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10 greatest left handed bowlers in the history of cricket

Who are the greatest left handed bowlers in the history of cricket?Left-handed people have always been an enigma in human history. They are a proven tough adversary in sports, and especially in cricket, where left-handed bowlers and batsmen both provide a different perspective to the game. Left-handed bowlers have always been difficult to face, and I can say that from personal experience. These bowlers are an asset to their team because of their ability to be different than the rest. Let’s have a look at some of the greatest left-handed bowlers, both fast bowlers and spinners, in the history of modern day cricket.

#10 Sir Garfield Sobers (West Indies)

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Born July 28, 1936, Chelsea Road, Bay Land, St Michael, BarbadosBowling Statistics :

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10w

Tests

93

159

21599

7999

235

6/73

8/80

34.03

2.22

91.9

8

6

0

ODIs

1

1

63

31

1

1/31

1/31

31.00

2.95

63.0

0

0

0

First-class

383

70789

28941

1043

9/49

27.74

2.45

67.8

36

1

List A

95

4387

2393

109

5/43

5/43

21.95

3.27

40.2

4

1

0

Sir Garfield St Aubrun Sobers, regarded as the greatest all rounder ever to play the game of cricket, excelled in every aspect of it.

As a batsman, he was great, but he could make the West Indian team even as a pure bowler alone.

Sobers used to bowl two distinct styles. A left-arm wrist spinner, he also made a fine left arm fast medium opening bowler. He was more effective as an out and out fast opening bowler, curving the ball in at high speeds.

As a spinner, he adapted as per the wicket he was bowling on. Sobers could bowl both orthodox off-spin and chinaman.

His 235 wickets in 93 Tests along with his 8032 runs proves his mettle with both bat and ball.

#9 Hedley Verity (England)

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Born May 18, 1905, Headingley, Leeds, Yorkshire, England

Died July 31, 1943, Caserta, Italy (aged 38 years 74 days)Bowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10w

Tests

40

73

11173

3510

144

8/43

15/104

24.37

1.88

77.5

9

5

2

First-class

378

84219

29145

1956

10/10

14.90

2.07

43.0

164

54

Hedley Verity played in 40 Test matches, taking 144 wickets at 24.37 runs each. He took 100 wickets in Test cricket in a shorter period than any other English bowler.

Verity is the only cricketer who has taken 14 wickets in a day in a Test match, against Australia at Lord's in the second Test, 1934. His bowling style can only be described as slow medium. He was also capable of sending down a mean in-swinging yorker to surprise the batsman.

Verity also troubled the great Sir Don Bradman. Sir Don was quoted as saying: “I think I know all about Clarrie (Grimmett), but with Hedley I am never sure. You see, there's no breaking point with him.”

Along with being a top class cricketer, Verity was also an exceptional soldier for his country in Worl War II. As captain of The Green Howards, he died of wounds as a prisoner of war in Italy on July 31, 1943.

#8 Derek Underwood (England)

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Born June 8, 1945, Bromley, Kent, England

Bowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10w

Tests

86

151

21862

7674

297

8/51

13/71

25.83

2.10

73.6

13

17

6

ODIs

26

24

1278

734

32

4/44

4/44

22.93

3.44

39.9

1

0

0

First-class

676

139783

49993

2465

9/28

20.28

2.14

56.7

153

47

List A

411

19825

11099

572

8/31

8/31

19.40

3.35

34.6

25

8

0

Nicknamed 'Deadly', Derek Underwood was perfectly suited to his nickname on wet England pitches.

With a run-up like that of a medium pace bowler, Underwood bowled with deadly accuracy and spin on friendly pitches. His 297 Test wickets in 86 Test matches for England came for less than 20 runs a piece.

Underwood was also famous for his in-swinging arm ball, which came in instead of spinning away from the batsman. His qualities of patience and accuracy made him a blessing for any captain.

In his debut season for Kent, at the age of 17, he became the youngest bowler to take 100 wickets in a season.

On 16 July 2009, Underwood was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, along with Neil Harvey, David Gower and Allan Border.

#7 Zaheer Khan (India)

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Born October 7, 1978, Shrirampur, Maharashtra, IndiaBowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10

Tests

92

165

18785

10247

311

7/87

10/149

32.94

3.27

60.4

15

11

1

ODIs

200

197

10097

8301

282

5/42

5/42

29.43

4.93

35.8

7

1

0

T20Is

17

17

352

448

17

4/19

4/19

26.35

7.63

20.7

1

0

0

India’s pace spearhead in the last decade, Zaheer Khan started out as an out and out fast bowler. He debuted against Australia in the 2000 Champions trophy in Kenya and immediately impressed everyone with his pace and swing.

Zaheer took over from Javagal Srinath as the leader of Indian pace attack and performed considerably well until injuries took their toll on his body. He knows how to bowl on the flat subcontinent wickets and how to exploit a batsman’s weak point. Just ask Graeme Smith.

Zaheer’s contribution resulted in him ending up as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the 2011 World Cup, leading India to a memorable win. Though his form and fitness waned after that, he made a comeback in 2013/14 for the tours of South Africa and New Zealand.

#6 Mitchell Johnson (Australia)

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Born November 2, 1981, Townsville, Queensland, AustraliaBowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10

Tests

59

113

13227

7240

264

8/61

12/127

27.42

3.28

50.1

15

12

3

ODIs

136

133

6647

5384

208

6/31

6/31

25.88

4.85

31.9

8

3

0

T20Is

30

30

656

797

38

3/15

3/15

20.97

7.28

17.2

0

0

0

Mitchell Johnson cemented his place in Australian folklore with his performance in the 2013 Ashes against England.

One of the fastest bowlers in the world today, Johnson regularly bowls in the high 140 kmph speeds. Add sharp in-swing and a deadly yorker to that pace, and you have a recipe for some great fast bowling.

His performance in the recent 2013 Ashes series in Australia is considered as one of the greatest displays of fast bowling in modern cricket. He went on to tear through the South African batting line-up on Australia’s tour there in early 2014, thus reinforcing his deadly reputation.

#5 Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)

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Born January 27, 1979, Auckland, New ZealandBowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10

Tests

112

185

28670

12392

360

7/87

12/149

34.42

2.59

79.6

19

20

3

ODIs

275

258

13029

8946

284

5/7

5/7

31.50

4.11

45.8

7

2

0

T20Is

33

33

769

720

37

4/20

4/20

19.45

5.61

20.7

1

0

0

Daniel Vettori was the youngest man to play Test cricket for New Zealand at the age of 18, against England in 1997.

A traditional off-spinner with the ability to deceive in flight and bounce, Vettori has been the main weapon for the Kiwi team over the years. During the latter part of his career, he also contributed with the bat a lot.

Vettori captained New Zealand from 2007-2011. His best performance as a bowler came against Australia, when he picked up 12-149 in 2000.

#4 Bishan Singh Bedi (India)

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Born September 25, 1946, Amritsar, Punjab,India

Bowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10

Tests

67

118

21364

7637

266

7/98

10/194

28.71

2.14

80.3

13

14

1

ODIs

10

10

590

340

7

2/44

2/44

48.57

3.45

84.2

0

0

0

First-class

370

90354

33843

1560

7/5

21.69

2.24

57.9

106

20

List A

72

3686

2087

71

5/30

5/30

29.39

3.39

51.9

1

1

0

Bishan Singh Bedi is widely regarded as the best left-arm spinner from the Indian subcontinent and probably the world. He was India's leading wicket-taking spinner until Anil Kumble surpassed him.

Bedi possessed a beautiful bowling action, ending in a pivot on his right foot, which sent the ball towards the batsman like poetry in motion. He captained India in 22 Test matches.

Bedi relied more on flight and deception than spin. He was successful in foreign lands like Australia, England and West Indies. He holds the Indian record for most wickets in a Test series by a spinner – 31 vs Australia in Australia, 1977-78.

Bedi, along with Chandrasekhar, Venkatraghavan and Prasanna formed the famed Indian spin-quartet in the 1970s. He holds the world record for the most economical bowling figures in a 60-over ODI match, with figures of 12-8-6-1.

#3 Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka)

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Born January 27, 1974, Mattumagala, SriLankaBowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10

Tests

111

194

23438

10501

355

7/71

14/191

29.58

2.68

66.0

20

12

2

ODIs

322

320

15775

11014

400

8/19

8/19

27.53

4.18

39.4

9

4

0

T20Is

6

6

132

128

6

2/14

2/14

21.33

5.81

22.0

0

0

0

Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas or Chaminda Vaas is arguably the owner of the longest name in international cricket. Apart from that, he is also perhaps the greatest bowler produced by the emerald island along with Mutthaih Muralidharan. These two together made Sri Lanka a force to be reckoned in the 1990s and 2000s.

Vaas was a fast medium bowler with a very sharp cricket mind. He swung and seamed the ball and possessed a well-disguised off-cutter. Vaas is the most successful fast bowler for Sri Lanka in ODIs, with more than 400 wickets and a world record best bowling performance of 8-19.

#2 Alan Davidson (Australia)

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Born June 14, 1929, Lisarow, Gosford, New South Wales, AustraliaBowling Statistics:

Mat

Inns

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

10

Tests

44

82

11587

3819

186

7/93

12/124

20.53

1.97

62.2

6

14

2

First-class

193

37704

14048

672

7/31

20.90

2.23

56.1

33

2

Alan Davidson is widely regarded as one of the two greatest left-handed fast bowlers of all time. He was a bowler with a short run-up and natural pace, and an ability to swing the ball into right-handed batsmen viciously.

Davidson played a major part in the famous tied Test against the West Indies in the 1960-61 series. He not only made a valuable career best 80 in the chase along with captain Richie Benaud, but he also took 5/135 and 6/87 in the two innings.

Davidson is amongst the very few bowlers to take more than 100 Test wickets at an average less than 20. He toured the Indian subcontinent in 1959 and took 30 wickets in 6 Tests against India at an average of just 15.77.

As a form of appreciation and respect for his contribution to cricket, Alan Davidson was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2011.

#1 Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

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Born June 3, 1966, Lahore, Punjab, PakistanBowling Statistics:

Unarguably the greatest left-arm bowler in the history of the game and one of the greatest bowlers of all time, Wasim Akram perfected the of fast bowling and left it completely different to what it was before him.

Generous swing at very high pace, with the perennial fear of a bouncer or a toe-crushing yorker – all of this coming from a whippy high speed shoulder action of a short run-up. Akram made death overs bowling exciting in one-day cricket with the use of yorkers and slower balls. The first bowler in ODIs to take 500 wickets, he formed a lethal, high pace partnership with Waqar Younis and reigned over the fast bowling scene in the 1990s.

Along with the high speed, the mastery of reverse swing made Akram lethal in every form of the game he played. He retired in 2003 with 502 ODI wickets and 414 Test wickets.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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