Left is not right in cricket this season!

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

New Delhi: India might have a definite edge in the upcoming test series against England if one were to go by the number of left handed cricketers in the squad. As against six in the England team, India has selected only three for the upcoming five match test series. The advantage India has is because so far this year left hand cricketers have failed to draw attention.

The year has so far belonged primarily to right hand 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, tops the list of run getters so far this year 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 Rider 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 tenth ranks respectively.

Is it just a trend or it is in the genes of right handers to dominate lefties? The doctor fraternity seems divided on the issue.

Ripan Sippy, a clinical psychologist from Delhi, asserts that medically it has been proven that right handers are better performers. “People whose right side of brain is strong become left handers and vice-versa. Righties are always seen as better in comparison to lefties. However, left handers are more fluent in whatever work they do,” says Dr Sippy.

On the other hand, 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 emphasized that it is difficult to generalise, as a lot depends on the overall grooming of a person.

Dr Malhotra further explains that left brain function is associated with logic, analytic 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 who have under-performed against 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 eight ranks, respectively.

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

Cricketer turned commentator Surinder Khanna, however, believes that hard work matters more than anything else. “The key reason behind right handers over 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 bat,” Khanna argues.

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