Posted by: nestaquin | April 27, 2009

Chapal Cup: Doosra Under Scrutiny

saeed-ajmalLater today at Sheik Zayad Stadium in Abu Dubai Australia meet Pakistan in what could be the deciding match of the series. The form of both teams is vague and inconsistent and a win today would see either team in a dominant position with their opponents needing to win the last two matches consecutively to triumph.

It is no secret that Australia are using this series as practice and trials for the second World T20 Championships in the United Kingdom. A win or a loss matters very little to their supporters as just like the team they have their eyes on the bigger picture and prize.

Pakistan, on the other hand, are striving for credibility and they certainly have more to play for than their opponents. Additionally, their supporters need every little bit of cheer they can garner. It’s been a tough couple of years in Pakistan both on and off the cricket field and with expectations high the pressure is squarely on the home team in exile.

Saeed Ajmal’s accusation of chucking won’t help their focus but under current laws he is still able to complete the series before being biomechanically tested. However, the Pakistani management’s reaction to the allegation, that is, to blame Shane Watson and implicate Murali and Harbhajan Singh, was as immature as it was ridiculous and will only hinder the focus of the home team.

The fact that the four men officiating the match, three Pakistanis and a Kiwi, submitted a report to the ICC about his action, something I assume that is not done without much discussion and evidence, seems to have escaped the home team.

Why is it that whenever Pakistan are questioned for illegalities or questionable behavior they always assume the role of victim? More respect would be forthcoming if they took it on the chin and saw the process through without attempting to blame others for their predicament.

The doosra is a very difficult ball to bowl without purchase from the elbow and few can bowl it legally. After relaxing the laws that have stood for centuries several years ago, and remembering that Johan Botha was belatedly called recently, it appears that the ICC has finally had enough of the plethora of illegal actions from off-spinners that attempt to bowl the delivery.

Personally, I think it is for the betterment of the game at all levels and I applaud and support the ICC in their renewed efforts to enforce the laws of the game without fear of favour.



  1. It might be possible to bowl the doosra within the rules, but I doubt it. Every time I see it bowled live or on telly, it looks elbow propelled and illegal.

  2. If Murali can bowl, anyone can!

    I cannot believe that these bowlers are being scrutinized when they have let Murali off the hook.

    But oh well.

    Oh and btw, it is spelled “Sheikh Zayed” :-)

  3. Freeze frame any doosra and there are points at which the elbow is bent and points at which it is straight. I don’t care for the biometric tests and everything else, just look and see. That’s how the founders of the game judged it and it’s how we should.

  4. The precedent set for Murali and the subsequent rule change was always going to be exploited. That’s what professional sportsman do; they push the rules to the limit for advantage.

    That isn’t going to change so the ICC either have to crackdown on the doosra or allow throwing instead of bowling.

    Technology has only muddied the waters in this instance and I reckon that if the four umpires in a match agree that a bowler is throwing then he should be cited, warned and if selected before remediation no-balled if he does it again.

    Like it or lump it the umpires decision should always be final and eroding that foundation stone of the game is the most irresponsible decision that the ICC has made since its inception a century ago.

  5. I agree that if four umpires (with access to TV pictures) believe that there is significant doubt, there should be a referral at the end of the match and remedial work carried out. After that, it should be the same as running on the pitch. One throw and a warning, two and a second warning, three and removal from the attack for that match.

    You can see that the doosra is thrown sitting in the Pavilion 90 metres away – doesn’t matter who bowls it. I saw three or four bowlers doing it at The Oval last season. Saqlain barely used it at all preferring the gentle swinger which is just as good most of the time.

  6. I’d say the precedent set for Murali was okay, because his hyperextending elbow is a genetic condition. Those who seek to exploit it, if they have no similar condition, should not be allowed to bowl.

    Raking Murali up is a bit tangential to the current situation. It’s unfair – here he is, arguably the greatest bowler of all time, and there’s always a caveat attached to his achievements. That shouldn’t be the case.

  7. While I agree with you on the point that Pakistan management should have taken it on the chin rather than making foolish statements which will have no bearing on the process but I do not agree with you regarding his doosra, if his doosra is illegal then Harbhajan’s and Murali’s doosra is much more illegal.

    Why the umpires needed Watson to point it out?
    Is there a law that unless a player points it out the umpires are not going to report illegal delivery or its in their job to monitor every delivery carefully and report any suspicious deliveries? He has played in four series why he was not reported before?

    As Q said if Murali is allowed to bowl then anybody can bowl. It’s nothing but a ploy to put the youngster under pressure, he will come out clean.

    • There is no law whatsoever that allows a player to make such an allegation. It is purely up to the four umpires to report these things. You make a good point as to why the umpires needed Watson to point it out. Perhaps his complaint encouraged them to do what they should in regards to the rules.

      Also, as I allude to above, maybe he was reported because he pushed the elbow action beyond what the umpires considered acceptable. To back up your point, if Botha is allowed to bowl then anything goes. I reckon that sooner rather than later this issue will reach boiling point and the ICC will need to change the rule again. They may revert to the old rule – probably when Murali retires – but they may extend it 20% and with that a whole new style of ‘bowling’ will develop.

      I for one agree with Toots and think that it should be a subjective call by the umps much like running on the pitch, wide deliveries and lbws.

      As for Ajmal, if he stops bowling the doosra he’ll be fine.

  8. I see Khan has now made statements about such controversies always happening against Australia. I’m sorry Pakistan is having problems, and I guess world cricket is the poorer for it, but that sort of attitude doesn’t really make me look forward to seeing more of them. Their bowler is reported for illegal action and he converts it to a thinly veiled racist attack?
    “Why shouldn’t he bowl the doosra?” he asks. Simple answer: because the umpires suspect it of being illegal.
    Watson committed the crime of talking to the umpires, and was immediately assumed to be accusing Ajmal. Even if he was (which Clarke says he wasn’t), its hardly the point is it? Watson has the right to open his mouth, and the fundamental problem is the bowling action, not who saw what or who said what.
    You can’t change from being the trangressor to the victim by virtue of a press conference.

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