Left arm bowlers are special. Here's how to make the most of your southpaw cricket style.
The lefty is rare. Batsmen are more common, but bowlers are in shorter supply. There are unique challenges that put up barriers to success if you bowl with your left. Understand these and use your unique advantages to become a success instead.
The obvious advantage is your change of angle. You create angles no one else can, like sliding the ball across the right hander.
Most batsmen rarely practice facing left arm bowling, especially over the wicket. The change might seem minor, but with such a narrow bat, a minor change is all you need to induce an error.
Set your field right and enjoy the cricket boost you get purely from bowling with a different hand.
Of course, you can add to the fun if you build skill in swing, seam or spin. The left arm legend who can swing it back into the right handed batter has huge advantages. The same applies for the finger spinner who moves it away from the bat.
In T20, you have more death options. You can bowl left arm over full and wide to make it extremely tricky to hit the ball to leg. Add that to your inswinging yorker from over and round, and you don't even need a bouncer.
Technique, speed and turn
If you are a seamer, your left hand might also be a barrier to speed. If you bowl spin, it might make it harder to rip it.
It comes back to angles. When you are learning to bowl you probably do it mostly to the righties. This encourages you to bowl with a slightly closed off action. While this is not an exclusive issue for the left, it does happen more often.
Whether you want speed, accuracy, dip or turn; closing off prevents it because you lose hip drive. The hips are the powerhouse of the action for spin or pace.
So, build your action carefully and keep open. It will give you more of what you want. Although you will need to stay constantly aware of the inclination to close off.
The left brain
The third difference most lefties have is the brain.
Left arm spinners have a reputation for being almost as crazy as wicketkeepers. Left handed bowlers (and golfers, interestingly) are much more likely to get the yips. While we cant say with any confidence every left handed person is in the same mental boat, we can be aware of some of the trends and work to manage them.
Chances are you are the only left bowler in your cricket team. If you are a spinner the chances are even higher. So, you need a determined mindset in the knowledge that no one else really understands your struggle. It gets lonely, even in a team sport.
You also probably need to do more work on visualisation, goal setting and confidence building than most. Of course, we all need mental strength in cricket. If you are left handed, you can boldly proclaim you need it more and work on it overtly. No one will disagree because everyone thinks you are a bit bonkers anyway. You can find solace in this quest with your team wicketkeeper. They are most likely even more in need of this stuff than you.
Summary: Ride the Difference
- Understand the power of angles for tactics.
- Watch the technical pitfalls.
- Work hard on your mental strength