Most probably the last true allrounder to play for India was Manoj Prabhakar. He used to open both batting and bowling for India, Had the ability to play long innings and also to swing the ball. But then, it was quite a bit of match-fixing and little bit of Jayasuriya hitting at Delhi, in 1996 World Cup that forced him out of the team...forever!!
Before that, of course, we produced Kapil Dev. The "Haryana Hurrican" set great records and still remains one of the best allrounder the cricket world has ever seen. But apart from these two, I can't really recall an Indian cricketer who had the ability to win matches through both bat or ball.
Bowlers like Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble and Sunil Joshi always showed signs of batting talent and on the other hand, batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly showed they had something with the ball as well, but none can be called as an allrounder. We also have Agit Agarkar - he performed many times with ball, quite a few times with bat and most of the times - didn't performed at all. And that's why, even after playing 26 test matches and 150 ODI's, he is in and out of the team.
The last option we had was a Wicket-keeper who can win matches through his bat. We had brilliant wicket-keepers like Sayed Kirmani, Kiran More and Nayan Mongia, but I can't recall a single match they won through their all round ability. Then we had Sayed Saba Karim, coming from Bihar and showed some real batting talent but lacked the edge with his keeping. He still would have played many more matches but one day, during his comeback match, a Kumble delivery hit his eyes and he never came back to cricket.
We always had great batting and an "OK" bowling.. what we really missed was an allrounder. And somehow people kept going back to Kapil Dev and asked him the same question time and again - "What are the chances that India will see another Kapil??" And to this question, he recently answered - "My dad is 70 and my mom is 60, so the chances of India seeing another Kapil Dev is next to zero!!"
Well, today - 24th of January, we can proudly say that we have two allrounders - Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan. They surely have that allrounders talent and also have proved them, but the best thing I like about them is their understanding of cricket. They are young, they are quick and they are hungry..
You may not know but when Dhoni started his innings on day 3, faisalabad test, he was given 24 straight bouncers...He neglected all of them and also the comments and smiles from Shoaib Akhtar. And when he had had enough, he unleashed his first pull short. Result - huge six. And Shoaib Akhtar out of attack. In came Danish Kaneria who approached Dhoni while following through in his second delivery - made eye contact. Result - Next ball out of the ground. Practically!! Game had to be stopped for few minutes to fetch the ball and also dry it as it might landed into some kind of fluid. And another huge six of the 5th ball... that's Dhoni for you. He knows opposition is coming hard on him but he waits for his opportunity and when he decided to go for it - he back himself. I remember him saying somewhere - "The first six you try to hit is the toughest one. If you clear boundary first time, rest becomes easy". And we have the result - He made 116 and remained not out.
On the other hand, we all know that Irfan Pathan can hit the ball hard, but he never tried to match Dhoni. The two young "INDIAN ALLROUNDERS" played out the last session and then, they did extremely well to keep going on Day 4. Dhoni ultimately made 144 off 152 balls while Pathan again fell in nervous nineties. He made exactly 90.
When Sachin Tendulkar got out - who technically wasn't out (he was not touching his bat while the ball hit his right gloves), but he walked, Pakistan must have thought that India is one batsmen short in this test match and this is their chance. But one thing they forgot - India have two allrounders now!!