Cricket: Vettori seventh player to join elite allrounders

By David Leggat

It almost slipped by unnoticed as Daniel Vettori took his place among the game's elite allround cricketers.

When he got his 29th and last run in New Zealand's first innings against the West Indies, it took him to 3000 test runs, to sit alongside 285 wickets.

He became the seventh player to reach the 3000-run, 250-wicket double, and the second New Zealander, after Sir Richard Hadlee, who retired in 1990 with the then world record 431 wickets to go with 3124 runs.

How relevant is it? There is a school of thought that if you play long enough, with the amount of international cricket these days, milestones will come along just as New Year follows Christmas. Certainly numbers tell only part of a cricket tale.

Yet these players have excelled at two disciplines simultaneously - or at the least had one strong suit and were highly capable at the other - some while also captaining their country.

The group will have two new members shortly. Jacques Kallis, who helped steer South Africa home in their famous win at Perth on Sunday, is two wickets away, and Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas needs two runs when they play Bangladesh starting Boxing Day.

But statistics can be used in all sorts of ways. In this case, the greatest of them all, Gary Sobers, doesn't make it, as he finished with a mere 235 wickets to sit with 8032 runs.

These seven got there in different ways. Shane Warne was peerless as a legspinner but no more than a useful lower order batsman; Kapil Dev got the most runs but only Warne played more than his 131 tests to get them.

Shaun Pollock was a tremendous bowler who became a very useful No 7 or No 8 batsman; Vettori has been the best No 8 in the business for the past few seasons.

Hadlee's bowling average is best, fractionally ahead of Imran Khan's.

Indeed, a strong case can be made that Imran was the greatest of this group. His batting average, 37.69, is the best of them; his bowling average inferior only to Hadlee and he captained Pakistan in 48 of his 88 tests.

In those matches, his two averages improved markedly, suggesting responsibility heightened his effectiveness. He was part of a great era for allrounders, with Ian Botham, Dev and Hadlee all at the peak of their powers at the same time.

If Vettori has a strong series against India, he might just make 300 wickets by the end of the international summer. He can already take satisfaction in that, among spinners, only the world's greatest slow bowler has beaten him to this particular double.

* 3000 run-250 wicket test club

Kapil Dev (India)
Ian Botham (Eng.)
Imran Khan (Pakistan)
Shaun Pollock (S. Africa)
Shane Warne (Aust.)
Richard Hadlee (NZ)
Daniel Vettori (NZ)

- NZ Herald

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