Watch: In the nets ahead of the first Test of the four-match series against India, starting at Nagpur from February 9, David Warner alternated between batting left- and right-handed.
Australia will not be playing tour matches to prepare for this year’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Instead, they set up base at the Karnataka State Cricket Association’s Alur Cricket Ground near Bengaluru, where they are having long net sessions.
At the nets, Warner switched between batting left- and right-handed – though it is not clear why.
Warner does not have a great record against India, having scored 1,148 runs against them at 33.76 from 18 Test matches. On his two tours of India, he has managed only 388 runs at 24.25. Seven of his 16 dismissals have been against R Ashwin (5), Harbhajan Singh (1), and Kuldeep Yadav (1), spinners whose stock ball leaves Warner.
On his last tour of Asia, off-spinner Ramesh Mendis got him twice in four innings. It might be a tactic to combat the off-breaks of R Ashwin, a staggering 226 of whose 449 wickets have been of left-handers.
Ashwin also averages 19.44 against left-handers – a number significantly better than his 29.14 against right-handers. Against Warner, that drops to 18.20 in 18 innings.
It should not, thus, come as a surprise if Warner bats right-handed against Ashwin and the usual left-handed against left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. It is a tactic he has employed before in the Bangladesh Premier League, hitting Chris Gayle for a spree of boundaries back in 2019.
Earlier this season, Joe Root batted left-handed in a Test match in Pakistan. Until Root, Saleem Malik was the only known batter to have switched stance during an innings in a Test match.
Last week, Andhra captain Hanuma Vihari batted right-handed before retiring hurt after his wrist was broken by a lifter from Avesh Khan in a Ranji Trophy quarter-final. He returned to bat left-handed, and did an encore in the second innings.
Watch David Warner bat both left- and right-handed at the nets here:
Extraordinary skill – @davidwarner31 switching between batting left and right handed in the nets at Alur #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/6cHhJAcvSm
— Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) February 5, 2023
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