The Southpaw XI

Thursday 13 August is International Left-Handers day and as a proud lefty I have decided to pick South Africa’s greatest Southpaw XI.

The idea all came about when I saw cricinfo’s bogus and somewhat irrelevant poll regarding who the greatest left-handed batsman is. How can you ask who the best lefty is without mentioning Graeme Pollock? That’s the equivalent of asking who the world’s greatest ever Boy Band is without mentioning the Backstreet Boys!

Cricinfo's poll.

Cricinfo’s poll.

In the game of cricket the left-handed batsman is arguably the most graceful to watch (with the exception of maybe Graeme Smith who looks more like a wounded baby giraffe bending down for a drink). Is there a sweeter sight than Kumar Sangakarra, Brian Lara, Adam Gilchrist or Stephen Fleming casually caressing a ball through the covers? Maybe you prefer seeing the Sultan of Swing, Wasim Akram, bend the ball around corners? Or perhaps you simply enjoy the beer guzzling, cat napping, ball-on-a-string antics of Phil Tufnell? Either way you look at it, left-handers seem to add a beautiful finesse to the gentleman’s game and it is only fair to honour them on this fine August day.

My selection criteria for South Africa’s greatest left-handed XI is simple. To qualify as a batsman you must be left-handed. To qualify as a bowler you must bowl with your left hand and of course this is a post-isolation team due to the fact that my pre-1989 memories are rather hazy.

South Africa Southpaw Test XI:

  1. Kepler Wessels (captain)
  2. Graeme Smith
  3. Gary Kirsten
  4. Ashwell Prince
  5. Jacques Rudolph
  6. JP Duminy
  7. Quinton de Kock (Wicketkeeper)
  8. Lance Klusener
  9. Brett Schultz
  10. Paul Adams
  11. Charl Willoughby

12th man: Morne Morkel

South Africa Southpaw ODI XI:

  1. Graeme Smith
  2. Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper)
  3. Gary Kirsten
  4. Rilee Rossouw
  5. David Miller
  6. JP Duminy
  7. Lance Klusener
  8. Robin Peterson
  9. Wayne Parnell
  10. Brett Schultz
  11. Lonwabo Tsotsobe

12th man: Colin Ingram

I cheated a bit with shoving Morne Morkel (left-hand bat, right-arm fast) in as 12th man for the Test side, but I was fairly desperate for another seamer and Wayne Parnell and Lopsy Tsotsobe just don’t cut the mustard. Charl Willoughby’s Test record isn’t anything to write home about, but he was a real champion on the domestic scene, both at home and on the County circuit in England.

Brett Schultz may have become an all-time great had injuries not bogged him down. Batsman the world over would have suffered at the hands of a Donald/Schultz new ball combo.

Whilst there were few seamers to pick from in both formats, there was no shortage of spinners. The likes of Clive Eksteen, Claude Henderson, Nicky Boje and Paul Harris all came into contention, but ultimately did not do enough to convince the selection panel.

Interestingly, Brett Schultz and Robin Peterson are the only two national cricketers to emerge from Port Elizabeth’s Alexander Road High School.

However, it’s not just the cricketers who appreciate the lefties…who can forget American footballers Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell showing their appreciation for the lefties in the flick Remember the Titans?



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