4 Reasons for Five Left-Handed in Top 7 Against Australia
Why do Indian left-handed players dominate their T20 batting lineup? There have been at least five left-handers in India’s top seven since the country’s visit of Ireland in mid-August. The Indian Express is aware that the selection committee spent a great deal of time following the most recent IPL season studying the strategies used by previous winners as well as the most successful Twenty20 teams throughout the globe.
The causes of this leftward tilt are identified by two coaches, Bharat Arun and Sridharan Sriram, who have coached bowling teams from Australia and India. Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, and Hardik Pandya are among the important players who have disappeared from the team. However, there are other reasons why Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Rinku Singh, and Sanju Samson have been passed over in favor of Rahul Tripathi, Rajat Patidar, and Rahul Tripathi. India has had five left-handers in the top seven in the first two Twenty20 Internationals in the current series against Australia, with Axar Patel coming after the aforementioned.
Arun, who has also coached the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, draws attention to the current state of affairs, where right-arm pacers typically attempt to angle the ball across left-handed batsmen, but they are rarely very successful even with a change in pace.
It is not always effective to slant across
“A left-handed batsman has a greater reach when facing a right-arm bowler. Furthermore, as a batsman, you have more angles to explore because you are slanting across. The majority of training sessions are geared for right-handers, if you see them. Thus, you have no prior knowledge of the angle. Bowling simply over the wicket is preferred by most pacers, Arun informs The Indian Express.
“A left-handed batsman has a greater reach when facing a right-arm bowler. Furthermore, as a batsman, you have more angles to explore because you are slanting across. The majority of training sessions are geared for right-handers, if you see them. Thus, you have no prior knowledge of the angle. Arun says, “Most pacers prefer to bowl exclusively over the wicket.
On November 26, it happened during India’s second Twenty20 match against Australia. With his slower off cutters, Sean Abbott attempted to break away from Yashasvi Jaiswal, who bats left-handed. Jaiswal retained his shape, patiently waited for the ball to do its thing, then skillfully cut the first two balls through the point boundary, advertising hoardings. Abbot attempted to accelerate the next ball, but he was unable to curve it in this time, and Jaiswal hit a superb steer through the gully.
Right-arm bowlers attempt that angle for a reason, according to Sriram, who assisted Australia’s coaches throughout their 2021 T20 World Cup victory and their IPL stints with the Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the Lucknow Super Giants.
“There aren’t many right-arm pacers in your lineup that can pitch the ball back in completely. Thus, you are designed to function in a constrained area, and even the smallest amount of extra width results in punishment,” Sriram explains to this publication. Abbott would confirm.
Even the LBW threat wanes while bowling from above the stumps if one lacks the ability to bend the ball in. With this away-angle, the ball would have most likely pitched outside the leg stump if it were striking the stumps. The ball veers further away to outside off, like Abbot did, when the bowlers hit the stumps’ lines.
It’s challenging to bowl left-handers well-outside-off yorkers
With their yorkers and exceptionally full deliveries, bowlers often go way beyond the off stump and nearly hit the tramlines when facing right-handed batsman. In order to conceal the slicing, they also have a wide third man and a deep backward point. When facing Hardik Pandya, who frequently takes the off-stump guard and slices outside-off balls to that area, MS Dhoni would consistently use this strategy.
However, the strategy isn’t always effective when used against left-handed hitters. According to Bharat Arun, there’s a rationale.
There aren’t many bowlers in the world who can bowl at that angle, but one method to hamper left-handers is to get around the wicket and produce those wide yorkers, adds Arun. It’s hard for them to stay inside the wide-line when they try it from over the wicket, so they either wind up feeding the left-handers or spraying it too wide.
Arun claims that the long-standing unease towards left-handers still exists. Bowlers that are uncomfortable bowling to left-handers are few in number. The presence of left-handed batsmen in the top seven changes the game considerably since bowlers will find it difficult to implement their strategies even if there are a few right-handers positioned between them. The margin of error is just too small, so they have to continually moving the lines based on who is on strike, Arun notes.
Issues that spinners encounter
Not only do pacers struggle against left-handers, but spinners also do. Shivam Dube was a valuable asset to the Chennai Super Kings during the IPL. Following his lackluster finishing career at Royal Challengers Bangalore, CSK employed Dube to neutralize the spinners in the previous season. In order to take down the spinners, opponents would have to underbowl them by using him as a floater. His consecutive sixes off Rashid Khan in the final changed the tide in favour of CSK.
Sriram enumerates the problems that left-handed bowlers pose to spinners.
A finger spinner used by the adversary is completely neutralized by the left-right combo. Thus, due to match-ups, some teams will have to alter their lineups in order to compete against a left-handed heavy club, according to Sriram.
While Gujarat Titans alternated between having three and four southpaws in the batting order, Chennai Super Kings used four left-handers in their top seven throughout their most recent IPL title-winning season. Even the Mumbai Indians used a variety of left-right combinations in their batting order throughout their winning seasons.
It is not as though teams are unaware of this strategy, of course. To counter such advantages, some have turned to left-arm seamers and wrist-spinners, and thus far, it has shown to be a very effective strategy. I believe if a left-handed heavy lineup works will depend on the composition of the bowling squad. When an off-spinner bowls during the powerplay, the batting team will search for other options. You will have many of options for cover in the IPL, says Sriram.
Squad composition and matchups go wrong
The tricky part is that, in contrast to franchise cricket, where clubs can select from a large pool of players, in international and ICC events, there are only fifteen players available. Not many teams have the luxury of selecting an off-spinner, who might only be needed in one game, because each place has a different importance.
In addition to being difficult to use in the middle, a left-right batsman combination neutralizes a lot of matchups. Since leg-spinners and left-arm spinners tend to move the ball away from right-handers, most teams prefer to have one of these players in the starting XI in an era where off-spinners are scarce in T20 cricket.
Their preparations are disrupted by having so many left-handers, which could lead them to underbowl in crucial situations or delay the arrival of spinners. The fact that Rinku Singh has been able to have an impact even in the final overs is also a result of how difficult it is for fast bowlers to execute the wide, fifth-stump yorker lines that they typically like to pitch to right-handed batsmen.
India’s T20 team is creating their own identity during a time when the ODI team has received all the attention. If India’s aggressive batting strategy was the reason they seemed unbeatable in the World Cup, then their left-handed batsmen will be the key to their comeback in the T20 World Cup, which will take place in the Caribbean and the US in June and July.