5 All-rounders who are dominating Test cricket in recent times.

What a specialist player cannot provide, an all-rounder is capable of doing and justifying both the aspects and adding his own vital contribution to the game. More often than not those contributions turn out to be the major difference between two competing sides and dictate the final result of the game. We do have subcategories under the main heading of all-rounders as some belong to the batting all-rounder group while others are part of the bowling all-rounder category.

Depending on the formats, all-rounders play different roles and their surplus to needs presence does the lifting job for the other specialist players. A fluent innings with the bat or wicket-taking spree with the ball goes a long way in shifting the momentum in the favour of the team and allowing others to leave their stellar mark on the game. When it comes to Test cricket, the job is more demanding and tiring as the all-rounder is expected to be in the game for the major part of the procession. He cannot go off the boil or else the team will struggle and find it difficult to cross the line.
The history of cricket has seen some renowned all-rounders, who left their special influence on the game. Modern-day cricket too has been fortunate to witness many talented, hard-working all-rounders, who are willing to perform whichever duty needed for the team. In the below piece, we look at 5 such all-rounders who are dominating Test cricket in recent times:

1. Ben Stokes

This star all-rounder from England can absolutely do no wrong at the international arena for his country. His all-round display against the Windies in the first contested series after the COVID-19 hiatus helped England in coming from behind and winning the series 2-1. Stokes has amassed 4428 runs from 67 Tests at an average of 37.85 and a strike rate of 58.54. While he has picked 158 wickets at an average of 31.41 and economy rate of 3.3. During the Windies series, we saw Stokes banging the ball halfway down the pitch and compelling the batsmen to fend the deliveries awkwardly into the hands of close-in fielders.

He belongs to that special group of all-rounders who seems specialist playing either role. That is how far Stokes has come into his international career and if he can maintain this consistency, England will become an indomitable force, unbeatable across formats.

2. Ravindra Jadeja

The Saurashtra all-rounder has become indispensable across formats for India and finding his like-for-like replacement is near to impossible for the selectors. His beyond exceptional fielding in the outfield provides him with the requisite edge and allows India to apply pressure on the opposition. In 49 Tests, Jadeja has contributed 1869 runs at an average of 35.26 and strike rate of 63.77 and picked 213 wickets at an average of 24.63 and economy of 2.44.

Inspite of not being the biggest of turners, Jadeja manages to scalp wickets in India and overseas with his impeccable lines and lengths and committing the batsman on the front foot. Batsmen often get foxed underestimating his spinning ability and that’s where the tweaker is more dangerous.

3. Colin de Grandhomme

A fierce striker of the cricket ball, Grandhomme has made the desired shift and occupied himself in the playing XI of the New Zealand Test team. Apart from his fearsome batting, Grandhomme is very handy with his seam bowling, who is compelling batters to make mistakes.

Having played in 24 Tests, Grandhomme has garnered 1185 runs at an average of 37.03 and strike rate of 81.72 and also picked 47 wickets at an average of 31.64 and economy rate of 2.42. We all saw how he troubled India’s megastar captain, Kohli, early this year in a series held in New Zealand. He either nicked him through to the keeper or brought the ball in to strike him plumb in front, playing a major role in inflicting a whitewash.

4. Pat Cummins

Known more for his express quick seam bowling, Cummins has made massive strides in his batting, and we see him contribute crucial runs coming lower down the order. His consistency with the bat has been so prolific that he is no longer counted as one among the tail-enders, but a proper batsman. Cummins has scored 647 runs from 31 Tests at an average of 16.59 and strike rate of 38.44. While his bowling record is just phenomenal having picked 150 wickets at an average of 21.27 and economy rate of 2.75.

His recent exploits against India are evident where he and Hazlewood turned the match on its head with their impeccable bowling and pulled off an unlikely victory for the hosts. Such match-changing spells if delivered on a consistent basis will see Australia maintain their top spot and dominate world cricket like never before.

5. Shadab Khan

This teenage prodigy from Pakistan has risen through the ranks and made his presence almost inevitable across formats. His wily leg-spin in addition to the hard-hitting lower middle-order batting makes him a useful prospect in procuring some momentum in favour of Pakistan. Shadab has chronicled 300 runs from 6 Tests at an average of 33.33 and strike rate of 62.63. He has dismissed 14 batsmen at an average of 36.64 and economy rate of 3.23. The sample size though small, speaks in the volume of his impact in the multi-day format.

He has left a high standard for himself to scale and come the testing series against the Kiwis, he will be expected to display an all-round performance and pull off a famous victory for Pakistan overseas.

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