August 13 is World Left Hander's Day. The day was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc. International Left Hander's Day was created to celebrate sinistrality and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world. It celebrates left-handed people’s uniqueness and differences, a subset of humanity comprised of seven to ten percent of the world's population.
In cricket, there are plenty of left-handed cricketers who have made their mark on the international stage. Be it bowling, battinr or fielding, left-handers have made their mark impeccably on the global stage. Here is News Nations squad of left-handers who make it to the playing XI. The criteria is one or two players from the top 10 Test playing nations which will feature in the squad. The rest of the players have gotten notable mentions. Here is News Nation's left-handers playing XI with a 12th man.
1) Sourav Ganguly
The Prince of Kolkata and the god of the off side. When one talks about Sourav Ganguly, one can only think of those off drives. In ODIs, he was a brilliant opener while in the Tests, he was a solid option. Throw in the weight of captaincy and Dada becomes the ultimate player in the squad.
2) Adam Gilchrist
It was this left-hander which changed the way how wicketkeepers bat in ODIs. Even MS Dhoni was in awe of this cricketer. Adam Gilchrist of Australia added a different dimension to batting and keeping with his aggression. In World Cup finals, Gilchrist's two fifties and a century put him in a different league altogether.
3) Brian Lara
He was like a Bharatnatyam dancer on the wicket. But, Brian Lara was an artist when it came to batting. His sublime prowess in tackling the spin bowling of Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan was legendary. His knocks of 375 and 400 in Tests and 501 in First Class matches made him a batsman for big scores.
4) Alastair Cook
He used to open the batting in conditions which were incredibly tough for openers. Yet, he prospered for 13 years. Sir Alastair Cook scored a fifty and a hundred in his debut match and it ended the same way in his last match. In between, he helped England reach the top of the Test rankings and was part of four Ashes winning contests. His 766 runs in 2010/11 in Australia was key in England winning a series there after 24 years.
5) Sanath Jayasuriya
The Matara Mauler was devastation personified. The Indian bowlers bore the brunt of Typhoon Jayasuriya during the 90s. His aggressive hitting in the first 15 overs of the powerplay was a consistent blueprint which was earlier laid down by New Zealand's Mark Greatbach in 1992. His partnership with Romesh Kaluwitharana was legendary in Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup winning campaign.
6) Graeme Smith
He captained South Africa in over 100 Tests. When it came to the fourth innings of a Test, he was the Go-to man. He took over when South Africa were at their lowest ebb. Graeme Smith was calmness, aggression and brilliance personified. Smith was key in South Africa's twin successes in Australia and England in 2008 and 2012 and played a big part in South Africa not losing an away series for eight years.
7) Andy Flower
A left-handed wicketkeeper was a rare commodity in the 90s but Andy Flower of Zimbabwe was sublime. He employed the sweep effectively and even now, he is considered the gold standard of Zimbabwe cricket in terms of sheer contribution with the bat and behind the stumps.
8) Kumar Sangakkara
The word greatness can be easily attributed to Kumar Sangakkara, who was the bedrock of the Sri Lankan batting for over a decade. Sangakkara's consistency and appetite for big runs on a big occasion is testament to his average of 58 in Tests. In the 2015 World Cup, Sangakkara smashed four consecutive centuries which only enhanced his greatness.
9) Wasim Akram
He could swing the ball in, swing the ball away and also was a master of nailing the yorkers in the death. Wasim Akram of Pakistan revolutionised the way bowling evolved in the 90s. His partnership with Waqar Younis formed one of the most destructive bowling combinations in world cricket. Wasim was the first left-handed bowler ever to reach 400 wickets in Tests.
10) Mitchell Starc
At 6'4", this guy bowls in excess of 90 mph and is deadly accurate - a very rare factor. Mitchell Starc learnt the trade from Wasim Akram and he has many attributes, including nailing the perfect yorker in the death overs and also troubling the top batsmen of the team with his nagging accuracy.
11) Trent Boult
In many ways, New Zealand's upswing fortunes in Tests and ODIs can be attributed to the swing and accuracy of Trent Boult. His Test numbers are amazing and in the World Cup 2019 semi-final, he got the big wicket of Virat Kohli. In the 2015 World Cup, Boult was the joint highest wicket-taker with Starc. Boult's brilliance on the World stage makes him a terrific asset.
12) Shakib Al Hasan
The individual who put Bangladesh cricket on the World map. Shakib Al Hasan is the leading run and wicket-taker in Tests for Bangladesh and has played a massive part in Bangladesh becoming a major force in cricket. When the exploits of Shakib are mentioned in Bangladesh's cricket history, it will be enormous.
The other notable players to miss the list are Matthew Hayden, Yuvraj Singh, Saeed Anwar and Arjuna Ranatunga. Since a squad can be of 16 players and 11 can play, these brilliant names miss out. However, their contributions are immense. Yuvraj Singh is acknowledged as the greatest match-winner India has produced while Ranatunga changed the global cricketing world's outlook towards Sri Lanka. Anwar held the highest individual score in ODIs for 13 years when he hit 194 against India in Chennai in 1997. Hayden, on the other hand, was a brute at the top who decimated bowlers with ease.
News Nation's Left-handed Squad
Sourav Ganguly, Adam Gilchrist, Brian Lara, Alastair Cook, Graeme Smith, Sanath Jayasuriya, Andy Flower, Kumar Sangakkara, Wasim Akram, Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Shakib Al Hasan
Notable omissions - Matthew Hayden, Arjuna Ranatunga, Saeed Anwar and Yuvraj Singh