. But not every team will have the luxury of a world-beating all-rounder who is capable of winning the match on his own. If we take a look at Test all-rounders of the past era, the likes of Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee, Gary Sobers, or the ones in the recent generation such as Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff to name a few, they all had the ability to create magic on the field and make things happen when the chips are down.
We will rank 5 such all-rounders of the modern era in the longest format of the game.
1. Jason Holder
The tall Windies skipper has inspired his team in a lot of ways, particularly in the red-ball format. He led them to a series win at home against England in 2019 and now is on the verge of repeating something special on the English soil. Jason Holder has had a stunning couple of years at the international level. Since 2017, Holder has taken an outstanding 81 wickets at an average of 19, along with scoring 1116 runs in 23 Test matches.
During the same period, he has taken 6-fifers and even scored his career-best innings of 202* against England in 2019. Even in the first Test against England in Southampton, Holder led from the front and made a winning contribution in the team’s effort. His ability to contribute both with bat and ball sees him ranked as the No.1 ranked Test all-rounder in the ICC Rankings. The West Indies skipper recently climbed up spots to even claim the second position in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers.
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2. Ben Stokes
The past twelve months have been surreal for England’s Ben Stokes. The Headingley hero for England, Stokes turned the plot upside down in favour of the home side, scoring an unbeaten 135 against Australia in the third Ashes Test in 2019. Stokes has often been the crisis man for England in crunch situations. His ability to create impact both with bat and ball makes him one of the most highly rated Test all-rounders across the globe. Only behind Jason Holder, Stokes holds the second position in the ICC Test rankings for all-rounders.
Since 2017, Ben Stokes has scored 2243 runs in Test cricket at an average over 4o including five centuries to go along with 74 wickets during the same period. More than the numbers, it is his mere impact that Stokes is counted among some of the best all-rounders ever produced by England in their history of Test cricket.
3. Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja pips Ravichandran Ashwin in this list only because of the latter’s slump in batting form over the past couple of years. On the contrary, Jadeja has improved tremendously with the bat maintaining his consistency with the ball in hand. Being a spinner and crucial bat at No.8, Jadeja has times and again proved his worth not only on the home soil but also in overseas conditions.
His presence on the field is simply electrifying and at any given time. He is the quickest on the field and can often turn the game even with his fielding skills. Since 2017, Jadeja has scored 1021 Test runs with 11 fifty-plus scores (including a hundred) at an outstanding average of 44. During the same period, the Indian all-rounder has also claimed 114 Test wickets at an average of 26 with 3 five-wicket hauls in 24 Test appearances for India.
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4. Roston Chase
Another West Indies player makes the cut in our list of top Test all-rounder in the modern era. The team from the Caribbean has been lacking a quality middle-order player batsman for quite some time and Roston Chase was able to fill that void. His numbers may not be as good as the other three all-rounders in the list but he has created quite an impact in the fortunes of the West Indies success along with Jason Holder. Since 2017, Chase has scored 1454 runs at a decent average of 33 that includes four centuries and has also taken 5o wickets with a solitary fifer at an average of 38 from 26 games. His best bowling spell of 8/60 came in 2019 against England which helped his team get over the line.
5. Pat Cummins
The World’s no.1 Test bowler, Pat Cummins makes our list of top five Test all-rounders. It may be a bit surprising but his batting has improved quite a bit in the recent few years. On occasions, Cummins has contributed with crucial lower-order runs for Australia. These attributes even fetched him a huge price at the 2020 IPL auction. Since making his international comeback in 2017, following an injury layoff, Pat Cummins has claimed 136 wickets at an average of 22 including 4-fifers in the process while also scoring useful 632 runs which include 2 fifties from 29 Test matches for Australia.