Legalise the doosra, ICC told
Johan Botha being tested (File)
Dubai - Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja and England batsman Geoff Boycott on Monday urged the game's governing body to legalise the controversial "doosra" delivery, which turns the opposite way to a conventional off-spinner.
"Why not legalise the art of doosra which gives an off-spinner a variation in an otherwise flat one-sided spin?" begged Raja, who is in the country to commentate on Australia's series against Pakistan.
"I see Saeed Ajmal's action being questioned as unacceptable," he added in reference to the Pakistani being reported by the match officials of the second day-night international held in Dubai last Friday.
The 31-year-old Ajmal was reported for his "doosra" - a delivery that is the equivalent to a leg-break bowler's googly. Doosra means "second" or "other one" in Urdu.
Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq, who starred for English county Surrey, was credited with developing the delivery in the late 1990s.
"It looks very similar to a normal off-break, but rather than spin towards the bat, it goes the other way like a leg-break and it adds to the repertoire of an off-spinner, so I see it as an art," said Raja.
Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, India's Harbhajan Singh and Pakistan's Shoaib Malik have all had their actions cleared by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) human movement specialist panel.
South African off-spinner Johan Botha's doosra action was also reported while playing against Australia earlier this month.
Raja said the ICC must relax the laws to allow off-spinners to bowl a "doosra".
"Why not relax the rules and give two to three degrees more to off-spinners to bowl a doosra," said Raja of ICC rules which allow a maximum limit of 15 degrees of flex, meaning no bowler can extend their elbow beyond that level.
Former England captain Boycott criticised the decision taken on Ajmal.
"Muralitharan was cleared, so was Harbhajan, so why question a kid who has just come onto the scene? I think Ajmal has an art and he must execute it," Boycott said.
Saqlain, who now plays for Burslem club after Surrey refused him a contract for his connection with the rebel Indian Cricket League, said he was ready to coach off-spinners to master "doosra."
"If they want to bowl doosra they can bowl it legally and I am ready to teach them," Saqlain said from England. "It is a delivery which can be mastered."
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam also criticised the ICC's decision, saying they lacked consistency in dealing with bowlers with suspect actions.
"I am sad and disappointed at the decision," Alam said. "Ajmal has played against four countries and nobody raised any finger on his action. I think the ICC lacked consistency in their process."