RANCHI: A legendary former leg-spinner, India 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 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.
In his bid to simulate what Indian batsmen will be up against, Kumble went to the extent of bowling left-arm spinners to Pujara in practice. "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.
What did he do to tackle Starc, who now happens to be out of the India tour with a foot fracture? "Basically getting used to the angle which Starc uses when he comes over the wicket, he tries to take the ball away from the batsman.
"I was just just trying to work on it, getting used to the angle especially when the ball moves away. Just wanted to play close to the body and get used to the angle," added Pujara.