As I'm sure you're aware, last week hosted International Left Handers Day (no, we're not making this up!). Accordingly, we've assembled an Australian Left Handers Test XI from the past 30 years.
These legendary lefties would prove a handful for just about any opposition and the team contains a swag of our country’s finest cricketers of any persuasion.
What do you think of this team? Who do you remember fondly? Who do you think we missed?
Tweet your thoughts to @ACA_Players.
Matthew Hayden - 103 Tests, 8625 runs @ 50.74
After gorging himself on first-class attacks to the point of gluttony, Hayden became one of Australia’s greatest ever openers. His turning point came on the turning Indian pitches, when he swept like a janitor with OCD. A tall and imposing presence at the top of the order.
Mark Taylor - 104, 7525 @ 43.50
From the early days of his cherry-stained Symonds stick, Taylor became a dependable and often brilliant opening batsman. Stocky in size and plucky in approach, he was unflappable at the crease with a piercing drive and powerful pull. Taylor was also prolific in both chewing gum consumption and air conditioning endorsement.
Justin Langer - 105, 7696 @ 45.27
Like a few players in this outfit, Langer was more successful in his second stint in the baggy green. After playing just 8 Tests in six years, he shook off the repuation of a grafter with limited strokes to be an agraggressive shot maker with a knack for converting fifties into hundreds. Although he spent a fair period at number 3, in this team he’d secretly be hoping for Taylor’s dismissal so he may rekindle his on-field bromance with Hayden.
Allan Border - 156, 11174 @ 50.56
In Australian cricket’s dark days of the early to mid ‘80s, Allan Border <i>was</i> Australia. A lone figure of class in a rebuilding team, he reputedly embarked on a seven-year smile ban which only ended with the hoisting aloft of the 1987 World Cup.
Simon Katich - 56, 4188 @ 45.03
Simon Katich is to tenacity what David Gower was to style. Stubbled of face and hairy of chest, Katich eshews the mondern-day manscaping in keeping with his ‘bring-the-fight’, blue-collar approach. While his elbow isn’t always high in the classical pose, his standards have remained at the top, and he is enjoying another successful season in England.
Michael Hussey - 79, 6235 @ 51.52
Ever reliable, Michael Hussey was Australia’s most dependable batsman across all formats. Exceeded the coveted Test average barrior of 50 to underline his sustained success. Like a 28 year-old at trade school, his apprenticeship was long and many younger contemporaries graduated to the Test arena before him. The extent to which the portside professional made up for lost time is now a matter of record.
Adam Gilchrist - 96, 5570 @ 47.60
Adam Gilchrist broke fingers in the crowd and bowler’s hearts in equal measure. Redefined the role of the wicketkeeper-batsman with his willow wielding wizardry. Historically, ‘keepers were viewed as useful support acts with the bat but Gilchrist commanded a place in any line-up on his batting alone. Beyond that, he didn’t just counter-punch for Australia – he often unleashed hell. As his career Test strike rate of 81.95 attests, he didn’t noodle his way to any of his 17 tons and his only crime was making batting appear too easy.
Mitchell Johnson - 51, 1406 @ 21.97, 205 wkts @ 30.93
With the rotating stable of quicks in England, it’s perhaps easy to forget what a damaging player Mitchell Johnson is. His record of 205 Test scalps in 51 matches (at 30.93) stacks up favourably against other pacemen such as Merv Hughes (212 wickets in 53 Tests at 28.38) and by average at least, Brett Lee (30.81). Johnson’s batting average betters both. When the stars and Johnson’s seam align, he can be a demolition man.
Mitchell Starc - 10, 328 @27.33, 35 @33.03
Mitchell of the Starc variety in many ways has replaced his namesake Mitchell Johnson as Australia’s left-arm strike force. Although still relatively early in his development, Starc has shown he can be very damaging with the swinging ball and equally effective with his swinging bat. While he may be striving for greater consistency, he does have the ability to grab poles in batches.
Ray Bright - 25, 445 @ 14.35, 53 @ 41.13
Before Andy Bichel, Ray Bright held the mantle of touring and/or 12th man specialist. Slow bowling was unfashionable for a period of his international career. So was Bright’s fighting lower order batting. Nevertheless, he enjoyed some moments of great success, none more so than his 5/94 in the second innings of the famous Tied Test in Madras in 1986.
Bruce Reid - 27, 93 @ 4.65, 113 @ 24.64
Standing at over two metres tall, Bruce Reid was able to generate plenty of bounce and therefore proved a handful for batsmen, especially with the added ability to bowl induckers to the right-handers or slant the ball across and bring the cordon into play. Injuries curtailed his career but he was a genuine match winner when on the park. Took 13 wickets in a match against England.
Doug Bollinger (12th Man) - 12, 21 @ 7.71, 50 @ 25.92
Dougie’s return of 50 Test wickets from 12 matches at less than 26 runs for each underline his potency. Another mollydooker with ball-shaping skills, Bollinger fell out of favour with the Australian selectors and after some woeful Vodafone ads, many members of the viewing public. One of the game’s characters, he is perfectly suited to the 12th man duties, with plenty of tasks reducing his capacity to pester his team mates.
Darren Lehmann (Coach) - 27, 1798 @ 44.95 , 15 @ 27.46
What's an Australian Left Handers Test XI without Boof behind the reigns?