London, Jun 1: Defending champions India and South Africa boast of an upper hand in the ICC World Twenty20 Championships, beginning later this week, owing to the presence of left-handers in majority in their teams, according to statistics.
Both India and South Africa have eight left-handed specialists in their squad of 15 which leaves their right-handed brethrens in the minority.
History shows that left-handed cricketers have unfailingly ruled the roost in this treacherous format, be it the Indian Premier League (IPL) or the first edition of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007.
The recent IPL was topped by Matthew Hayden (572 runs) and Adam Gilchrist (495) with Suresh Raina (434) at number four, not much behind to AB de Villiers (465).
As for bowling, RP Singh (23 wickets), Ashish Nehra (19) and Pragyan Ojha (18) took three spots among the top five bowlers.
The first IPL, if anything, was still more startling. The first three toppers were all left-handers: Shaun Marsh (616), Gautam Gambhir (534) and Sanath Jayasuirya (514) all proved the scourge of bowlers.
Pakistan's Sohail Tanvir (22 wickets) was the leading wicket-taker of the inaugural IPL.
The first edition of the 2007 World Twenty20 further nails down the argument in favour of left-handers: Hayden (265) was the top scorer and RP Singh (12) just a wicket adrift from the best wicket-taker of the tournament, Umar Gul.
India has specialist southpaw batsmen in Gambhir, Raina, Yuvraj Singh; allrounders in Pathan brothers -- Yusuf and Irfan, and Ravinder Jadeja; and bowlers in Zaheer Khan and Pragyan Ojha.
South Africa might have only two specialist left-handed batsmen in Graeme Smith and Jean-paul Duminy; but there are all-rounders aplenty in Morkel brothers -- Albie and Mornie, and Roelof van der Merwe.
Left-handed bowlers Yusuf Abdulla, Wayne Parnell and Robin Peterson can be the envy of other teams.
These riches of left-handers can leave the other sides in the competition red-faced.
Ricky Ponting's men, well-rested and apparently hungry for the title, have just two batsmen and bowlers in Michael Hussey and David Warner; Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Bracken--in all four left-handers.
This gives them no edge over other hopefuls Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka or West Indies who all have the same number of four left-handers.
The less said about hosts England the better as they have just one specialist left-handed bowler in Ryan Sidebottom even though a rookie leftie in Eion Morgan has also made the grade.
Bangladesh, indeed, can give themselves a left-handed pat as they have six cricketers who bat or bowl in this manner -- a point well underlined the other day when they took New Zealand to the last ball in a practice match.