Akshay Karnewar, a Royal Challengers Bangalore recruit, is an ambidextrous bowler, capable of bowling with both his arms
Akshay Karnewar, a Royal Challengers Bangalore recruit, is an ambidextrous bowler, capable of bowling with both his arms

On day one of the Irani Cup 2018-19, Vidarbha’s left-arm spinner Akshay Karnewar had umpire Nandan in a spot of bother, when the 26-year-old told the umpire about not only changing the side while bowling, but also about the change of arm – from left to right.

Karnewar, a Royal Challengers Bangalore recruit, is an ambidextrous bowler, capable of bowling with both his arms. And at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur, on Wednesday he switched  to his non-leading arm to bowl right-arm over the wicket to left-handed batsman, Rest of India’s Ishan Kishan.

This, after he had claimed the big wicket of Shreyas Iyer with his leading arm, trapping the Mumbai batsman in front for 19.

While Iyer’s was the only wicket Karnewar could take in Rest of India’s innings, that ended at 330, the sight of a bowler bowling with both his arms (of course, not at the same time) made for an interesting sight.

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Umpire Nandan was left bemused and he even had to cross check with Karnewar on what exactly was the bowler intending to do.

Ambidextrous bowlers are a very rare commodity in cricket, but Karnewar has been at it since 2016. In 2018, second edition of Tamil Nadu Premier League unearthed Mokit Hariharan who can bowl with both arms.

Playing for VB Kanchi Veerans Hariharan bowled orthodox left-arm spin to a right-handed batsman and then switched to right-arm off spin for a left-handed batsman. A top-batsman, Hariharan failed to pick any wickets conceding 32 runs in his four overs. However, with the bat he made an unbeaten 77 off 50 deliveries.

Back to Karnewar, the 26-year-old made his presence felt with the bat as well scoring his maiden First-Class hundred (102) helping Vidarbha take lead over Rest of India. Vidarbha were eventually all out for 425, taking a 95-run lead over Rest of India.

Karnewar had played a key role with the bat in the final of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 against Saurashtra with an unbeaten 73 in the first innings. Vidarbha then went on to clinch their second successive title beating Saurashtra by 78 runs.

In the Ranji Trophy, Karnewar played just four games scoring 207 runs at 41.40 and claimed 13 wickets at 21.92. 

In international cricket, Sri Lanka‘s Kamindu Mendis bowled with both arms in a T20 match against England in 2018.