Q&A / Right side of left-hand drivers

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The Independent Online
Q. Are left-handed batsmen inherently elegant or is it merely an illusion prompted by their relative exoticism?

A. In batting, 'elegance' is invariably associated with attractive strokeplay on the off-side of the wicket. Because most bowlers are right-handed, their natural delivery when bowling over the wicket slants across the left-handed batsman who therefore gets more practice playing shots in the arc from third man to long off than does his right-handed counterpart.

Brian Lara follows Sir Gary Sobers in a long tradition of elegant Caribbean left-handers but his colleague Jimmy Adams scarcely merits such a description. Australian left-handers too have tended, like Adams, to punch the ball rather than guide it. Typical of this genre is the record Test run scorer, Allan Border. In England the best example in post-war years was John Edrich.

Kent-born left-handers have tended towards the 'elegant' so as to be in keeping with the beautiful surroundings in which they learnt their cricket. Simon Hinks (now with Gloucestershire) follows David Gower, Bob Wilson and Frank Woolley, while on virtually every village green in the county a more humble example will be found. - Nigel Lynch, Hayes, Kent

Q. How many footballers have won more than one World Cup winner's medal?

A. There have been 11 players who have won more than one World Cup winner's medal: Pele, winner in 1958 and 1970, Ferrari and Meazza for Italy in 1934 and 1938, and Gilmar, D Santos, N Santos, Zito, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Zagalo for Brazil, winners in 1958 and 1962.

In addition, three players went on to manage a winning side. These are Franz Beckenbauer, of Germany, player in 1974, manager in 1990, and the Brazilians Carlos Alberto, player in 1970, manager in 1994, and Zagalo, player in 1958 and 1962, manager in1970. - Mark Greenwood, Chislehurst

Q. Has a football manager - or any other manager - ever moved clubs and then signed all his original team to his new club?

A. Further to John Bond's predilection for signing his former players, his reign as Burnley manager in 1983-84 should also be mentioned. Here, he signed ex- Manchester City players by the hatful - Kevin Reeves, Tommy Hutchinson, Gery Gow and Steve Daley. All this achieved was to saddle the club with an ageing, unsuccessful side and an escalating wage bill. - Andrew Procter, London N15

Q: Which football league or FA Carling Premiership clubs have instituted major changes in their first-choice kit and colours since their foundation? Leeds United and Coventry City are two I have been advised who have done this.

A. Leeds United's change, from blue and gold, was instituted by the former manager Don Revie. He wanted the club to play like the great Real Madrid side of the early Sixties, so dressed his players in Real's all-white. Some years ago Luton Town changed from their traditional white shirts to orange with a black and white stripe down the front left, but they have since reverted to their old colours. Sheffield Wednesday for many years wore blue shirts with white sleeves, and it is only fairly recently that they have switched to blue and white stripes. - A W Gilbert, Edinburgh

Q. Why do England use young, inexperienced players as 12th men in Test matches? Surely, it would be of benefit to keep at least one top-class player on the sidelines to field during the increasing number of periods a player has to leave the arena? The England football team would never call on the services of a YTS player for an international at Wembley.

A. England does not always use young inexperienced substitutes in Test matches. Abroad, it uses members of the touring party. For example, Ian Gould took a brilliant catch in the covers to dispose of Greg Chappell in the Melbourne Test of 1982-83. In 1976, as West Indies chased victory at Lord's, England called upon the local players and brilliant fielders Clive Radley and Graham Barlow, both capped for England within the next two years.

For reasons of expense and also because the best players are not always the most athletic, England often uses local fielders of merit. Since generally, younger players tend to field better than their seniors, they are often used. The most famous example of this phenomenon was the catch taken by a 23- year-old Nottinghamshire ground staff member, Syd Copley, to dismiss Stan McCabe at Trent Bridge in 1930, a dismissal which probably won England the match in Bradman's first Test in England. - Adam Samuel, London

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