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Left is right for Bangladesh

There was a time in Bangladesh cricket when there was hardly a left-handed batsman in the top order. But a total change was seen in the team that swept to victory on Monday.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2011 00:52 IST
Nilankur Das

There was a time in Bangladesh cricket when there was hardly a left-handed batsman in the top order. But a total change was seen in the team that swept to victory on Monday.

Their batting was already laden with four left-handers for the first four matches of the World Cup. The inclusion of Shahriar Nafees in place of Raqibul Hasan, made it five out of five left-handers in the top of the Bangladesh batting.

Bangladesh also included Suhrawadi Shuvo, who replaced off-spinning all-rounder Naeem Islam. That made three left-arm spinners in the side. That included skipper Shakib-Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak. The trio bowled in tandem to pin down the Dutch batsmen and shared five wickets among them. Four Dutch batsmen were run-out while one was bagged by Rubel Hossain.

Left in style
There are many theories about why there is a sudden influx of left-handers in Bangladesh cricket. Cricketing logic suggested by former skippers is that Bangladesh always had many left-arm spinners; and that over the years their number has grown so much that almost every club uses multiple left-arm spinners very early in a match.

A left-handed batsman was more likely to be comfortable against left-arm spin, they said, explaining the rise of southpaws.

"It is not about left-handers, it's just that players who have been successful in domestic cricket have got a chance here," left-handed batsman Imrul Kayes said, perhaps accepting that the predominance of left-arm spinners could have given rise to the number of successful left-handed batsmen.

Former skipper Akram Khan, who is now a national selector, said, "The pool of cricketers has expanded and so you are getting left-handed batsmen as well. It's a coincidence that the top five today were left handers."

Shakib, who is the only natural left-hander in the top five that included Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Nafees and Tamim Iqbal, felt it was a coincidence but accepted that growing up watching former Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar could have had something to do with it.