Fantasy Head-to-Head: Left-Handers XI vs. Right-Handers XIs
Imagine this: What if 11 of the best left-handed players in cricket history faced off against 11 of the best right-handers?
That would be quite a game, and both teams would be represented by some truly brilliant players with many more in reserve.
Let’s imagine who would make up those two teams, and predict the result of a match between them.
First, let’s start with the lefties.
No. 1: Matthew Hayden
Opening up for the left-handers is Australia’s Matthew Hayden, a terrifying prospect for opposition bowlers.
Through his sheer strength and size, Hayden was capable of destroying any bowling attack and would therefore be an ideal man at the top of the order as a left-hander.
No. 2: Sanath Jayasuriya
Alongside Hayden comes Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya, a left-hander with an appetite for destruction.
A man who believed in aggressive batting regardless of the format he was playing, Jayasuriya would be an ideal foil for Hayden in this left-handed team.
No. 3: Andy Flower
In at No. 3 comes the best batsman in the history of Zimbabwe and a man regarded as one of the best of the last 20 years: Andy Flower.
Flower managed to maintain a very high batting average despite his country’s struggles, and the left-hander would be an ideal man to have in this side.
No. 4: Brian Lara
Another premier batsman, and one of the best in history. West Indian Brian Lara comes in at No. 4 for this team.
A destructive player who used his high back-lift to hit the ball with immense power, Lara was capable of putting together enormous scores in any conditions.
No. 5: Allan Border (c)
At No. 5 and captaining the side comes Australian Allan Border, one of the most successful skippers in Baggy Green history.
A superb batsman also, Border led his Australia team to a great deal of success and would be the ideal leader for this team.
No. 6: Garry Sobers
This team’s all-rounder is, without question, the incomparable Garry Sobers of the West Indies, a man who could do anything on the field.
With his batting, bowling and fielding, Sobers was one of the best players in the game’s history and would be a fine player to have at No. 6.
No. 7: Adam Gilchrist (wk)
Batting at No. 7 and keeping wicket is another Australian: Adam Gilchrist.
With his superb glovework and incredibly destructive batting, Gilchrist could shift the momentum in a game single-handedly and was a demoralising sight for opposition bowlers.
No. 8: Wasim Akram
One of this team’s seam bowlers is Pakistan’s Wasim Akram, a player who could swing the ball almost anywhere.
Couple that with his terrifying bouncer and his aggressive batting, and Akram presented a very tough proposition for his opponents.
No. 9: Chaminda Vaas
Alongside Akram comes Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas, one of the top fast bowlers of the 1990s and 2000s.
Vaas was crucial for his country for 15 years, and helped win the Sri Lankans numerous matches in all forms of the game.
No. 10: Zaheer Khan
The last of our seam bowling triumvirate is India’s Zaheer Khan, a key part of his country’s fast bowling corps.
One of the best seamers India ever produced, Khan is well worthy of his place as one of the best left-arm bowlers of all time.
No. 11: Derek Underwood
This team’s spinner is Derek Underwood of England, the man known as “Deadly”.
Particularly effective on wet pitches, Underwood was capable of match-winning performances with the ball and took wickets throughout his career.
Now, on to our team of right-handers.
No. 1: Jack Hobbs
Opening for our team of right-handers is England's Jack Hobbs, the man who scored 197 first-class centuries in his career.
An immensely stylish batsman, Hobbs is remembered in history as one of the best opening batsmen ever produced.
No. 2: Gordon Greenidge
Alongside Hobbs comes West Indian Gordon Greenidge, a man who had immense power and strength.
Part of the all-conquering West Indies team of the 1980s, Greenidge could be brutal with any bowling attack and helped build imposing platforms for his team.
No. 3: Don Bradman
In at No. 3 comes the greatest batsman ever produced: Don Bradman.
An incomparable Australian batsman whose records will surely never be broken, he would be an ideal addition to this team of right-handers.
No. 4: W.G. Grace
After Bradman comes the man regarded as the “Father of the Game”, as W.G. Grace takes his place at No. 4.
Other batsmen have scored more runs, and other bowlers have taken more wickets, but it was the Englishman Grace who brought cricket into mainstream society.
No. 5: Viv Richards
Another destructive West Indian comes in at No. 5, and one would expect Viv Richards to continue the good work of his teammates in this fantasy XI.
A true one-off, Richards’ sustained aggression could sap the morale of even the toughest of bowlers and take them apart.
No. 6: Alec Stewart (wk)
Keeping wicket and batting at No. 6 comes Alec Stewart, a crucial part of England’s team for over a decade.
A man who loved a challenge, he would be an ideal player to have come in at No. 6 against the left-handers’ superb bowling attack and build an innings.
No. 7: Kapil Dev (c)
This team’s all-rounder and captain of the side is Indian Kapil Dev, who bats at No. 7.
A superb player in every aspect, Dev was also an astute captain who guided India to their shock triumph at the 1983 Cricket World Cup.
No. 8: Shane Warne
One of two spinners for this team of right-handers is Australian Shane Warne, the best leg-spinner in history.
He was able to take wickets on almost any surface, and with his constant trickery was impossible for batsmen to dominate.
No. 9: Courtney Walsh
Bowling seam for this team is Courtney Walsh of the West Indies, one of the most prolific wicket-takers in history.
With his aggression and accuracy, Walsh could be relied on for control at any time during the opposition’s innings.
No. 10: Glenn McGrath
Alongside Walsh with the new ball comes Glenn McGrath, one of the best Australian fast bowlers in history.
Another who relied on metronomic accuracy for his wickets, McGrath also had a happy knack of removing the opposition’s crucial batsmen.
No. 11: Muttiah Muralitharan
Rounding off this team of right-handers is the greatest spin bowler in history, with Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan in at No. 11.
Another who relied on immense trickery and variation for his wickets, it seems unlikely that Muralitharan’s record of 800 Test wickets will ever be broken.
How would the game between these two teams go? It would certainly be very interesting indeed, that’s for sure.
If it was a Test match, played in Brisbane or at Lord’s on a true batting surface, it would almost certainly be a high-scoring draw.
However, both sides have such brilliant bowling attacks that regardless of any failings of their batsmen they would have the capability to spark a recovery.
On balance, however, this game would likely end in an absorbing draw.