It has always been an intriguing question. Who is better between left-handers and right-handers? Who has been more effective and contributed more to their team’s performance – left-handed batsmen (LHB) or right-handed batsmen (RHB)?
The conventional way of looking at batting averages is flawed as it does not take into account the context of the match and series.
We, at Impact Index try and do an analysis to find out who – LHB or RHB, had a higher impact with the bat.
Do LHB absorb pressure better?
Do RHB have a higher
Who is more consistent?
We do a country-wise overview of Test cricket history and break down individual batting parameters and go deeper with our analysis.
Before we begin, a little key to support the piece:
· Period Considered: 15th March, 1877 to 21st July, 2015
· Minimum Test Matches played for consideration: 40
WHO HAS A HIGHER IMPACT?
We have considered all batsmen who have played a minimum of 40 Test matches and registered a
There are a total of 170 RHB and 62 LHB making up this list of 232 batsmen, ie approximately for every LHB there are three RHB.
But here is the startling part.
This means that the 62 LHB have a 4.5% higher
COUNTRY WISE BREAKUP
The country-wise segregation throws up some interesting facts. There are just three LHB from India – the least for any country – namely, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh. India has also the worst proportion of LHB amongst all countries.
The only team that has had a balanced proportion of LHB to RHB is Sri Lanka.
England, the oldest and the most experienced country (in terms of years and number of matches), has the second-lowest proportion of LHB to RHB. Was a certain convention being followed? Does this show a type of orthodoxy?
INDIVIDUAL BATTING PARAMETERS
||Failure Rate (in %)|
It is not surprising to see Australia’s batsmen on top in
They dominated world cricket, first, under the captaincy of Don Bradman (Bradman himself as a batsman and Lindsay Hassett) and his Invincibles of 1948 and then from the late 1990s to the early 2000s under the leadership of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting (the Waugh brothers as batsmen along with Ponting, Damien Martyn, Michael Slater, Michael Clarke).
Their LHB also are only second to their West Indian counterparts in
The ten West Indian LHB have the maximum combined
What is even more surprising is that they have collectively displayed the best ability to absorb pressure (of falling wickets) too. This is primarily due to the weak West Indies team post mid 1990s of which Lara and Adams were a part. They are the fifth and seventh-highest
Contrast this with their RHB counterparts. They have the worst ability to absorb pressure amongst all nations. Again, this list is dominated by the likes of Desmond Haynes, Vivian Richards, Richie Richardson and Gordon Greenidge who were part of a world beating West Indian side of the late 1970s to 1995 and as such were seldom under pressure from opposition bowling attacks.
Pakistani RHB, led by Inzamam-ul-Haq (7 SDs), have displayed the best big-match temperament. They have the lowest Matches/
With respect to southpaws, it is the South African LHB, primarily owing to Graeme Smith (6 SDs in 116 matches), who have the best Matches/
They have also displayed the best ability to absorb pressure (of falling wickets) amongst all RHB, with Azhar Ali and Younis Khan being the best for Pakistan in this parameter.
England has traditionally produced far more RHB than LHB but it is interesting that the
The Australian batsmen have been the most consistent with the lowest failure rates in both the LHB and RHB category.
LHB ABSORB PRESSURE BETTER, ARE MORE CONSISTENT
Overall, the LHB have a higher
RHB, though, are more reliable when the big occasion comes.
RHB ARE BETTER BIG-MATCH PLAYERS
RHB have a better big-match temperament as can be seen from not only the number of SDs they have produced but also the Matches/
There are 291 SDs in total by batsmen who have at least played 40 Test matches and have a
215 of these are by RHB and only 76 by LHB.
But since RHB have played far more number of matches than LHB, a more accurate ratio would be the Matches/
Collectively, RHB have played 12305 matches, which means they give an
LHB, on the other hand have played a total of 4588 matches, which means they produce an
This means that overall, RHB have a slightly better big-match ability than LHB.
THE TOP 5 RHB
Don Bradman was in a league of his own as can be seen from the difference in the impact between him and the second-highest impact batsman – Peter May.
Peter May was the highest impact batsman in the world by some margin when England were the best Test team in the world (1951-1958). No English batsman in Test history has absorbed more pressure (of falling wickets) than May.
Lindsay Hassett, with an average of 47 in 43 Tests, is the second-highest impact Australian batsman if we go below 50 Tests.
Jack Hobbs has the second-highest
Azhar Ali, the surprising name on this list has an average of just 44 but with three SDs from just 43 matches, which effectively means he has the best Matches/
THE TOP 5 LHB
|2||BC Lara||West Indies||130||2.68|
|4||GS Sobers||West Indies||93||2.57|
|5||KC Sangakkara||Sri Lanka||129||2.56|
Clem Hill is the highest impact LHB. His ability to bat under pressure along with his
The lynchpin of the West Indian batting through the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brian Lara is the highest impact West Indian batsman ever.
Neil Harvey was the highest impact Australian batsman during his career (1948-1963).
Garry Sobers is the highest impact all-rounder to have played the game (minimum of 50 Tests) but it was his batting which was more dominant with a 67% higher impact than his bowling.
Kumar Sangakkara has been the biggest series-winner (6 SDs in 129 Tests) for Sri Lanka with the bat in Test cricket.
LHB have traditionally been labelled as more stylish, flamboyant and elegant (Ganguly, Gower, Lloyd, Lara to name a few) as opposed to RHB who have been classified as more ‘complete’ and in that sense overall better than LHB.
But when seen through the Impact Index sieve, giving each match and performance a context and its due value, we see that the 62 LHB have had a slightly higher
At least somewhere the minority have a say.
Caricatures- Vasim Maner