The Ashes 2023: Why England’s lack of left-handed batters leaves a “huge gap”

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Englands 16-player squad will not include left-handed batters in the T20 series against Australia.

Es ist eine anhaltende Tendenz, und Head Coach Jon Lewis und Captain Heather Knight haben nicht viele Optionen.

Laut Lewis hinterlässt dies einen „großen Unterschied“ in Englands Fähigkeiten, da eine Kombination aus left- and right-handers häufig ausgewählt wird, wodurch bowlers nicht in der Lage sind, einen Rhythmus zu finden und batters die Möglichkeit haben, jede kurze Grenze zu nutzen.

BBC Sport has collaborated with CricViz data analysts to crunch the data and figure out if the problem is exclusive to England.

What do the numbers say with a short presentational grey line?
Research says about 10% of the population are left-handed, and a BBC Newsround article from 2022 said the figures were thought to be between 10 and 12 percent.

So würden Sie annehmen, dass in England etwa die gleiche Anzahl von left-handed Spielern in der Mannschaft wäre, oder?


Since April 1, 2016, England has only had two left-handed batters. This is due to the retirement of multiple World Cup winner Lydia Greenway, who scored more than 4,000 runs in 225 international games.

In Testmatches gibt es keine Abweichung von 17, während es zwei Abweichungen von 29 und 31 in ein-Tages-Internationalen und T20s gibt, beide mit einer Konvertierung von 6,89 % und 6,45 %.

Die jährliche Durchschnittsrate für Frauen, die nicht aus England stammen, während derselben Zeitspanne beträgt 16,94%. Die Anzahl der Frauen, die aus den wichtigsten Nationen ausgewählt wurden, ist in der folgenden Tabelle dargestellt.

Since April 1, 2016, the number of left-handers in every format (Team Tests, ODIs, T20s) is England 0 2 2 Australia 5 8 7 India 3 8 7 South Africa 2 4 4 New Zealand N/A 2 2 West Indies N/A 10 10 Sri Lanka N/A 14 14 Pakistan N/A 6 6 Bangladesh N/A 1 2 Ireland N/A 3 2 Although England struggle to produce left-handers, they are not necessarily alone in the women’s game.

While the men’s side had 21 left-handed batters in the same period, it is a problem we can isolate to the women’s game in this country.

When you consider the roles of left-handers in each women’s side, the glaring disparities start to show themselves.

Freya Kemp und Tash Farrant aus England sind eine Allrounderin und Bowlerin, daher haben sie normalerweise wenig Einfluss auf den Wurf.

In between, they have only played seven ODIs and 19 T20s.

Die folgende Grafik zeigt, dass die Linkshänder Englands fast genauso viele Bälle in jedem Format bekommen wie alle anderen Länder.

Percentage of balls faced by left-handed players in women’s cricket since April 2016: In England gibt es keine Tests, 0,42 % in ODIs und 0,95 % in T20s. Australia: 36.61% in ODIs, 31.67% in T20s und 31.93% in Tests; India: Tests mit 39,04 %, ODIs mit 32,79 % und T20s mit 28,84 %; Südafrika: 31,88 % in Tests, 9,95 % in ODIs und 5,40 % in T20s; N/A in Tests, 20.44% in ODIs und 11.85% in T20s; West Indies: N/A in Tests, 16.65% in ODIs and 11.79% in T20s; In Sri Lanka gibt es keine N/A in Tests, während ODIs 59.25% und T20s 49.12% betragen. Pakistan: N/A in Tests, 18.71% in ODIs, 26.05% in T20s; Ireland hat N/A in Tests, 13.34% in ODIs und 4.25% in T20s; Bangladesh hat N/A in Tests, 4.10% in ODIs und 10.57% in T20.
Die folgende Grafik zeigt eine vergleichbare Darstellung, wenn man bedenkt, dass Linkshänder gleichzeitig Punkte erzielen.

Since April 2016, the percentage of runs scored by left-handed players in women’s cricket is: England: 0% bei Tests, 0,37% bei ODIs und 0,75% bei T20s; Australia: Tests mit 30,66 %, ODIs mit 35,22 % und T20s mit 30,80 %; India: 40,23 % in Tests, 33,91 % in ODIs und 30,07 % in T20s; South Africa: 25.57% in Tests, 9.75% in ODIs and 5.03% in T20s; New Zealand: N/A in Tests, 20.89% in ODIs and 11.72% in T20s; West Indies: N/A in Tests, 14.26% in ODIs and 10.19% in T20s; Sri Lanka: N/A in Tests, 60.57% in ODIs and 50.47% in T20s; Pakistan: N/A in Tests, 19.72% in ODIs and 26.09% in T20s; Bangladesh: N/A in Tests, 4.59% in ODIs and 10.60% in T20s and then Ireland: N/A in Tests, 11.98% in ODIs and 3.31% in T20s
As expected there is a clear correlation between balls faced and runs scored with similar numbers, and positional ordering, across the 10 teams included.

England’s left-handers have faced 84 balls in ODIs, scoring 58 of their 16,620 runs, with Bangladesh at 290 balls and 161 runs the next lowest.

It is a similar picture in T20s with England’s pair having only faced 82 balls, scoring 79 of their 8,641 runs. The next lowest is Ireland’s 272 balls faced and 207 runs scored.

Sri Lanka dominate both tables with left-handers scoring 73 times more ODI runs than England (4,281 of 7,080) by left-handers, and 38 times more T20 runs (2,992 of 5,928).

In the women’s game we are starting to see a big three – England, Australia and India – dominate, and England sit well behind both in terms of balls faced and runs scored.

In ODIs, Australia’s left-handers have faced 6,197 deliveries (73 times more), with India’s coming in at 6,721 (80 times more). It is a similar picture in T20s with 2,479 and 3,050 (30 and 37 times more) respectively.

Perhaps the best comparison is with New Zealand, who have also only fielded two left-handers in the time period, but they are both recognised batters in Amy Satterthwaite and Brooke Halliday.

In ODIs that pair have faced more than 43 times as many balls as England’s pair (3,613 to 84), and scored almost 51 times as many runs (2,945 to 58).

It is similar in T20s with the Kiwi pair facing 10.5 times as many balls (861 to 82), and scoring almost 12 times as many runs (941 to 79).

While England are comparable with some nations in terms of players involved, they are not producing top-six batters, where the bulk of the scoring is done, particularly in the white-ball formats which dominate the women’s game.

‘It’s a real issue for us’
In white-ball cricket left and right-hand batting combinations are often spoken about because it can put a bowler off their line and length.

One of the side boundaries can occasionally be shorter than the other too, so having a varied batting line-up allows you to target one.

Not having that option could potentially hamper England.

“It is definitely something I’ve noticed, 100%,” Lewis, who was appointed in November, told BBC Sport.

The former bowler, who played one Test and 15 white-ball games for England, also highlighted how the lack of options means their bowlers are not getting to practise against left-handers.

Australia have two left-handers in Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield at the top of the order and Lewis said it was a “real issue” for England, who used male youth players in the build-up to the series to help prepare their bowlers without disrupting the women’s domestic game.

It was a feeling England’s all-time leading wicket-taker Katherine Sciver-Brunt shared.

“It is really irritating bowling to a left and right-hand combination,” she said. “Putting it in the right spot for a right-hander one ball and then a left-hander next ball is extremely difficult and a skill in itself.

“It is not just about running in every ball, everything is not the same. How you would hold the ball in your hand would probably change, the angle which you’d run in would probably change, the things that you tell yourself – your key words – would change slightly.

“If you’re having to do that every ball it is very difficult and it becomes so hard to create pressure, because to figure someone out you need to have them at the crease for three or four balls and let them see the differences you’re presenting and work it out from there.”

However, despite their concerns about bowling to left-handers, their bowlers’ dot-ball and boundary percentage is similar to Australia’s and India’s.

Dot-ball percentage in women’s international cricket Tests ODIs T20s Team RHB LHB RHB LHB RHB LHB England 76.3 78.6 61.6 58.2 48.5 43.3 Australia 73.9 75.9 59.2 57.7 45.2 42.1 India 75.5 79.3 55.8 54.3 43.0 43.9
Boundary percentage in women’s international cricket Tests ODIs T20s Team RHB LHB RHB LHB RHB LHB England 7.4 5.8 7.8 8.6 11.6 13.9 Australia 6.0 8.2 6.4 6.9 12.5 13.8
India 5.8 1.7 8.7 7.2 14.3 12.9
Do other teams see it as an advantage?
England men’s white-ball coach Matthew Mott used to coach Australia women, guiding them to a 50-over World Cup success and two T20 titles.

Australia’s ability to field left-handers was always a “huge advantage” according to Mott.

“We always picked the best team, and we were just fortunate to have a couple of left-handers in there,” Mott told BBC Sport.

“With small boundaries a lot of the time, having the option to send a left-hander in to make the most of it was always a huge bonus for us.

“In the World Cup final in 2022, we made a definite move of utilising Beth [Mooney] to take on a bowler like Sophie Ecclestone, who has an unbelievable record. But we knew that if there was a weakness, even a slight one, it was against left-handers. Beth went out and changed the game and disrupted her.”

Australia’s Beth Mooney plays a shot during the 2022 Cricket World Cup final against England Beth Mooney scored 20 runs off 15 balls bowled by Sophie Ecclestone in the 2022 World Cup final
Is there a reason for England’s lack of options?
One possible theory for England’s lack of options – and potentially generally across the women’s game – is hockey.

It is a sport only played with right-handed sticks, with the vast majority of left-handed players switching.

Cricket-playing nations also excel at hockey with England, Australia and India winning the medals in both the men’s and women’s 2022 Commonwealth Games, and New Zealand joining England and Australia on the podium in the 2018 edition.

“I don’t know why [it is an issue],” said Lewis. “I don’t really have an answer as to why.

“I know a lot of golf coaches turn young players round from left to right because it’s a lot easier to coach the way you play, so I’m wondering if right down to the moment of the pathway, when young girls are being taught how to play cricket, they get turned around to play right-handed because it is a lot easier for the coach.

“My suggestion to anyone out there who does pathway coaching at a young age is please don’t turn people around. If they want to bat left-handed please let them bat left-handed because it is a huge gap in our game.”

Is there anyone who could come in?
Grace Scrivens bats for England A against Australia Grace Scrivens has played for England A in all three formats this summer One possible left-handed option for England in the coming years will be Grace Scrivens.

The 19-year-old led England in the Under-19 World Cup this year and is set to captain England A in the ODIs against their Australia counterparts.

“I am a bit weird,” said Scrivens. “I am right-handed. I play golf left-handed but everything else – tennis, any racquet sport – right-handed.

“My dad always tells me the story that I was a pain as a kid and he would be ‘pick it up right-handed’, and I would say ‘no, I want to do it this way’ and would continuously pick it up the other way, maybe to frustrate him, maybe because I wanted to do it my way.

“It is helpful for me 100%, but whether it will massively help I am not sure.”

Lewis and England will be hoping more children follow Scrivens’ stubbornness to bat left-handed and the generational gap starts to close, and assist England, in the coming years.


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