Ambidextrous spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan proving more than a one-trick pony at Under-19 World Cup

Ben SmithThe West Australian
 Ambidextrous spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan sends one down against Sri Lanka at the Under-19 World Cup in Basseterre, Saint Kitts.
Camera Icon Ambidextrous spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan sends one down against Sri Lanka at the Under-19 World Cup in Basseterre, Saint Kitts. Credit: Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

He bowls with the left; he bowls with the right. And in the West Indies, Nivethan Radhakrishnan is going more than alright.

The ambidextrous spinner looms as a key figure for the Australian under-19 side as they plot a path towards World Cup glory in the Caribbean.

The Indian-born, Tasmanian-based spinner is having success with the both ball and bat and after missing Australia’s final group game against Scotland, should return for their crunch quarter final clash with Pakistan on Friday night.

Much of the mystique around the 19 year-old comes from his ability to bowl both right arm off-breaks and slow left arm orthodox.

However, Radhakrishnan has been out to prove he is more than just a novelty, taking four wickets at an average of 22 and strike rate of 25.5 against the West Indies and Sri Lanka in Group D.

While he has bowled with both hands throughout the tournament, his pivotal performance against the hosts, when he took 3-48 and ripped through the middle-order, was notable in that his trio of wickets all came with his right hand.

After relinquishing 21 runs off his first 20 balls, Radhakrishnan forced an errant shot to mid-off from the dangerous Rivaldo Clarke, before claiming his second wicket a few overs later with a ball which threatened to spin, but instead held its line and crashed into the stumps.

Radhakrishnan saved his best until last however, coming over the wicket to bowl a perfect ball at good length outside off-stump and provoking an attempted cover drive from Johann Layne, only for the ball to rip back, elude the hapless batter and hit the wickets.

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA - JANUARY 14: Nivethan Radhakrishnan of Australia plays a shot during the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup match between West Indies and Australia at Providence Stadium on January 14, 2022 in Georgetown, Guyana. (Photo by Ashley Allen-ICC/ICC via Getty Images) Ashley Allen-ICC
Camera IconGEORGETOWN, GUYANA - JANUARY 14: Nivethan Radhakrishnan of Australia plays a shot during the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup match between West Indies and Australia at Providence Stadium on January 14, 2022 in Georgetown, Guyana. (Photo by Ashley Allen-ICC/ICC via Getty Images) Ashley Allen-ICC Credit: Ashley Allen-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

Despite his success with his right hand when bowling, Radhakrishnan bats left-handed, and has shown an aptitude at the crease, batting at five in both his appearances with 31 against the West Indies after 21 in the green and gold’s loss to Sri Lanka.

Radhakrishnan, who moved from Sydney to Hobart after signing a Tasmanian senior contract in June, earned selection to the under-19 World Cup off the back of a pair of promising performances for his state side’s Second XI.

While he has made headlines with his bowling, Radhakrishnan showed off his batting chops all summer, highlighted by an impressive 131 as an opener against Western Australia and 72 against South Australia.

He is also averaging 42 in Tasmania’s Premier League First Grade competition, proving his worth as an all-rounder for top four side Kingborough.

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