It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Back in the mid-1990s, a teenager from Pakistan took the cricket world by storm as he managed to outfox the world's best batsmen with a mystery delivery. This young off-spinner bowled with a conventional grip, but somehow managed to turn the ball away from the right-hander. Of course the bowler in question is the one and only Saqlain Mushtaq and the delivery we're talking about is the 'Doosra!'
Unlike leg-spinners, who have always had the luxury of the Googly and even the slider, off-spinners had to manage with just one stock delivery. As a result, there were very few successful off-spinners in international cricket. However, Saqlain changed it all when he introduced what wicketkeeper Moin Khan referred to as the 'Doosra.'
Essentially an off-spinner's googly, this ball requires the bowler to have very flexible and strong wrists. Instead of inducing turn with the thumb, a Doosra is bowled by turning the wrist inwards and producing turn with the index finger.
While this might sound simple enough, it takes a lot out of the bowling arm to turn the ball in that direction and bowl over a distance of 22 yards. That is why most Doosra bowlers have a bent-arm action. Over time, this action has been approved by the biomechanics experts of the International Cricket Council (ICC). In fact, the ICC allows an off-spinner to straighten his/her arm by an angle of up to 15 degrees.
All international Doosra bowlers bowl well within this angular limitation. Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, whose action has been scrutinized by several experts, straightens his arm by 10 degrees. India's Harbhajan Singh, who has also had his action reviewed on a couple of occasions, also tends to straighten his bowling arm by 10 degrees.
Other bowlers like Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik, and South African offie Johan Botha are carrying forth the legacy of the Doosra today. Having said that, Cricket Australia has actually banned its coaches from teaching the Doosra to youngsters because they claim that this delivery can't be bowled legally!
However, Aussie off-spinner Jason Krejza once famously used a Doosra to dismiss New South Wales batsman Usman Khawaja in a first-class game. He admitted that he is currently developing a variation of the delivery that he hopes to use regularly.
So while opinions are divided on the legality of this tricky delivery, the fact remains that it's here to stay. After all, it does give off-spinners a much-needed variation in their armoury.
Here's Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal getting a wicket off a Doosra:
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