Australia had a taste of some unique Indian spin talent when they encountered 24-year-old Akshay Karnewar in their warm-up one-day match against the Board President’s XI in Chennai on Tuesday.
When the spinner came in to bowl his first over of the spell, the left-handed Travis Head was on strike and Karnewar bowled right-arm off-spin. But when the right-handed Marcus Stoinis came on strike, Karnewar effortlessly changed to left-arm spin, leaving the Australians stunned, according to cricket.com.au.
“I actually didn’t know what the umpire was trying to tell me,” said Stoinis after the match. “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 is not the first time, though, that Karnewar has displayed his skills. The ambidextrous bowler also regaled viewers with his mastery with both hands in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Trophy against Baroda.
The 24-year-old started off as an off-spinner, but then his eagle-eyed coach Balu Navghare noticed that he was comfortable with his left arm too. With his coach’s encouragement, Karnewar started bowling with his left arm as well, growing in confidence. With that unique skill, it may not be long before even international men’s cricket gets its first ambidextrous cricketer. By the way, women’s cricket already has one: Bangladesh’s Shaila Sharmin.
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