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Left hand batsman struggle to get it right this season

Shikhar Dhawan © Getty Images
Shikhar Dhawan © Getty Images

Jul 10, 2014

India might have a definite edge over England in the upcoming five-Test series if one were to go by the number of left-handed cricketers in each squad. As against six in England team, India has elected only three southpaws. The advantage is with MS Dhoni‘s team because so far this year left-handed cricketers have failed to draw attention.

The year has so far belonged primarily to right-handed cricketers as they have totally dominated the proceedings in various departments of the game. India has been no exception with only two (Shikar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja) lefties making the grade in top 20.

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of performance of top 20 cricketers, who have played all three formats of the game this year, shows contrasting fortunes. Only seven out of the 20 top run scorers in Tests this year are left handers. Chris Rogers, the Australian opening batsman, is the only one who is part of the top 10 run scorers in the longest format of the game.

The number of top performers in One Day Internationals (ODIs) is also seven. Here, the top two of the 20 slots have been captured by left handers from New Zealand — Jesse Ryder and Corey Anderson. In T20s too, the left hand top performers occupy only six slots in the list, while Chris Gayle (West Indies) is sixth on the list, Stephan Myburgh (Netherlands) and Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) follow with the ninth and 10th rank respectively. Is it just a trend or it is in the genes of right handers to dominate lefties?

Dr Sameer Malhotra, head, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare believes left handed sportsmen may have a tactical advantage. He opines, “Left-handed people process information using synthesis that is looking into whole and matching patterns, while right-handed use analysis to process information that’s broken down into smaller parts.”

He also emphasised that it is difficult to generalise, as a lot depends on the overall grooming of a person. Dr Malhotra further explained that left part of brain is associated with logic, analytical thought, language, science and math and right brain is associated with holistic thought, institution, creativity, art and music.

Interestingly, it’s not only batsmen but left-arm bowlers too have underperformed compared to righties. In Test matches played so far in 2014, there are four bowlers who are part of top 20 cricketers in terms of scalping wickets. While Australian premier left hander fast bowler Mitchell Johnson tops the list, Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath and New Zealand’s Neil Wagner followed with third and eighth rank, respectively.

In ODIs, there are six left-handed bowlers who are part of top 20. However, none is part of top 10 wicket takers club. Moreover, the worst lean patch for left arm bowlers is in the shortest form of the game. In T20s, only three bowlers are part of top 20 wicket takers. Krishmar Santokie from West Indies is second on the list, while Shakib Al Hasan is 10th.

Cricketer turned commentator Surinder Khanna believes that hard work matters more than anything else. “The key reason behind right handers out performing lefties is that they are more in numbers. One should only be judged on the basis of his performance not by which hand he bowls or bats,” Khanna said.

This was first published by DNA.

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