Australia stunned by ambidextrous spinner

WATCH: Ashkay Karnewar bowls both left-arm and right-arm spin against Australia in Chennai

Australia encountered something allrounder Marcus Stoinis said he'd never seen before at any level of cricket in their warm-up match in Chennai on Tuesday.

There seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary when Board President's XI spinner Ashkay Karnewar handed his cap to the umpire to start his spell and his first ball of right-arm off-spin to left-hander Travis Head was tucked away for an easy single.

But with the right-handed Stoinis now on strike, the standing umpire intervened to inform the Australian of a significant change in approach from Karnewar; not only was the bowler changing the point of his approach to the other side of the stumps, he would also be bowling left-handed.

Karnewar alternated between left-handed and right-handed //
Karnewar alternated between left-handed and right-handed //

It was a trend the ambidextrous Karnewar continued for the entirety of his six-over spell at Chepauk Stadium; he bowled right-arm off-spin to left-handers Head and Matthew Wade from around the wicket and left-arm orthodox spin to the right-handed Stoinis, also from around the wicket for a left-arm bowler.

While the Australians were untroubled by the unusual tactics, hitting Karnewar for 59 from his six overs, Stoinis was later full of praise for the uniquely gifted 24-year-old.

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"I actually didn't know what the umpire was trying to tell me," Stoinis said.

"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"

While unusual, Karnewar's ability to bowl with both hands is not entirely unique; for example, a talent search in Pakistan last year uncovered paceman Yasir Jan, who can bowl speeds in excess of 135km/hr both left and right-handed.

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While batsmen don’t have to inform a bowler when they plan to play a reverse sweep or switch hit, bowlers must tell the umpire – who relays the message to the batsman – whenever they change from over to around the wicket and, as unusual as it may be, change from bowling with their right arm to bowling with their left.

Karnewar's decision on Tuesday to bowl with his left arm to right-handers and his right arm to left-handers – the logic being that he is spinning the ball away from the batsman – is nothing new for him at Indian domestic level.

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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.

Despite having a tough day in the field, Karnewar got some of his own back when he clattered four sixes batting at No.9 in the run chase, including two towering maximums into the stands from one Adam Zampa over.

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Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures

September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad