Many Indian teams of the 1990s and 2000s were troubled. Sanath Jayasuriya on runs and misery, Andy Flower’s range of sweep shots, Matthew Hayden’s towering reach or Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s immovability, the underlying theme was a left-hander standing India’s way.
The figures are telling as much. Newcomers Zimbabwe and Bangladesh’s left-handed batsmen averaged higher against India than any other team in the 1990s and 2000s.
India has become a giant in world cricket both on and off the field. India are now a capable team away from home. And that’s largely on the back of a bowling attack. One who can take wickets consistently. Much has been written about India’s bowling attack. Who has played a large number of Tests. Of the 28 individual centuries scored against India in this period, six have come from left-handed batsmen.
Restricting this to only Tests played in India, the average for left-handed batsmen further drops to 23. Which is the lowest in any country against the host country. Pattern is of great importance with the India Australia tour. The stakes are high riding on the left-handed batsmen with the top order. There have been two reasons in the grand scheme of things that have reduced the effectiveness of left-handed batsmen in Test cricket in general.
For fast bowlers, this was an increase in the angle around the wicket by right arm fast bowlers. Despite the fact that bowling around the wicket has been in existence for almost as long as cricket. It has gained more relevance since 2015. Stuart Broad and then English bowling coach Ottis Gibson administered it in heavy doses in the home Ashes against the touring Australians in the summer. Through which he got a lot of profit. It was only a matter of time. when many others followed. Fast bowlers often move to left-handed batsmen to play the stumps when the freshness of the new ball has faded.
Ishant Sharma changed the direction of his career after 2017. Natural swing for left-handers to bring both sides into play. Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Siraj, outswing bowlers by default, have included deliveries to left-handers dropping or angling the wicket. In Siraj’s case, he has used a more conventional over-the-wicket delivery that wobbles over the wicket, creating a large acute angle between the left-handers. Which often creates a bad position for left-handed players at release. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have also often resorted to round the wicket attack. Although he has used traditional methods of release instead of the scattered ball.