Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman has no doubt in his mind on who’s the greatest all-rounder in the history of Indian cricket. According to the batting legend, former World Cup winning captain and ‘Haryana Hurricane’ Kapil Dev is the rightful holder of that title.“It’s a very difficult role being an all-rounder. Kapil paaji was someone who could take wickets and score runs. He was the ultimate match-winner for India,” said VVS Laxman.
According to him, Kapil Dev was the last great genuine all-rounder to play for India. The star of the ’83 World Cup picked up 434 Test wickets and also scored 5248 runs in the longest format of the sport. Besides that, he collected 253 ODI wickets and 3783 runs with the bat. Kapil Dev called a time on his international career in 1994 and has a unique legacy in the history of Indian cricket.
He reckons that modern cricketers and especially the Indian team has to play a lot of matches, and that too in three formats of the game. It’s a lot of stress on the body and mind and because of that, the option of a single player taking all the responsibility with both the bat and the ball makes no sense.
“With the amount of workload nowadays, it’s very, very difficult,” Laxman said during a YouTube launch of a book written by Boria Majumdar at “Tata Literature Live Sports Yatras”.
In the mid-2000s, Irfan Pathan was considered a solid all-rounder for a brief period. These days, Hardik Pandya carries the banner with much pomp and show. However, Hardik Pandya has struggled to perform his all-round duties over the last year or so because of a surgery he had on his back.
Pandya has played as a pure batsman in a few recent international games for India and the team have been conscious while managing his workload with the ball. It’s a precedent that is set to continue through this year’s IPL as well.
Without taking the name of Pandya, VVS Laxman highlighted this issue of workload management for all-rounders competing in all formats. “There were some glimpses from some players because they were focusing a lot on both the skills, ultimately with the amount of workload and matches the Indian team plays in three formats, it’s very difficult to manage. That player who has the ability to become a genuine all-rounder, unfortunately, gets injured and he has to compromise or he has to take a decision on either batting or bowling,” said the former stylish batsman.