Playing against India in India has always been a gristly job for touring batsmen. Particularly against the Indian spinners, it is not going to be a fruitful outcome unless one is abundant with techniques & temperament. Indian bowlers, especially spinners, somehow know each and every grass on the pitch and always end up toying with the opposition batsmen.
However, there were times where few batsmen had their time against the Indian spinners. Tom Latham, for instance, had a fruitful tour against India in the recently concluded India vs New Zealand series. So this article is about those ‘very few’ left-handed batsmen who have shined against the Indian bowlers in Indian conditions.
These left-handed batsmen somehow faced the Indian bowlers effortlessly and made them look ordinary. One thing which I did notice common in most of these real talents is their enormous ability to sweep the ball. Maybe that’s the secret ingredient. Okay, let us now look at them one by one:
The first name that comes to my mind is Matthew Hayden. It will not be wrong, if we say Hayden’s cricketing career hit a high in the Indian tour of 2001 in which he scored himself a mighty 549 runs.
Read the interesting story of how he got selected for that tour in his own words.
In total, Hayden played 11 test matches in India, where he ended up scoring 1,888 runs with an average of 59. This includes 2 centuries with a highest score of 203 at Chennai.
In ODIs, Matthew Hayden has scored 703 Runs in and against India. His average of 54 comes with a strike rate of 87.76. These numbers might look simple now but are magical for 10 years ago.
Matthew Hayden’s powerful sweep off the spinners was his major strength and one can’t forget his innings against India in the 2003 World Cup Final.
Cricket fans of the 2000s can never forget the Zimbabwe cricket team of those days. It was a complete team which had created numerous upsets against other major cricketing teams. Andy Flower being the leading batsman and wicket keeper, never failed to damage Indian bowlers when Zimbabwe toured India in 2000 & 2002.
The elder of the Flower brothers has totally scored 1,010 runs in total of 13 cricket matches at a staggering average of 67.33. His 4 test matches in India had produced 643 Runs with an unbelievable average of 107.33, including a high score of 232*.
Andy Flower is considered the founder of the shot ‘Reverse Sweep’.
Alastair Cook is the second leading run scorer by any overseas batsman in test matches in India. He has got 1,235 test runs in a total of 13 test matches he played in India. One can easily find his dominance on Indian soil with these numbers.
Cook’s strength lies in his powerful drives and the consistent temperament towards Indian spinners. The former English skipper has proved his domination against Indian bowlers on most of the occasions. He is still a strong contender to break Sachin Tendukar’s Test Records.
But what he says is,
Here is another left handed batsman who has done more than alright against the Indian bowlers in both tests and ODIs played in India.
The West Indian batsman can’t do any wrong when it comes to batting against the Indian spinners as he has accumulated 609 Runs in 7 Test Matches & 491 Runs in 11 ODIs he played in India. His overall average of 55.00 is only next to Andy Flower on this list.
Chanderpaul is more famous for his unusual batting stance, but what made him more special is his longevity towards playing. He played almost 17 years for West Indies and contributed consistently well in the middle order. He is still playing county cricket in England.
Quinton De Kock
Finally, another left handed batsman from the land of Africa, who is interestingly a wicket keeper too. The modern day talent Quinton de Kock looks very young and this kid in cricket looks like he is here to break most of the records involving batting & keeping thanks to his age and performance.
Like the above legends, de Kock has also developed his liking for the Indian bowlers as he has scored 5 ODI centuries so far against India including 2 in India. In India, de Kock has played 5 ODI matches and scored 318 Runs with an average of 63,13.
He hasn’t played any test or T20 yet in India as he is still so young to play more. I added him in the list only because of his complete dominance over the Indian bowlers and this list is not about stats.
My 6th Pick must be Tom Latham of New Zealand as you must have seen his performances against the Indian bowlers in the recent tour. He has also carried his bat against India when New Zealand toured India last time.
I would have happily added Saeed Anwar & Kumar Sangakkara in this list, but the fact that they grow in their own spin-friendly pitches made me look outside Asia.
Hope you have enjoyed my article, and you can read more of my own writing on my blog, www.cricindeed.com