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All-rounders depth & supremacy: England & Australia lead the pack

Last updated on 03 Oct 2023 | 02:52 PM
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All-rounders depth & supremacy: England & Australia lead the pack

We delve deep into the ‘all-round’ strength of each of the ten World Cup sides

Note: Only bowlers capable of batting in the Top 7 and batters that can bowl 5-8 overs per match consistently have been classified as 'out and out all-rounders' in this article


Out-and-out all-rounders: Hardik Pandya & Ravindra Jadeja

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 1-1 

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 1-1

Batters who can bowl part-time: None

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin

The Good

Hardik Pandya’s presence. It will allow India to pick three specialist spinners on dry surfaces — without compromising on the quality of pace bowling — and use four genuine quicks elsewhere. Other sides have batting all-rounders that bowl pace as well, but Pandya being the best of the lot gives India a genuine edge, for it adds incredible depth.

The Bad

Having just four members in a 15-man squad that are multi-dimensional is a dangerously low figure. This will inevitably lead to the side being over-reliant on the two specialist all-rounders, especially Pandya, for whom there’s no like-for-like replacement in the squad. Plus, due to the lack of options, India will be in deep trouble if Pandya, at some point, picks up a niggle that stops him from bowling for a week or two. The team’s balance will then go for a toss.


Out-and-out all-rounders: Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 4-0

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 3-1

Batters who can bowl part-time:  Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott

The Good

The sheer number of multi-dimensional players Australia have at their disposal means that they’ll enter every single match with all bases covered, notwithstanding the nature of the surface. They can play the same XI across conditions and still be a very potent unit. They also possess enviable batting depth and are guaranteed to bat at least till No.9 in every single match. 

The Bad

Due to Agar’s injury, Australia not only need Maxwell’s bowling fitness to hold up but need the Victorian’s form to also be good. With Travis Head injured and no other spinner in the reserves, an injury to Maxwell would significantly weaken the Kangaroos’ spin stocks. Plus, though Australia have as many as three batters that bowl pace, none of them possess the quality to be a regular frontline bowler (like Pandya). In white-ball cricket, at least.


Out and out all-rounders: Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 1-3

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 2-2

Batters who can bowl part-time:  Joe Root, Dawid Malan

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: David Willey, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid

The Good

England arguably have the most well-rounded squad thanks to the number of all-round options they have at their disposal. It’s the sheer versatility that stands out: a right-arm pacer that can bat (Woakes), a left-arm pacer that can bat (Curran), a middle-order batter that can bowl off and leg-spin (Livingstone), an off-spinner that can bat anywhere in the Top 8 (Moeen Ali) and tons of specialist bowlers who are handy with the bat. 

Not only that, the construct of their squad is such that England are not reliant on one all-rounder and have an able backup for nearly every all-rounder. The Three Lions are probably the only side that can bat all the way to No.10 without compromising on bowling quality one bit.

The Bad

No real downsides except Stokes being reduced to a specialist batter (due to his fitness). Stokes being able to bowl would have made England even more formidable. 

South Africa

Out-and-out all-rounders: Marco Jansen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Aiden Markram

Batting / bowling all-rounders split:  1-2

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 2-1

Batters who can bowl part-time: Aiden Markram

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada

The Good & Bad

While it’s a huge boon for South Africa that they have someone in the Top 4 that can deliver between 6-10 overs every match (Markram), that’s really the only positive for the Proteas from a balance POV. No other Top 6 batter bowls and they’ll have a long tail if and when they play their strongest bowling line-up. They can combat that by playing Phehlukwayo at No.8 but that will weaken their bowling.  

The construct of their side is such that Jansen pretty much cannot afford to have a bad day with the bat. On days he does, the Proteas will be reliant on the likes of Maharaj & Rabada to contribute significantly.

Overall, the squad lacks one more player of the Chris Woakes / Sean Abbott mould and another top-order batter that can roll his arm over.


Out-and-out all-rounders: Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz 

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 0-2

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 0-2

Batters who can bowl part-time: Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Saud Shakeel

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Usama Mir

The Good & Bad

Pakistan have a healthy mix of bowling all-rounders, specialist bowlers who can bat and Top 6 batters that can roll their arm over. There’s no paucity of options and never will they be in a situation where they’ll be reliant on just five bowlers or seven batters to do the job. 

The problem for Babar Azam’s side, however, is that both their ‘specialists’ (Shadab & Nawaz) are, on current form, no more than bits & pieces players due to how poor they’ve been with their primary skill. In Faheem Ashraf’s absence, the squad also lacks a seam-bowling all-rounder. Having a pace-bowling all-rounder would have added depth to both the pace and spin departments but now, Pakistan will enter games light on one of the two fronts. 

New Zealand

Out-and-out all-rounders: James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner

Batting / bowling all-rounders split: 2-2

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 2-2

Batters who can bowl part-time: Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi

The Good & Bad

Like Australia and England, New Zealand are a side that have most, if not all bases covered. Their bowling all-rounders (Santner & Ravindra) are super tidy and they’ve excellent batting depth, even in Southee’s absence. The Kiwis, in fact, have one of the more reliable lower orders in the competition. And they have not one but two batters in the top five that can roll their arm over.

If we were to nitpick, however, it can be said that their non-specialist seam options (Neesham & Mitchell) do not add to the depth of the pace department in terms of quality. Since 2020, Neesham is averaging 260.00 with the ball at an E.R of 6.34. Mitchell, meanwhile, is not penetrative and only bowls sporadically. Both are a significant downgrade on someone like Colin de Grandhomme on the bowling front.

Sri Lanka

Out-and-out all-rounders: Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 2-1

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 1-2

Batters who can bowl part-time: Charith Asalanka (and DDS)

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Dushan Hemantha

The Good & Bad

As we witnessed in the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka will be a handful on wickets that offer extreme turn due to them having three genuine spin options in the XI to go with the presence of Asalanka, who can also roll his arm over and have some impact on dry wickets. 

Where they fall short is the lack of a genuine fast-bowling all-rounder. While Shanaka is technically a ‘seam-bowling all-rounder’, he’s taken more than one wicket in an innings just once since the start of 2022. He’s also limited, for he’s not an effective new-ball bowler due to his style (low on pace, reliant on cutters).

The absence of a genuine fast-bowling all-rounder means that Sri Lanka, almost always, will be light on the pace bowling front, especially in games where they pick just two specialist seamers. 

Hasaranga’s injury is also a body blow. It’s left the Lankans light when it comes to batting depth. They will enter this World Cup with a pretty long tail, having no real ‘dangerous’ batters in the lower-order barring Wellalage. Shanaka’s form with the bat — averaging 16.12 this year — exacerbates this issue, since he’s supposed to be the ‘bridge’ between the batters and the bowlers.


Out and out all-rounders: Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan

Batting / bowling all-rounders split: 3-1

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 0-4

Batters who can bowl part-time: None (not counting the all-rounders)

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed (occasionally)

The Good & Bad

Bangladesh don’t have a seam-bowling all-rounder, but the fact that they have a plethora of genuine all-rounders in the top seven makes up for the same, as it enables them to field three specialist seamers anyway. Shakib is arguably the best all-rounder in ODIs while Mehidy Hasan is quickly turning into a world-class all-rounder in 50-over cricket. Unlike any other team, they have two bowlers in their Top 5 that can give them 20/50 overs.

The Tigers, however, will face batting depth issues in games in which a third pacer features in place of Nasum Ahmed. None of their pacers can be relied upon with the bat and even Taskin, who has the odd cameo in him, is extremely hit and miss.  

Having someone like a Saifuddin (currently injured) in the XI instead of Mahmudullah would have helped solve this issue. 


Out-and-out all-rounders: Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 0-3

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 1-2

Batters who can bowl part-time: Rahmat Shah

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Abdul Rahman, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq (occasionally)

The Good & Bad

In Rashid and Nabi, Afghanistan have two world-class bowling all-rounders in their XI. Players of their caliber (and multi-dimensionality) should ideally make any side supremely balanced, but the lack of quality on the pace front (specialists and all-rounders) mean that Afghanistan still don’t have a well-rounded side. 

They possess a pretty strong lower-order / lower-middle order (throw in Mujeeb, they have a superb spin unit) but, unfortunately, do not have too much quality elsewhere that can trouble sides consistently.


Out-and-out all-rounders: Bas de Leede, Colin Ackermann, Saqib Zulfiqar

Batting/bowling all-rounders split: 2-1

Pace-bowling / spin-bowling all-rounders split: 1-2

Batters who can bowl part-time: Vikramjit Singh, Sybrand Engelbrecht

Bowlers who can contribute with handy runs: Logan van Beek, Roelof van der Merwe

The Good & Bad

In terms of balance and variety, Netherlands are one of the most well-rounded sides in this World Cup. They have multiple batters who can bowl, they have a genuine world-class prospect in Bas de Leede and then good variety down the order. They pretty much have all bases covered when it comes to an ODI side that is ‘complete’ on all fronts.

But like we mentioned in the top-order batters article, the biggest challenge for Scott Edwards’ side will be making the step up and competing with the likes of India, Australia, England and New Zealand.

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