While cricket is traditionally dominated by right-handed batsmen, the number of left-handed batsmen is on the rise. Batting with your left hand can change the game significantly, especially against teams that aren't used to fielding against left-handed batsmen. You don't have to be left-handed to use a left-handed stance in cricket, either; your batting hand should be determined by your dominant eye and not your dominant hand.
Equipment for left-handed batsmen differ from that used for right-handed batting, though some pieces of equipment such as helmets are the same regardless of your batting hand. Choose left-handed gloves to bat left-handed as they feature additional padding over the left thumb to prevent injuries. Leg guards and other pads that feature additional padding on the left side are also available to provide extra protection for your body. When choosing a bat, select one that has a harder and darker right edge if possible to provide you with more power when the bat makes contact.
Gripping the Bat
The grip you use when batting left-handed is similar to that of a right-handed batsman, though your hand positioning is reversed. Place your left hand closest to the bat face, gripping the handle from behind so that your palm faces the bowler and your thumb and forefinger make a "V" in which the handle sits. Choke your right hand in close to your left hand, gripping the bat handle so that the palm faces the bat itself.
The stance that you assume while batting has a significant influence on how successful you are when batting. Face your right shoulder toward the bowler, with your feet approximately a foot-length apart either to the side of or on the popping crease. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent, as this allows you to easily adjust your stance to react to how the ball travels.
Anticipating the Rough
If there is a disadvantage to batting left-handed, it is that you have more problems with the "rough" than right-handed batsmen do. As the game progresses, footmarks made by the bowlers during their run-up create a rough surface that can interfere with the way bowled balls move; a ball hitting the rough may bounce or spin, making it harder for the batsman to hit. As many bowlers are right-handed, their footmarks appear on the opposite side of the pitch from left-handed batsmen. Opposing bowlers often aim for the rough in an attempt to make a left-handed batsman's swing harder.
The angle at which you hit the ball is different when batting left-handed than right, but you can use this to your advantage. A solid hit at an angle from a left-handed batsman is significantly different than the straight up-and-down hits that are often from right-handed batsmen. Off-side strokes are also easier when batting with a left-handed grip as a result of this change of angles. This can make it harder for the opposing team to catch hit balls or quickly get a hit ball to the wicket, allowing you time to score one or more runs.
Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.