Left-handed batsmen have been among the most productive and stylish batsmen in the history of cricket, and the number of left-handed batsmen has increased in recent decades. Peter Roebuck, an English cricket commentator, notes that while only 23 percent of runs scored in Test cricket in the 1980s were scored by left-handers, that number reached 37 percent by 2008. Left-handed batsmen have to cope with rough areas on the pitch and difficult bowling angles. Those angles, however, also create scoring opportunities for the left-hander.
Cricket bats and helmets are the same for everyone, but certain items of equipment are made differently for right- and left-handers. Get batting gloves that have extra padding on the left thumb, as this is the thumb that is more likely to be hit for left-handed batsmen. Look for leg-guards that have extra flaps of protection on the inside of the left leg and the outside of the right leg, as those are the areas that will face the bowler.
The top hand in the cricket grip provides the control in batting. As a left-handed batsman, that will be your right hand. Grip the top of the bat firmly with your right hand while placing your left hand loosely on the handle about 1 or 2 inches above the blade of the bat. Former Australian batsman Greg Chappell also advises that you initiate the back-lift of your bat by cocking the wrist of your top hand. These practices will allow your right hand to dominate your stroke-play.
Batsmen have to contend with rough areas on the pitch left by bowlers’ footmarks. Bowlers will try to land their pitches in these areas to make the ball bounce and spin awkwardly. Rough areas affect left-handed batsmen more than right-handed ones because of where most bowlers run when delivering. Take your stance 1 or 2 feet outside of the batting crease, when facing a fast bowler, to cover the rough. When facing slow bowlers, take one or two quick steps out of your crease to meet the ball before or just as it bounces.
In cricket, a bowler delivers from either side of the pitch and so is able to create quite significant angles in his deliveries. As a left-hander, you will most often face deliveries angled away from you that are meant to induce an edge--similar to a foul tip--to the wicket-keeper and other fielders placed there to catch you. Bowlers will also change sides and angle their deliveries in towards you to hit your wicket. Knowing the bowler’s intention will help you to defend against his tactics.
Your job as a batsman is to score runs. You must take advantage of delivery angles to assist you in your shot-making. In practice, have someone throw balls angled away from you and practice hitting them towards the cover position, similar to hitting down the third-base line in baseball. Have the person change position and throw balls towards you for you to hit towards the mid-wicket position, similar to the first-base line. Most successful left-handed batsmen score lots of runs through cover and mid-wicket.
- Brisbane Times: In batting, the one on the left is the one in the right; Peter Roebuck; December 2008
- “Greg Chappell on Coaching: A Revolutionary Approach to Learning, Playing and Coaching Cricket in the 21st Century”; Greg Chappell; 2005