Image: BCCI TV
Akshay Karnewar is not a regular cricket player playing on the domestic circuit. The Vidarbha cricketer is an ambidextrous bowler who can not only bowl with both hands but also contribute with the bat. The 29-year-old was at his best on Monday during Vidarbha vs Manipur match in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match played at ACA Stadium, Mangalagiri, Vijayawada. The feat we are talking about is not ordinary as this has never happened in any T20 match be it domestic, international or franchise cricket.
Akshay Karnewar bowling against Manipur saw him concede no runs in his spell of 24 balls and became the first-ever player to concede zero runs in his full quota of overs in men's T20 cricket. The Vidarbha cricketer returned with figures of 4-4-0-2 in his four overs as Vidarbha bowled Manipur out for 55 runs.
As per Espncricinfo, Akshay Karnewar's talent was noticed by Balu Navghare his first coach when he was only 13. The coach noticed that Karnewar bowls right-arm offspinner but batted and threw left. Navghare encouraged him to take up left-arm spin seriously, and Karnewar ended up becoming an ambidextrous bowler. In 2008 Karnewar attended the Vidarbha Cricket Academy trials impressing former Mumbai wicketkeeper Sulakshan Kulkarni.
Karnewar's breakthrough year came in December 2015 when the Vidarbha team handed him a List-A debut against Odisha in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. In that match, Karnewar scored 72 with the bat and picked up two wickets in a losing cause. With 16 wickets to his name from seven matches, the ambidextrous cricketer finished as Vidarbha's leading wicket-taker in the tournament and went on to take seven wickets from nine games in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. Karner was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 10 lakh in the 2016 IPL auction.
Looking at current Akshay Karnewar stats the cricketer has picked up 36 wickets from 15 first-class matches, while in the List A and T20 matches, Karnewar has picked up 50 and 39 wickets respectively. With the bat, Karnewar has 626 runs in first-class cricket. In the List A and T20 format, the Vidarbha cricketer has 590 runs and 397 runs, respectively.