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Ambidextrous bowlers! After switch hit, will it be switch-bowling?

The 2016 edition of the Asia Cup gets underway from tomorrow with India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and lastly UAE making the cut after qualifying.

The tournament, which will be played in a T20 format for the first time, will defintely witness some hard-hitting and unique shots being played by the batsmen. And so we can't help but wonder if some of the bowlers may have something up their sleeve to counter their opponents? Ambidexterity for one.

If you were thrilled by the likes of Kevin Pietersen or David Warner's 'switch-hit' styles, this too may come as a surprise. Bowlers too, are now learning to master the art of bowling with both hands.

A batsman changing his style from right-handed to left-handed or vice versa while approaching a shot may have lost its novelty these days, but what’s new is a bowler switching his bowling arm in middle of an over.

Ambidextrous bowlers are probably a new species of players emerging on the scene of cricket.

Akshay Karnewar
Akshay Karnewar. pic/ Bipin Kokate

Akshay Karnewar, who plays for Vidarbha team in Indian doemstic circuit possesses the unique ability to bowl with both arms. He managed to surprise quite a few batsmen in the recently concluded 'Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy', where he bowled 'right-arm off-spin' to left-handed batsmen and 'left-arm off-spin' to right handed batsmen. Akshay could well be seen showing off his skills in the upcoming season of IPL, as he has bagged a contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

A 17-year-old Sri Lankan bowler, Kamindu Mendis, too, managed to raise a few eyebrows when he bowled with both hands in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016, where his team was defeated by India in the semi-finals of the tournament.

There have been some other occasions in the past when bowlers have bowled with both hands.

Sri Lanka’s Hashan Tillakaratne bowled with both hands in the last over of the match against Kenya in 1996 World Cup. Of course, the Lankan had scored a humongous 398 runs and Kenya could manage only 254. Tillakaratne started showing off his ambidexterity in the last over when the African side was out of the game.

Pakistan great Hanif Mohammad, a right-arm spinner bowled a few deliveries with his left arm to Sir Garry Sobers. It is claimed that Sober's world record breaking 365th run came off a Mohammad delivery that was bowled with his left hand.

Former England player Graham Gooch, a right-handed medium pacer used to bowl with his left arm in dead rubbers.

When switch-hit surfaced on the cricketing scene for the first-time, it led to a controversy with a few players and experts claiming it to be unfair to the bowler, as the field placements were according to the batting style of the player.

But ambidextrous bowling may be a fitting reply to the switch-hitters. Whether we see in the upcoming Asia Cup or World T20 remains to be seen, but the day is not far when bowlers will resort to this to counter the attacking batsmen.

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