Nivethan Radhakrishnan is a rarity in modern day sport. While there is never a shortage of players gifted in one way or another, Nivethan stands far apart. At the tender age of 14, Nivethan is close to making it big as he is all set to make a debut with Karaikudi Kaalai in Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), the second season of which begin from 22 July.
According to a report by Cricbuzz, Nivethan, a bowler who bowls left-arm orthodox, is an ambidextrous player — he is equally comfortable bowling right-arm pace, off-spin, along with being an opening batsman. Son of Anbu Selvan — a former U-25 Tamil Nadu state cricketer, it seems Nivethan was born with cricket in his blood.
Hailed as a boy wonder in 2011 when he took a hat-trick in a fourth division league game in the state, the youngster kept playing in Australia when his father moved there in 2012 for personal reasons. He kept on scoring runs and taking wickets, impressing Aussie legends Greg Chappell, Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh with a knock of 193 for New South Wales.
While Nivethan soon became a part of the NSW junior state team, somewhere in his heart was an ambition to be back in Chennai. And he did come back.
Nivethan attended a trial with Kaalai after playing TNCA lower division league and got the management's confidence, who then went about getting him in their squad.
A journey that started several years ago will finally bear fruit as Nivethan would wish to make his chance count with Karaikudi Kaalai in TNPL.
"It's great to be back in Chennai. I didn't watch TNPL last year. However, now I'm in Chennai preparing for TNPL. I'm trying my best to adjust to the weather and the wickets here. But I'm confident of doing well," said Nivethan.
Having the talent to bowl with both hands, and bat well, the Tamil Nadu lad lists the great Sir Garfield Sobers as his inspiration; someone who himself used to bowl left-arm orthodox, Chinaman and medium-fast when required.
"I love Sachin's (Tendulkar) technique. But I want to emulate what Sir Garry did as a complete all-rounder. I love the West Indies team of his era. I have read almost 16 of his books and my game revolves around most of the techniques that I have read or through the videos I have watched of his. Right from a young age, I have been unorthodox be it batting or bowling."
A lad who wants to balance both studies and his cricketing ambitions, Nivethan has the support of the team management, who are backing on the youngster's attitude and approach to complement his wide-ranging talents.
Having spent time improving his game with Nathan Lyon, Chappell and other Aussie cricketers, it would be interesting to see if Nivethan delivers on his early promise, or whether he too falls off the radar like others who have so far tried their hand at ambidexterity in cricket.