In the semi-final of the 1981-82 Ranji season, with Karnataka left-arm Raghuram Bhatt spinner coiling webs around Bombay's batsmen, Sunil Gavaskar walked out as a left-hand batsman to negate him in the second innings. Gavaskar went on to score an unbeaten 18 and save Bombay from outright defeat. Akshay Sawai of the Open magazine looks back at what is probably Gavaskar's most unusual innings.

Gavaskar says, “The ball was turning square and Raghuram Bhat was pretty much unplayable on that surface. Since he was a left-hand orthodox spinner getting the ball to turn and bounce sharply away from the right-handers, I thought that the way to counter that was by playing left handed where the ball would turn and bounce but hit the body harmlessly (without the risk of getting out leg before wicket).”

“I could understand the adverse reactions,” Gavaskar says. “It was felt that it was done in pique, but it was nothing like that at all. I felt I had zero chance against Raghu batting right handed, and since the match was already decided in Karnataka’s favour, I tried the tactic. If the match was in the balance, I certainly would not have batted left handed. Also, please remember I batted left handed only against Raghuram Bhat. When a right hand spinner (B Vijayakrishna) came along, I switched to batting right handed again.”

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo