A legendary former leg-spinner and India head coach Anil Kumble went to the extent of bowling left-arm spin to help Cheteshwar Pujara overcome the challenges posed by Steve O'Keefe in the ongoing Test series against Australia.
Pujara, who fell to left-arm spinner O'Keefe and premier pacer Mitchell Starc in the Pune Test, struck a gritty 92 in the second innings to set up a series-levelling win for India in Bangalore.
He worked hard on his game following the Pune debacle and got the help of Kumble and fielding coach R Sridhar. O'Keefe had proved to be unplayable in Pune, ending with career-best figures of 12 for 70.
In his bid to simulate what Indian batsmen will be up against, Kumble bowled left-arm spinners to Pujara in practice.
Cheteshwar Pujara As they have a left-arm spinner, Anil bhai was trying to replicate that, coming from corner of the crease and angling into the right hander and try to spin it from there. So I was just trying to get used to that angle as well.
Sridhar was coming in from over the stumps, banging in short and just taking the ball away.
Cheteshwar Pujara It was really useful especially Sridhar, he was really accurate. Anil tried his best even though he is a right-arm bowler but he tried bowling left-arm spin and still was decent enough for practice.
The spin great even managed to beat Pujara.
Cheteshwar Pujara Yes he did. He knew where to bowl, the ball pitched on the rough and I stepped out only to get beaten.
(With inputs from PTI)