Karn keen to 'give it a rip' in Australia
Karn Sharma is yet to play Test match cricket, and if he debuts next month, it will be on arguably the toughest tour of them all: Australia. But Karn, the legspinner who played his maiden ODI against Sri Lanka at home earlier this month, is not fazed. He said he will be looking to "give it a rip" in Australia, and concentrate on bowling the right lines.
"The best way [in Australia] is to try and put more purchase on the ball. Give it a rip and tweak it more," Karn told the Indian Express. "Put some more shoulder on it than usual. Anil bhai [Kumble] was very successful on those pitches. His action was slightly more high-arm than me, and he would get that disconcerting bounce. Even with my lower-arm action, the pitches there will give me bounce.
"Adjusting the line is important too. If the pitch turns a lot, you can pitch it more on off and middle. In Australia, the line has to be more around off stump and just outside."
Karn might have first caught the public's eye in the IPL over the last two seasons for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but before that he had also enjoyed quite a bit of success for Railways in the Ranji Trophy. His former Railways team-mate and captain Murali Kartik had said after Karn was selected for the Australia Tests that he was his "go-to bowler" in the Ranji Trophy, having kept on improving with time. Part of his success so far surely comes down to his high level of accuracy but another reason for it, Karn said, is his quick-arm action.
"Even though it was slightly unconventional, my coaches always encouraged me to stick with it," he said. "The biggest advantage with my action is, since it's so quick-arm, often the batsman's judgment gets affected by it.
"It takes him quite some time to get used to it and isn't always sure about what delivery is coming at him. Or for that matter, the pace at which it's arriving. For starters, he expects the ball to be flat and not be flighted to any extent. That is where he gets deceived.
"The advantage of having a quick-arm action is that you can bowl your variations without any apparent tweak or adjustment at the point of delivery. Even if there is one, the batsman doesn't get a good look at it. I remember a dismissal two years ago in Hyderabad during a Ranji Trophy game, where the batsman shouldered arms to a googly and was bowled. He was obviously expecting the ball to leave him since it came from a legbreak action. It was similar to how I bowled Mahela Jayawardene through the gate two weeks back [in a practice game] at CCI with a googly."
Karn will also be keen to do well in Australia, if he gets the chance, to impress the player who inspired him to be a legspinner: Shane Warne. "I used to watch him bowl a lot on television. And I was always fascinated by how he would turn the ball a lot even on pitches in Australia and England, which hardly have anything in them for spinners," Karn said. "And the day I took to the field, I just wanted to bowl legspin. Not offspin or seam-up, nothing. Just wanted to do what Warne does."