Top 5 orthodox left-arm spinners of all time
Ostensibly, off-spinners and leg-spinners are the dominant sects of the slow bowling department. Even as the right-armers have walked away with the plaudits more often than not, their left-arm counterparts have carved a niche for themselves without getting their deserved share of the limelight.
Across all formats of the game, left-arm spinners have consistently turned out to be effective as their stock ball leaves the right-handers who appear to claim the vast majority in the annals of batsmanship. Since the art of wrist-spin is much more difficult among southpaws, almost every eminent left-arm spinner has emerged from the orthodox class.
In order of merit, let us take a look at five of the best left-arm orthodox spinners in the history of the game. Versatile spinners such as Sir Garry Sobers and Johnny Wardle who combined convention with chinaman are not factored into account for this particular segment.
Performances at Test level are given greater significance than those in limited-overs formats. For white-ball cricket, game-changing spells in multi-team tournaments hold higher value than those in bilateral matches.
Honorary Mentions: Tony Lock, Hedley Verity, Colin Blythe, Bobby Peel and Johnny Briggs
#5 Ravindra Jadeja
The presence of an active cricketer such as Ravindra Jadeja over acclaimed masters of yore may raise many eyebrows. However, the 28-year old is one of the major reasons behind India's recent ascent to the top of the Test rankings. After spending the initial phase of his career under the shadow of spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja has emerged to become an integral component of India's bowling attack in Tests.
Positioned at number three, Jadeja is the top ranked spinner in the premier format of the game at the moment. It is pertinent to note that he had reached the number one rank in Tests earlier this year. In fact, among all left-arm spinners with at least 150 Test wickets, his current bowling average of 23.65 (as of 23rd November, 2017) is comfortably the best in the long and illustrious history of the format. Naysayers may point out that he has taken the bulk of his wickets on tailor-made home pitches. However, his recently enhanced relentless accuracy can hold him in good stead when the next round of overseas trips start.
With 12 wickets from five matches at an economy-rate of 3.75, Jadeja was instrumental in India winning the 2013 Champions Trophy held in England & Wales. After clinching the Player of the Match award in the final, the left-armer went on to usurp the number one position in the rankings for ODI bowlers. Four years since then, his white-ball career has come to a standstill as the evolution of the limited-overs formats has skewed the game in favour of wrist-spin.
Tests - 155 wickets from 33 matches at an average of 23.65 and strike-rate of 60.7 with 9 five-wicket hauls and 1 ten-wicket haul
ODIs - 155 wickets from 136 matches at an average of 35.87 and economy-rate of 4.90 with 1 five-wicket haul
T20Is - 31 wickets from 40 matches at an average of 31.70 and economy-rate of 7.27
(*Note: All Statistics are accurate as of 23rd November, 2017)