Ambidextrous bowler Mokit Hariharan catches the eye in TNPL

The VB Kanchi Veerans bowler joins Akshay Karnewar and Pakistan's Yasir Jan among those who have used both arms to bowl in recent times

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
With Australia in the midst of world domination in the 2000s, then coach John Buchanan was still looking for ways to add an extra dimension - or an extra arm. "I am disappointed senior coaches are not spending time with fielders, batters and bowlers to develop new skills," Buchanan had said. "Particularly throwing with both hands."
Since then, ambidextrous players - while still rare - have started slowly emerging. In the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) last week for example, VB Kanchi Veerans threw one, Mokit Hariharan, into the mix.
In Sunday's TNPL game against Dindigul Dragons, Mokit was introduced by his captain B Aparajith in the sixth over, where he bowled orthodox left-arm spin to the right-handed N Jagadeesan before switching to right-arm offspin for the left-handed C Hari Nishant.
Although Mokit - a top-order batsman who also bowls occasionally - failed to get a wicket, his unique skill makes him an allrounder of a different kind, forcing opposition batsmen to worry about an extra thing. He finished with 0 for 32 off his four overs and had the second-best economy among the seven bowlers Kanchi Veerans used on Sunday.
Mokit joins Akshay Karnewar, whose ambidextrous bowling for Vidarbha in India's domestic T20 competition befuddled the opposition batsmen two seasons ago, and Yasir Jan, the fast bowler from Pakistan who bowls "around 145kmph with his right arm and no less than 135kmph with his left."
Being able to bowl with both arms has long been considered little more than a gimmick. One of the first times history has recorded an attempt was by Hanif Mohammad when he was bowling to Sir Garfield Sobers, on 364 at the time and needing one to set a world record for the highest individual Test score. Sobers duly pushed a single off the delivery.
Apart from Karnewar and Yasir, Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis bowled with both arms in the 2018 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, while Bangladesh women's Shaila Sharmin has made this unique skill a potent weapon.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo