India’s southpaw-heavy batting lineup. India’s batting lineup featured a whopping six left-handed batters in their first T20I against Australia.

One of the peculiarities of the Indian team currently involved in a five-match T20I series against Australia is the abundance of left-handed batters in the side. A total of six batters from the Indian team were southpaws in the first T20I, of which five were recognized batters. It was not a peculiarity lost on anyone, commentators Deep Dasgupta and Ravi Shastri noted it. Emphasizing that they have three left-handed batters coming one after the other after No.4.

Shastri also pointed out that what normally happens is that one has to search for a left-hander in the Indian lineup. Later said how important it is to develop this variety. It isn’t the first time that Shastri has expressed his belief in the need for left-handers in the lineup. He had in fact pretty much started the debate over whether India should pick Ishan Kishan over Suryakumar Yadav. Even Shreyas Iyer or KL Rahul before the 2023 World Cup so as to have that variety. The fact that Kishan had hit excellent form in ODI cricket only added more fuel to the debate and it all ended only when it became apparent that India was sticking to Iyer and Rahul at numbers four and five.

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There was good reason for them to do so – both Iyer and Rahul had shown just how consistent they were. In those positions before injuries, Kishan and Suryakumar got a look in. That isn’t the case now that the World Cup is over. The team has turned its eyes to the T20 World Cup that is set to take place in June next year in the West Indies and USA. It is only all-rounder Hardik Pandya, the de-facto captain of the India T20I team, who is not featuring in this squad but apart from him. All of the other players have turned up for the team consistently in the recent past.

It is unclear as to whether Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli plan on throwing in their hats for the T20 World Cup next year. The likes of Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Ishan Kishan have shown that they are quite capable of making a formidable top order. Tilak’s potential is testified by the fact that he has a strike rate of 141.27 in his 11-match T20 international career. He is also a handy part-time spinner. Rinku Singh’s extraordinary knack of finishing innings was on display once again in the first T20I against Australia and Axar is a proven performer with bat and ball.

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Young Left-Handed Batsmen’s Rise in Indian Cricket

With Suryakumar’s place at No.4 locked in, it is quite clear that one of these young batters will have to make way for Pandya once he returns for India’s upcoming series in South Africa. With that itself looking like a tough decision to make, it looks highly unlikely that the selectors would be too keen to make more room for the likes of Rahul or Iyer, both of whom last played a T20I for India in November last year. Rahul, in fact, has not played in the format for India since the end of the T20 World Cup last year like Rohit and Kohli.

It just so happens that these younger players all happen to be left-handers, something that hasn’t often happened in India’s cricket history. With the team’s most recent attempt at ending their drought of ICC titles coming up short in the final hurdle, it might not hurt to try out the unbeaten path while chasing some history.

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