Saqlain: Doosra not illegal

2014-09-15 16:00
Saqlain Mushtaq (File)

Karachi - Retired spin king Saqlain Mushtaq on Monday defended the controversial "doosra" delivery he invented, which has come under renewed scrutiny since fellow Pakistani Saaed Ajmal's chucking ban last week.

The doosra, which means "the second one" in Urdu, turns from legside to offside -- the opposite direction to orthodox off breaks.

It is bowled from the back of the hand with a lot of top-spin, though the bowler's wrist still moves in a clockwise direction, making it difficult for a batsman to pick.

Saqlain is credited with its invention, adding to a list of Pakistani innovations in cricket including the batsman's reverse-sweep and reverse swing bowling.

But the delivery has come to be regarded with deep suspicion by many, particularly in Australia and England, where critics charge that doosra bowlers bend their arm beyond the permissible 15 degree limit.

Saqlain, who took 208 Test and 288 one-day wickets, said that the naysayers were wrong.

"Who says doosra is illegal?" he asked. "It can easily delivered within the allowed rules. It is not an easy delivery to bowl but if a bowler becomes expert he doesn't transgress limits."

"You need to have strong muscles to bowl a doosra, then fitness matters, also grip, rhythm and follow through. If just one of these things is missing then you get out of limits," he added.

Saqlain, who comes from a humble background, recalled he discovered the delivery while playing cricket with a table tennis ball.

"I used to play with my brother and cousin at the roof of my house in Lahore and tried the doosra with a table tennis ball," he said.

"I got very excited when the ball turned the other way."

"I tried and tried and perfected it and when I used to go to play club matches I would baffle the batsmen with doosra, and on winning the matches I was rewarded with sumptuous lunches and dinners. And from there I broke into the Pakistan team."

Saqlain will arrive in Lahore next week to start remedial work on Ajmal's action, reported during the Galle Test against Sri Lanka last month.

The ban was imposed by the International Cricket Council.

Ajmal's action was then assessed in a bio-mechanics lab in Brisbane, Australia which revealed he flexes his elbow up to 43 degrees for his off-spinner and 42 for his doosra.

Saqlain said he hoped to alter Ajmal's action, though some believe Ajmal may be too old to change his ways at 36.

"I am quite hopeful of helping him. I am not making any guarantees but will see his reports and footage and then try my best."

Ajmal, for his part, told reporters Monday he was focused on his comeback as he began his remedial programme.

"I am sitting in front of you without any tension, whatever happened was disappointing but I am focused on staging a strong comeback," he said.

Pakistan have considered off-spinners Atif Maqbool and Adnan Rasool to replace Ajmal in the short-term. Both are prolific performers at domestic level -- but both have suspect actions.

Read more on:    cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

The Proteas have announced plans to play a four-day Test against Zimbabwe starting on Boxing Day. What do you make of this?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.