2 August 2021 10:02

Meet the Indian-Australian teenager who can spin from both ends

“I am not like other kids. I am not like other people. I am not like other cricketers. I’m not better – I’m not worse – but I’m different.”

Indian-origin young cricket Nivethan Radhakrishnan, popularly known as ‘Nivvi, can spin the ball from both ends.

NSW talent manager David Freedman, who has seen Nivvi’s rise from the U13s, told Cricket.com.au:

“He’s probably one of the more naturally talented and gifted players to have come through our pathway system.”

John Buchanan 1
Image source: John Buchanan – Wikipedia.

Two decades ago John Buchanan declared ambidexterity in cricket was the next natural evolution for elite players.

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On his unique style, the 18-year-old response:

“I am not like other kids. I am not like other people. I am not like other cricketers. I’m not better – I’m not worse – but I’m different.”

ponting m 2
Image source: Ricky Ponting – Wikipedia.

In 2020, the Delhi Capitals, who had seen him playing for an Australia Under-16 team in Dubai against Pakistan in 2019, had arranged for him to be a net bowler for the duration of the tournament.

Nivvi is happy that he was able to observe the Delhi coach, Ricky Ponting.

“And I was like, ‘Oh boy, I’ve got Ricky Ponting watching me bat! Oh my God – this is peak.”

Right-handed Nivvi started practising bowling with alternating arms to an empty net or to people keen on facing him.

It was Nivvi’s dad who suggested that he try bowling with his left arm. 

“I remember the sentence very clearly. ‘No-one has done it – ever. So why not?'”

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Image source: Nivvi in action for NSW Metro at the 2019-20 National Championships / Cricket Australia

Nivvi worked hard on his bowling and adopted an attitude that matches some of the stalwarts of this game.

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Freedman says:

“The first thing that struck me was his love for the game, even at a young age. He was always very confident and very ambitious, but certainly not in an arrogant way and he always had that wonderful work ethic. He was always prepared to experiment and try new things and make mistakes as he tried to improve. That work ethic was rare in such a young player.”

Nivethan Radhakrishnan Twitter NSW 4
Image source – Twitter Cricket NSW

Apart from coaches and fellow cricketers, Nivvi also has to deal with comments made about his style obn various social media. He says:

“I’ve had people telling I’m the greatest, I’ve had people telling me, ‘You bowling with both hands is just a gimmick, mate’, I’ve had experienced cricketers I’ve really wanted to make conversation with, famous ones, that told me I was trash and that my skillset was not going to hold. But I’ve also had random people walking through the park see me (bowl) and tell me, ‘Mate, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, and I don’t even know cricket’.”

Now, only time will tell if Nivvi is the next best thing that happened to Australian cricket.

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