In the entire history of Test cricket, there are only eight players who have reached the milestone of scoring 3000 runs and taking 300 wickets, and all of these players have played since 1971. To achieve this milestone a cricketer has to play a lot of Test matches, and although there are many cricketers prior to 1971 who could have achieved the milestone, there were simply not enough Test matches played to allow them the opportunity. The modern day cricketer plays a lot more cricket, on a fully professional basis, and has the benefit of dedicated medical, nutritional and training staff. With all this though, it still takes a remarkably talented individual to achieve the milestone.
Beginning chronologically, as to when a player made his Test debut, and not necessarily being in order of achieving the 3000 run, 300 wicket milestone, we begin with the Pakistan player, Imran Khan. Imran played his first Test against England in 1971, and his last in 1992. During that period he played 88 Test matches, and took 362 wickets at an average of 22.81. He also scored 3807 runs at an average of 37.69. A great competitor, he also captained Pakistan at various times, and led them to their triumph in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. As a captain he always led by example, whether bowling or batting, and was an inspiration to his team.
In 1973, Richard Hadlee, without doubt the greatest New Zealand cricketer, made his first Test appearance against Pakistan. One of the finest right-arm fast-medium bowlers ever to grace the test arena, when he retired in 1990 Hadlee had played 88 matches and taken 431 wickets at an average of 22.29. Batting down the order he scored 3124 runs at a respectable average of 27.16. Hadlee elevated the status of New Zealand cricket, and with him in the side they always had a chance of winning. For all this he was deservedly knighted in 1990.
Next in our list comes Ian Terrance Botham, Englands Greatest all-rounder and very much a larger than life character. Making his debut in 1977 he was a fine swing bowler and swashbuckling batsman. In 102 Tests he took 383 wickets at an average of 28.40, and scored 5200 runs at an average of 33.54. Often in trouble with authority, he was nevertheless made England captain aged only 24, but the appointment did not last long. With an innate belief in his own ability, he was often at his best when attacking from seemingly impossible situations, an example of this being his innings of 149 not out, against Australia at Headingly in 1981. Retiring in 1992, after cricket he would do much good work for charity, raising in the region of £10 million for Leukaemia Research. Ian Botham was knighted in 2007.
In 1978, Kapildev Ramlal Nikhanj made his debut for India. He would become known to the cricketing world simply as Kapil Dev, and captain India in their Cricket World Cup win in 1983. Another fine swing bowler and a clean hitter of the cricket ball, Kapil Dev would play 131 Tests for India, finally retiring in 1994. Scoring 5248 runs at an average of 31.05, he would also take 434 wickets at an average of 29.64. Still very much feted wherever he goes in India, Kapil Dev did much to further the cause of cricket in his homeland.
Shane Warne enters the list primarily as a bowler. Making his debut for Australia in 1992, he played in 145 test matches, and took 708 wickets at an average of 25.41. He reintroduced the art of leg-spin bowling back into Test cricket and is a national icon in Australia. He scored 3154 runs at an average of 17.32, but never managed to score a century in that time. He retired after the Ashes series in 2007, where he helped Australia achieve a 5-0 victory over the old enemy, England. Another figure who could be controversial off the field, on it he was the consumate professional, often bowling all day in his countries cause.
Sri Lanka only entered the Test cricket arena in 1982, but have managed to produce a cricketer for this list. Primarily a medium-fast bowler, Chaminda Vaas, bowled stump to stump and could bring the ball in to the right-handed batsmen, gaining many dismissals lbw. Debuting in 1994 he took 355 wickets at an average of 29.58, playing in 111 Test matches. Batting, he scored 3089 runs at an average of 24.32. He is still very much missed by his side, who have yet to find an adequate replacement.
After their years out of Test cricket due to the apartheid regime, South Africa finally re-entered Test cricket in 1992. In 1995, Shaun Pollock made his Test debut. From a family of strong cricketers, his uncle Graeme Pollock also having played Test cricket, Pollock was an accurate seam bowler, with the ability to land the ball where he wanted to. Playing 108 tests between 1995-2008, Pollock took 421 wickets at an average of 23.11. As a powerful lower order batsman, he also scored 3781 runs at an average of 32.31. It was his bowling, along with that of his opening partner Allan Donald, that helped South Africa re-cement their place as a powerful Test playing nation.
The most recent player to achieve this remarkable cricketing milestone is the New Zealander, Daniel Vettori. Vettori made his debut in 1997 and is still playing today. An orthodox left-arm spin bowler, Vettori is also New Zealand's captain. As the youngest player ever to have represented New Zealand in Test cricket, up until January 19, 2011, Vettori has played in 105 Tests, taking 345 wickets at an average of 33.98. In recent years, with the responsibility of captaincy, Vettori has move up the batting order. He now has a total of 4167 runs at an average of 30.19. He is one of the world's most recognisable cricketers, being one of the few to still play in prescription spectacles.
All of these cricketers are true champions of their sport, and all have had long careers playing at the highest level. There may have been greater individual batsmen and bowlers, but as all-rounders they are always in the game and contributing to the team effort. A distinguished club indeed.
This article was written with reference to the ESPN cricinfo website, and a lot of cricket matches watched, live or on television.