New Delhi, March 10: It seems head coach Anil Kumble has found a way to help Indian batsmen tackle Australian left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe.
The 46-year-old Kumble, who is India's highest wicket-taker (3rd in the world) in Tests has himself decided to prepare Virat Kohli and his boys to play O'Keefe well in the upcoming Test match in Ranchi.
Kumble, who is among India's finest spinner, started bowling left-handed in the nets to solve middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara strengthen his technique against Australia's left-arm bowlers.
"Because they have a left-arm spinner (O'Keefe) he was trying to replicate the ball coming from the corner of the crease and just angling the ball into the right hander and tried to spin it from there. I was just trying to get used to that angle. And it was really useful for me," said Pujara in an interview to BCCI.TV.
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 Bengaluru.
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.
"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," Pujara told 'bcci.tv' ahead of the third Test beginning here March 16.
"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.
"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. "Yes he did. He knew where to bowl, the ball pitched on the rough and I stepped out only to get beaten," said the batsman.
The BCCI shared the video on its site in which 'The Jumbo', he is fondly called, could be seen bowling left-arm spin to Pujara.
Here's the video:
It was a pleasant surprise for the Indian cricket fans, who until now had seen Kumble bowling with the right hand, were astonished to see his quality.
India were stunned by O'Keefe in the opening Test Australia in Pune where he single-handedly rattled Virat Kohli and his boys in both the innings as hosts lost the game by whopping 333 runs.
Stung by the humiliating defeat in the series-opener, Kumble is preparing India hard to come back strongly against O'Keefe in Ranchi, which like Pune will be hosting its first ever Test match when hosts clash with Smith and Company on April 16.
India, however, came back strongly against O'Keefe in the second Test in Bengaluru where he didn't look that lethal.