Baggy Green's Finest: Top 10 Greatest All-Rounders in Australian Test Cricket
Steve Waugh has an enviable Test record (ICC Twitter)
When it comes to cricket, Australia has been a powerhouse of talent, producing some of the most exceptional players in the game. The continent nation has always been a breeding ground for cricketing legends, and when it comes to the art of all-round excellence, the country has produced some of the finest cricketers the world has ever seen.
From the unyielding grit of their batting to the cunning mastery of their bowling, these remarkable individuals have left an indelible mark on the sport.
In this listicle, we take a look at the top ten all-rounders who donned the baggy green in the longest format of the game and left an indelible mark on the history of Australian cricket.
1. Warwick Armstrong
Warwick Armstrong’s career spanned from 1902 to 1921, encompassing 50 Test matches where he captained in 10, remaining unbeaten with eight wins and two draws. Known for his aggressive style, he dominated the opposition, amassing over 2,800 runs, including six centuries and 8 half-centuries, with an impressive average of 38.7. As a bowler, he claimed 87 wickets, showcasing his versatility. Armstrong's leadership guided Australia to an unforgettable triumph in the 1920-21 Ashes series, solidifying their cricketing dominance.
Warwick Armstrong (ICC Twitter)
In an illustrious first-class career spanning 269 games, he amassed a staggering 16,158 runs with a remarkable average of 46.83. His bat resonated with brilliance, crafting 45 centuries and 57 half-centuries along the way. Armstrong's skills weren't limited to batting alone; his bowling finesse saw him claim a phenomenal 832 wickets at an average of 19.71.
2. Keith Miller
Keith Miller was renowned for his remarkable Test career from 1946 to 1956. A versatile all-rounder, Miller was an aggressive and charismatic player who left a lasting impact on the sport. In 55 Test matches, he scored 2,958 runs at an average of 36.97, including seven centuries and 13 fifties. Miller's batting prowess was matched by his bowling skills as he took 170 wickets with his fast-medium pace at an average of 22.97.
Keith Miller (ICC Twitter)
He often provided crucial breakthroughs with the ball, showcasing his ability to swing it both ways. Miller's exceptional fielding abilities further enhanced his value to the team. He was a key member of the famous Australian teams during the post-war era, playing a vital role in their success against strong opponents. The Aussie veteran's flamboyant and aggressive style of play earned him the reputation of being one of the finest all-rounders in cricket history.
3. Richie Benaud
Richie Benaud’s prolific Test career spanned from 1952 to 1964. He was a skillful all-rounder, known for his leg-spin bowling, aggressive batting, and exceptional captaincy. Benaud played 63 Test matches, scoring 2,201 runs at an average of 24.45. He was a useful lower-order batsman, with four centuries and 11 half-centuries to his name. However, it was his bowling that set him apart. Benaud claimed 248 Test wickets at an average of 27.03, including 16 five-wicket hauls.
Richie Benaud (ICC Twitter)
In 1961, the New South Walers player became the first cricketer to achieve the Test double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets. He led the Australian team in 28 Tests, winning 12 of them and losing only four. Under his captaincy, Australia regained the Ashes in 1958-59 and maintained their dominance in world cricket. After retiring, he became a highly respected cricket commentator and became the voice of cricket for many fans around the world.
4. George Giffen
George Giffen played a significant role in Australian cricket’s formative years in the late 19th century. Giffen's Test career spanned from 1881 to 1896, during which he established himself as one of the finest all-rounders of his time. He was a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-pace bowler who a total of 31 Test matches, scoring 1,238 runs at an average of 22.35, including three centuries and five half-centuries. His highest score in Tests was 161.
George Giffen (ICC Twitter)
As a bowler, Giffen claimed 103 wickets at an average of 27.09, including five five-wicket hauls. Notably, Giffen was part of the famous Australian team that defeated England in the Ashes series for the first time in 1882-1883 where he played a crucial role with both bat and ball. Moreover, he was the first Australian to achieve 10,000 runs and 500 wickets in first-class cricket. In 251 FC games, the legendary all-rounder scored 11,758 runs, including 18 centuries, and took 1,023 wickets, with a whopping 95 fifers and thirty 10-wicket hauls.
5. Monty Noble
Monty Noble had an impressive Test and First-Class career during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In his Test career from 1898 to 1909, Noble played 42 matches and showcased his skills as a right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-break bowler. He scored 1,997 runs at an average of 30.25, including one century and 16 half-centuries.
Monty Noble (icc-cricket.com)
As a bowler, he claimed 121 wickets at an average of 25.00, with nine five-wicket hauls. In First-Class cricket, Noble played 248 matches, accumulating 13,975 runs at an average of 40.47, which included 37 centuries and 66 half-centuries. He was also successful as a bowler, capturing 624 wickets at an average of 23.14, with 33 fifers.
6. Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson had a decorated cricketing career during the 1950s and 1960s. In his Test career spanning from 1953 to 1963, Davidson played 44 matches for Australia, scoring 1,328 runs at an average of 24.59, including five half-centuries. However, it was his bowling prowess that made him truly outstanding.
Alan Davidson (ICC Twitter)
Davidson claimed 186 wickets at an impressive average of 20.53, with 14 five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket hauls. He was known for his accuracy, swing, and ability to generate pace, making him a formidable bowler. In First-Class cricket, Davidson played 193 matches and scored 6,804 runs at an average of 32.86, including nine centuries and 36 half-centuries. He also took 672 wickets at an average of 20.90, with 33 five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket hauls.
7. Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh played for Australia from 1985 to 2004. In his Test career, Waugh played 168 matches, scoring 10,927 runs at an average of 51.06. He accumulated 32 centuries and 50 half-centuries, becoming one of Australia's most prolific batsmen. His resilience and mental toughness earned him the nickname "Iceman." He also claimed 92 wickets at an average of 37.44, with three fifers
Steve Waugh (ICC Twitter)
Waugh's captaincy from 1999 to 2004 is considered one of the most successful in cricket history. Under his leadership, Australia achieved an incredible winning streak of 16 consecutive Test victories, and he played a vital role in guiding his team to win the 1999 and 2003 ICC Cricket World Cups. In FC cricket, Waugh amassed 24,052 runs in 356 matches at an average of 51.94. He recorded 79 centuries, 97 half-centuries and also has 249 scalps to his name.
8. Shane Watson
Shane Watson featured in 59 Test matches for Australia, scoring 3,731 runs at an average of 35.19. He scored four centuries and 24 half-centuries, showcasing his ability as an aggressive and versatile batsman. Watson was also a handy medium-fast bowler, claiming 75 wickets with his accurate and swing bowling to go with three fifers.
Shane Watson (cricket.com.au Twitter)
In FC cricket, Watson played 137 matches, accumulating 9,45 runs at an average of 42.57. His consistent performances with the bat, coupled with his bowling contributions of 210 wickets, solidified his reputation as a genuine all-rounder. The all-rounder’s skill set and versatility made him a vital asset to both the Australian national team and the various domestic teams he represented throughout his career.
9. Shane Warne
Shane Warne, one of cricket's greatest spin bowlers, represented Australia from 1992 to 2007. In Test cricket, Warne played 145 matches, taking a staggering 708 wickets at an average of 25.41 to go with 37 fifers. His mesmerizing leg-spin deliveries, combined with incredible control and variations, made him a constant threat to batsmen worldwide. The leggie was also a handy batsman, having scored more than 3,000 runs with 12 fifties and a highest score of 99.
Shane Warne (ICC Twitter)
In FC cricket, Warne claimed 1,319 wickets in 301 matches at an average of 26.11. Alongside his exceptional bowling skills, he also contributed with the bat, scoring 6,919 runs, including two centuries. The legendary spinner's impact extended beyond his on-field achievements; he revolutionized the art of leg-spin bowling and became an iconic figure in the sport.
10. Ray Lindwall
Ray Lindwall donned the Australian jersey from 1946 to 1960. He was a fearsome fast bowler known for his pace, accuracy, and ability to swing the ball both ways. In Test cricket, he played 61 matches and took 228 wickets at an impressive average of 23.03 along with 12 fifers. His fiery pace and menacing bouncers made him a formidable opponent for batsmen around the world. Lindwall also scored 1502 Test runs with two centuries and five fifties.
Ray Lindwall (ICC Twitter)
In FC cricket, Lindwall claimed 794 wickets in 228 matches at an average of 21.35. Along with his exceptional bowling skills, he was also a more than capable batsman, scoring over 5,000 runs, including five centuries and 19 half-centuries. Lindwall was a key member of the legendary Australian "Invincibles" team that went unbeaten on their tour of England in 1948. His contributions with both bat and ball played a vital role in Australia's success during that era.