The right-handed Marcus Stoinis appeared a tad perplexed when he was informed by the umpire that Akshay Karnewar would be switching to left-arm spin at Chepauk here on Tuesday.

After all, Karnewar’s first delivery, to southpaw Travis Head, had been a right-handed off-spinner. Head took a single and now Stoinis was on strike. And he was facing left-arm orthodox spin.

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

"He was trying to say that he's (Karnewar) was going to bowl left-arm to me. That's brilliant by him... yeah, I  have never seen that before."

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The 24-year Karnewar is ambidextrous, a rarity in cricket. He bowls off-spin to southpaws and left-arm spin to right-handers; the logic being that the ball should spin away from the batsman.

This was a day when Karnewar was taken for runs by the Aussies but the Vidarbha cricketer did bring novelty to the proceedings. He began his career as an off-spinner but batted and threw left-handed and was convinced by his coach to try his hand at left-arm spin too.

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An ambidextrous bowler has to inform the umpire, who then conveys the message to the batsman, about the arm from which he wants to release the sphere. The batsman, in several senses, is prepared and the surprise element is lost.

However, when the batsman essays the switch hit – here he needs to change the grip - he does not have to reveal his intentions to the umpire and the bowler. The switch hit is a stroke where a right-handed batsman effectively plays a shot with the grip of a southpaw; it’s vice-versa for a left-handed batsman.

But then, this has always been a batsman’s game – the laws favour them and the bowlers are up against it.