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Rise of lefties suggests time for a coaching revolution: Roebuck

Posted By: Staff

Sydney, Dec. 23 (ANI): A revolution is occurring in cricket, and it's high time coaches took heed of it. Cricket has always been regarded as a two-handed game but, all the manuals insist on placing the stronger hand at the bottom of the willow. The mood, however, is changing, feels noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck.

He feels that before long coaches will pause to reconsider and keep an open mind on the topic of which hand to bat with - right or left. All the evidence indicates that, as far as cricket is concerned, switchovers enjoy an advantage, Roebuck adds.

In an article for the Sydney Morning Herald, he cites any number of examples of right handers preferring to bat left-handed.

There is Australian middle-order bat Michael Hussey for instance.

Michael was pictured batting right-handed on a concrete driveway. It was a reminder that he did not change tack until his ninth year, and then not by inclination but as a tribute to Allan Border.

Hussey made the grade precisely because he stumbled upon a better method. His reasons were personal, his practice was widespread and increasingly popular.

Marcus North and Justin Langer are also natural right-handers who took up the southpaw style by instinct. After all, North bowls tidy off-breaks.

For that matter, Graeme Wood, CEO at the WACA, also defied orthodoxy as did John Inverarity, except that he had a stronger left paw and so batted right-handed.

Consider the call-ups for the Perth Test match. Narsingh Deonarine bowled some tidy off-breaks with his right arm, and batted left-handed. In that regard, he was following in the footsteps of Shiv Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle.

According to the Cricket Australia season guide, 12 of the 30 Caribbean cricketers named as candidates for the tour are switchovers. It is an extraordinary statistic demanding an explanation.

Consider Australia's team for the MCG Test match. Phillip Hughes's return means another switchover has been added to the team. He joins Hussey, Clarke and North in a top six packed with them.

Consider the other contenders for the job. Phil Jaques is a southpaw in every regard but David Warner, Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja are lefties only as far as batting is concerned. As a matter of fact, there are 16 switchovers in NSW's 36-man squad.

Not sure about Chris Rogers. Ed Cowan is another mix-and-match player whose stocks are rising.

In some countries, left-handed batting was for decades barely tolerated. Inevitably, too, parents routinely buy right handed batting gloves for right-handed children. Unsurprisingly, coaches assume that youngsters who throw, bowl and write with their left hands will stand that way around at the crease. Given a free rein, how many more switchovers might have emerged?

In defiance of logic, orthodoxy is still drilled into young hopefuls.

Langer, Roebuck says believes his mixed method has helped him. Asked on ABC Radio how he'd advise a five-year-old child with a stronger right hand to bat, he replied, "left-handed". (ANI)

Story first published: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 13:50 [IST]
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