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Akshay Karnewar bowled left, bowled right and left Australia confused

Akshay Karnewar left the Australian cricket team stunned with his ambidextrous bowling for the Indian Board President’s XI in a practice game.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 14, 2017 17:49 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs Australia,Akshay Karnewar,cricket
Akshay Karnewar confused Australian batsmen with his ambidextrous bowling in Chennai.(Twitter)

A tour to the subcontinent is usually a nightmare for the current Australian side. From getting bundled out for paltry totals to series defeats, there have been far too many sorry tales in the recent past. This includes tasting their first Test defeat against Bangladesh last month.

The ploy has been pretty simple so far against the Aussies, prepare dust bowls and unleash spinners from both ends. However, on Tuesday, they had to face a spinner from either side of a pitch in the warm-up game in Chennai against the Board President’s XI.

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For the ambidextrous Akshay Karnewar though there couldn’t have been a better stage to showcase his unique talent. Karnewar rolled up his sleeves to bowl off-spin to the left-handed Travis Head. Naturally, with the ball moving away, southpaws generally try and stay away from facing off-spinners.

However, the moment he rotated the strike with right-handed Marcus Stoinis and the latter took guard, Karnewar switched to the other side and got ready to bowl left-arm orthodox. “I actually didn’t know what the umpire was trying to tell me,” Stoinis was quoted as saying by the Australian media. “He was trying to say, ‘He’s going to bowl left-arm to you.’ So that’s brilliant by him. I’ve never seen that before. Ever.”

This isn’t the first time Karnewar has shocked opposition batsmen though. The 24-year-old had displayed his ambidextrous talents in a Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 game against Baroda last year as well.

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There aren’t too many stories of cricketers bowling in such a manner at the international stage though. Pakistan legend Hanif Mohammad had done once, and that too in the innings that saw West Indies great Garfield Sobers score 365. Another legend who could bowl right- and left-arm was former England opener and skipper Graham Gooch. However, Gooch, who usually bowled slow right-arm medium-pace, showcased his ambidextrous talent only in matches that headed for a tame draw.

Sri Lankan Hashan Tillakaratne, who was a left-handed batsman, holds the distinction of pulling it off in a World Cup game. He bowled the last over of Kenya’s innings in 1996 -- he bowled off-spin but also sent down left-arm spin in his only over towards the end of a one-sided game in Kandy. Replying to Sri Lanka’s mammoth 398, Kenya could only put up 254 for seven.

First Published: Sep 14, 2017 17:32 IST