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Some of the greatest batsmen of all time have been left handed. Brian Lara and Allan Border are first and third respectively on the all-time Test run scoring charts and plenty of other feature in the top 30: Matthew Hayden, David Gower, Sir Garfield Sobers, Shiv Chanderpaul, Justin Langer, Mark Taylor, Clive Lloyd and Gary Kirsten.

These are just the most successful in terms of runs scored, although some of the names hint at the thing that gives left handers that something special: style. Gower’s grace and Hayden’s power are combined in Lara and Sobers and it is a sight that is becoming increasingly familiar.

Four players in the current Test top 10 rankings are left handed, with 10 featuring in the top 30. This is far above the normal ratio and that of other sports, although many are not actually left handed. Graeme Smith, Saurav Ganguly, Chris Gayle, Chanderpaul and Michael Hussey all bowl right arm, suggesting that is their stronger hand. Left handedness in batting is mainly associated with footwork and players can actually swap at an early early age and develop as good players in the opposite style from that which they started with. Best dream 11 team

Teams like to have left handed players as it provides variation. Bowlers have to alter their line of attack if they are bowling at a right and left hander, which means they cannot settle into a groove of bowling in the same place. The fielding captain also has to continually change his field.

Similarly, it is useful to have left arm bowlers. They provide a different angle of attack, usually bowling from over the wicket, which when combined with swing can make life difficult for right handers. Ryan Sidebottom and Chaminda Vaas have this formula and botha re in the world’s top 10. Sohail Tanvir’s amazing success in the Indian Premier League proved how dangerous this combination can be, although he has extra pace and a unique bowling action.

Left arm finger spinners such as Monty Panesar (ranked 11th) and Daniel Vettori (20th) are more potent than conventional right arm spinners. They turn the ball away from the right hander (as the more attacking leg spinners do) and are far more likely to get LBW decisions.

All Test teams like to have this mix of right and left handers and there are plenty to currently choose from. A current Test left handers team might look like this: Hayden, Smith, Sangakkara, Chanderpaul, Hussey, Ganguly, Vettori, Vaas, Zaheer Khan, Sidebottom, Panesar.

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