The Australian cricket team has had a tenuous relationship with all-rounders in recent years.
While Shane Watson was meant to be a revival of the position in our country, injuries, form and misuse dominated a generally impressive international career.
Right now, Australia has a number of all-rounders in the mix at international level. But just who is in front of whom? Has there been a change at the top of rankings? Is the best all-rounder playing Test cricket or is he not?
- Cameron White
Now 32 years old, it seems like Cameron White has been around forever. He started his foray into international cricket as a leg-breaker who was a useful lower order batsman. As his career developed, he didn’t see as many Test matches as many thought he would (only four in his career to date), but was a strong presence in the ODI and Twenty20 teams (88 and 47 appearances respectively), even captaining the T20 side. Furthermore, as he matured as a cricketer, he naturally progressed into a batting all-rounder, managing an ODI high-score of 105 and a first-class high of 260*. Still useful in domestic cricket, many felt Cameron White never got a fair shake at international cricket.
- Glenn Maxwell
Love him or hate him, when he is at his ferocious best, Glenn Maxwell is a cricketer capable of winning a game off his own bat. He also has the ability to influence the game with the ball with his right arm off-breaks. Unfortunately for Australia, we have not seen nearly enough of this Glenn Maxwell, with his bowling funnily enough averaging out to be more consistent than his batting. Similar to White, Maxwell has had his Test appearances limited to three. He never quite developed the maturity required to be a “bat all day” batsman, usually enjoying a brief cameo in the middle part of an innings. Still, his greatest supporters will always steadfastly believe he should be number one in this article. Considering his talent, maybe he should be. But he needs to develop more consistency before he can be the best all-rounder in the country.
- Shane Watson
Shane Watson was, and still is, a cricketer of immense talent, whose career was not only hampered by injuries and fitness, but also by misuse and uncertainty from selectors. Another player who started out as a bowling all-rounder before his batting came on, Watson first cracked the international squad after topping the wicket taking for Tasmania in 2002. As well as injury, debate over his best batting position raged throughout his career, resulting in him spending a fair amount of time in most positions from 1-6. Had he seen more solidarity in his career, who knows the heights Watson may have scaled? However, his 301 international matches in all formats is 11th in Australian history, and he will climb up into 10th if he manages another international T20.
- Mitchell Marsh
Given the batting talent in the Australian lineup at the moment, Mitchell Marsh is being given a fair amount of rope with which to develop his international cricketing skills. So far, it seems to be working, with the youngest Marsh recently notching his first ODI century, and striking more often with the ball in the latest tour to New Zealand. While he needs to work on his Test batting, Mitch Marsh is slowly winning over the Australian public. With his size and athleticism, he may be able to develop into the weapon that Australia wanted Watson to become.
- James Faulkner
To the mystery of almost everyone in the country, James Faulkner has only been able to manage one Test match – an Ashes outing against England at The Oval in 2013. However, despite his lethal lower-order batting at ODI level, effective strike bowling and good shield cricket record, Faulker has never since been selected for higher duties. Despite this, I still believe Faulkner to be the best all-rounder in the country. He is more consistent at international level with both bat and ball than Marsh, and has been on the international scene for longer.