In the ongoing Irani Cup clash between Ranji Champions Vidarbha and Rest of India, cricket fans have seen some impressive performances but the one player who has grabbed the utmost attention is Akshay Karnewar.
The 26-year-old Karnewar stunned the cricket fraternity on Tuesday (February 13) with his ambidextrous abilities. Playing for Vidarbha, the left-arm spinner bowled right-arm off-spin after informing umpire Nandan.
Karnewar started out as right arm off spinner about a decade ago, but his coach Balu Naoghare told him to try left-arm spin as well.
“I was a right-arm off-spinner but used to throw with my left hand. One day, my coach asked if I could bowl left-arm spin. Initially I struggled but after two years I became a left-arm spinner,” he told The Indian Express.
In the Irani Cup game, Karnewar bowled off-spin to left-handed Ishan Kishan before switching to his regular style for right-handed batsman. He claimed the prize scalp of ROI batsman Shreyas Iyer on Tuesday.
“I have bowled before too but this was probably the first time it came on television. Last year, I bowled during the one-dayers (Vijay Hazare Trophy) and got wickets from off-spin. Today, since Ishan Kishan is a left-hander and he likes to go after spinners, my captain Faiz Fazal said I should try off-spin. So I tried. When Hanuma Vihari came I bowled left-arm spin,” he added.
Karnewar revealed he had also exhibited his ambidextrous ability in a warm-up game against Australia last year. It is something he enjoys doing.
“It’s fun to bowl with both hands. Wherever I have bowled, I see stunned faces. During junior cricket days, a player once joked during a match that I was cheating by bowling left-arm and off-spin in one over. I took wickets with both,” he remarked.
“I play as a left-arm spinner in the team. Though I’m right-handed in daily life, left-arm spin is my main strength. But I switch especially when there is a turning track or when two left-handed batsmanare batting. It all depends on the team requirement,” Karnewar concluded.