International Lefthanders Day is observed annually on August 13, to mark the distinctiveness of an individual who performs most of tasks with his/her left hand. In cricket, left-handers are a revered lot – while their cover drives always put them on a pedestal. Similarly, a left-arm bowler, especially the pacers have equally enthralled us all over the years. On the occasion of International Left Handers Day, we take a look at a few prolific left-handed- batsmen and bowlers across all formats.
Brian Lara (West Indies): The grace, power and precision and all associated adjectives fall short when the Caribbean legend used to flay oppositions at will. While he left an indelible mark on Test cricket, he is also one of the most successful batsmen of all time with over 22,000 runs, including 53 tons combined (11,953 in Tests; 10, 405 runs in ODIs). The former West Indies great still holds the record for the highest individual score of 400 (not out) in Tests.
Matthew Hayden (Australia): The former Australian opener not only made his presence felt at the crease, but also had a big role in changing the way Test openers went about their game, that helped Australia become an all-conquering side in the 2000s.The southpaw swept all before him and retired with 8,625 Test runs, while smashing away 6,133 runs in ODIs.
David Gower (England): England’s blue-eyed wonder was also one of Test cricket’s most artistic batsmen. His elegant cover drive was a treat and the cricketer used it superbly on his way to amass more than 8,231 Test runs at an average of 44.25.
Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka): Besides his splendid wicket keeping skills, Sangakkara was also a top-order batsman. The mind boggling numbers speak volumes about his prowess across formats, the former Sri Lankan skipper is probably one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen of the 21st century. The magical left-hander in his 404 ODIs and 134 Tests, amassed 14,235 and 12,400 runs. Beating some of the best contemporaries and greats of yesteryears, Sangakkara tops the list of most number of dismissals by a wicketkeeper with 482 (383 catches, 99 stumpings).
Sourav Ganguly (India): Besides his flamboyant batting, the former Indian skipper is also credited for changing the face of Indian cricket globally. The southpaw’s style of stepping out against slow bowlers especially left-arm spinners has been the most exciting highlight of his memorable career, in which he scored more than 18,000 international runs in his 15-year long illustrious career.
Adam Gilchrist (Australia): Certainly, one of the greatest wicketkeeper of all times, with 472 dismissals (the second highest in history). The former Australian skipper could belt the ball and was capable of changing the course of matches. The southpaw was also known for this attacking batting style and big-hitting abilities, with which he scored 5,570 runs in 96 Tests at an average of 47.60 and strike-rate of 81.95. Topping them all, the soft-spoken cricketer was known for this sportsmanship and honest approach to the game.
Alistair Cook (England): The former England captain is the most prolific left-handed batsman in Test cricket, scoring 12,472 runs in 161 matches. He became England’s all-time leading run scorer in 2015, surpassing compatriot Graham Gooch’s 20-year-old record of 8,900 runs. Cook holds the record of captaining England in the most number of Tests (59) and jointly seconds the list with 24 wins, just one behind Michael Vaughn (26 wins).
Wasim Akram (Pakistan): Undoubtedly, the greatest left-arm fast bowler in the history of the sport. The former Pakistan skipper could rattle wickets at will and had complete mastery over swing and seam. Akram also had the innate ability to move the ball both ways in one delivery, which usually left scores of batsmen dumbstruck. But most importantly the pacer was a true sultan of swing.