Though the visiting Australians thrashed Board President's XI by 103 runs in their practice match, spinner Akshay Karnewar's special skills certainly made him a topic of discussion in the visitors' dressing room. The 24-year-old showed ambidextrous skills during the warm-up match, where he bowled off-breaks as well as slow left-arm orthodox spin.
Australia batsman Marcus Stoinis admitted that he was surprised by Karnewar's skill. Karnewar started his spell by bowling right-arm off-spin to left-handed Travis Head but when the right-handed Stoinis was on strike, Karnewar not only changed the point of his approach to the other side of the stumps, he started bowling left-handed.
"I actually didn't know what the umpire was trying to tell me," said Stoinis about the standing umpire informing him of a significant change in approach from Karnewar.
"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," Stoinis was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia's website.
Akshay Karnewar bowled both right-handed and left-handed in the same over against Baroda. pic.twitter.com/uTxJGb6qGq— Jitender Singh (@j_dhillon6) January 19, 2016
It was a trend the ambidextrous Karnewar continued for the entirety of his six-over spell at Chidambaram Stadium here as he bowled off-breaks to the left-handers from round the wicket and left-arm orthodox spin to the right-handed Stoinis, also from round the wicket for a left-arm bowler.
As per MCC rules, a batsman when he plays switch hit is not required to intimate the umpire or the bowler but when the bowler changes his arm from right to left, the batsman needs to be told beforehand.
Karnewar's skills are well known at the domestic level as it was first discovered during last year's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy when BCCI's official website posted a clip showing him bowl both off-spin and left-arm spin.
Having begun his career as an off-spinner who batted and threw left-handed, Karnewar was eventually convinced to try left-arm bowling as well and he's used both methods throughout his career.
(With PTI inputs)