Five legendary left-handers who changed Indian cricket forever
‘Sinisters’ as they call the left-handers are the most elegant and elite class of players in sports like cricket. They add their special touch to every aspect of the game and thus catch the eye of the on-lookers. The world of cricket has seen some amazing left-handed players be it batsmen or bowlers and each of them possesses a peculiarity which has done wonders for their respective countries.
India too has been a breeding ground for lefties, having produced world class players who continue to dominate world cricket. They have been match-winners in their own right and thus have created a special place in our hearts. The 3 coveted ICC triumphs under Dhoni wouldn’t have been possible if these southpaws hadn’t come to the fore and won crucial moments in the game. Here we look at 5 left handers who changed the course of Indian cricket forever:
The present president of BCCI has been one of the best Indian batsman the country has ever produced. A left hander who ruled the off-side and loved dancing down the track to get the better of the spinners. During his long career playing the game’s 2 cherished formats then, ‘Dada’ amassed 7212 runs in 113 test matches and 11363 runs in 311 Odis. The ex-captain of India was the one who initiated the aggressive brand of cricket and made us believe that success on foreign land is indeed possible.
He formed a potent opening pair with Sachin Tendulkar during the late ’90s and early ’20s. It was under his captaincy that India made it to the finals of 2003 WC and won the historic Natwest Series in England in 2002 which was famously remembered for his celebrations in the balcony of the Lord’s cricket ground. Ganguly was certainly the one who gave us India’s successful white-ball captain, Dhoni who drafted him in the side as a regular keeper then.
‘The Prince of Kolkata’ continues to inspire generations of youngsters to take up this fascinating sport and bring laurels to the country. At the moment, he is doing an excellent job for the welfare of the players and state associations and making sure that the sport gets its utmost respect and honour.
The Chandigarh batsman is widely renowned as a ‘fighter’ in cricketing circle. Having won over many hardships and made a comeback, his life is indeed a story which one can follow belonging to different walks of life. His never say die attitude has seen his captains heap praises on the southpaw and had always been their go-to-man come any situation.
Singh had been a dominant figure in Indian cricket for more than 15 years and he is one of those players who enjoyed success across all formats. The stylish left-hander garnered 1900 runs from 40 tests, 8701 runs from 304 ODI’s and add to that 1177 runs from 58 T20s. His left-arm orthodox bowling was the reason for many downfalls of opponents. Singh managed to pick 148 runs spanning the three formats and most importantly these breakthroughs had come in the middle overs when the batsmen are set and looking to get after the bowler.
It is safe to say that Singh was ‘the critical factor’ who helped India in winning those WCs and saw the tricolor soar high in the deep sky. Everything came naturally to the all-rounder who was bestowed with the gift of timing and placement. His belligerent approach which has tore apart the opposition has seen many youngsters follow his footsteps. Apart from this, his electric fielding at point has made oppositions scratch their heads and look for other run-scoring areas. This is indeed his greatness which compels us and even the opposition to admire and love the man who has literally given his blood and sweat for the success of our nation.
Known as Mr. IPL for his illustrious record at the league playing predominantly for CSK, Raina has been a huge asset for the country in whatever opportunities he was presented with. Coming lower down the order, he resorted to proper cricketing shots for upping the ante and majority of the times assisted India in reaching those formidable totals.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman has amassed 13,355 runs playing various formats which also includes the IPL. His camaraderie with ex-captain Dhoni is the most talked about thing even today. Both share a wonderful bond with each other and that has gone a long way in ensuring their and the team’s success. CSK’s 3 IPL triumphs wouldn’t have been possible had they not been around. Fans are rightly calling his absence as the reason for the franchise’s failure this time around.
Barring his batting, Raina’s off-spin and razor-sharp reflexes in the field always provided a cutting edge over others and helped the teammates in face of adversity. His crucial cameo in the quarter-final match against Australia in the 2011 WC has still fans going gaga over it and that will be forever etched in their hearts just as the man himself!
The Delhi batsman earned a name for himself with his scintillating knocks of 75 and 97 in the finals of 2007 T20 WC and 2019 Odi WC respectively and was lovingly called by his fans asthe‘Man for the finals’! His grit, perseverance and passion for the game saw him climb some remarkable ladders in his cricketing career and the country shall never forget his invaluable contributions.
Gambhir accumulated 4154 runs from 58 tests, 5238 runs from 147 Odis and 932 runs from 37 T20s. For majority of his career, he stood as a solid figure at the top of the order and brought balance in the Indian lineup. His presence assisted someone like a Sehwag who could then destroy oppositions with his truculent approach and pile runs on the board. Gambhir always favoured a sound technique for building an innings and never resorted to rash or flashy shots to put the feet on the pedal.
He was mighty impressive with his ground shots and took them to the fore to score those daddy hundreds. He always found a way to score runs in testing conditions and situations and that is anaspect which sets him apart from others. The man has also been instrumental in KKR winning their 2 IPL titles in 2012 and 2014 and the credit has to go to his pugnacious, daredevil and influential captaincy which brought the best out of his players and allowed them to dominate the proceedings.
It is regretful that his international stay was curtailed due to some unfavourable circumstances and India could have enjoyed even greater success than it is witnessing now. Thus said, Gambhir has made the country proud owing to his illustrious achievements and continues to do so albeit as a political leader now!
The left arm seamer from Baroda came into national reckoning after featuring in the 2003 test series down under and since then hasn’t looked back for any. His test hat-trick against Pakistan at Karachi in 2006 has made its way into the record books of cricket. The all-rounder has always raised his hand when the team needed him and thus enjoyed some stellar success under the captaincy of Ganguly and Dhoni.
The swing sensation has picked 381 wickets and scored 3960 runs across different formats including the IPL and was every captain’s first choice with the new ball. His remarkable ability to swing the ball both ways troubled many batsmen upfront and compelled them to edge one, giving Pathan valuable wickets. He wasn’t the quickest going around but mighty effective with the weapons that he possessed in his bowling arsenal. Apart from moving the ball, Pathan executed the yorker length with precision and shattered opposition stumps more than often. Batsmen preferred staying in their crease and playing him cautiously rather than being too extravagant against the left-armer.
Inspite of being a bowling all-rounder, Pathan took a greater pride while batting for India and made sure he contributed as many as he could in the team’s cause. Skipper Ganguly or even Dhoni promoted him high in the batting order as a pinch hitter and gave him complete license to inflict a carnage. If the ball was in his arc, Pathan never failed to tonk it long and handsome. His bowling stint did come handy during his batting as he could comprehend the opposition’s mindset and react accordingly.
India shall never get an all-rounder as effective and selfless as Pathan and it is an honour to have witnessed him in the national colours doing a thankless job for our country to reach dizzy heights!