Why is the 'doosra' a wrong'un for English off-spinners?

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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:35 pm

Afternoon all

Given England's well documented troubles with spin, and particularly with a spinner that possesses the ability to turn the ball both ways, it got me thinking why we as a country don't tend to produce such 'mystery' spinners. Indeed, it seems to be very much a sub-continent trait, with examples of purveyors of the doosra from England, Australia and South Africa few and far between.

I wrote the following blog about the issue, and think it is certainly something that English cricket may need to embrace, not only for the bowlers but for the batsmen, too.

Take a look, and let me know your own thoughts regarding this enigma of a delivery - should we teach our off-spinners to bowl it?

http://andy-bloxham.blogspot.com/


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Post by Biltong on Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:55 pm

apart from not having any spin talent in SA, the one guy in SA that wanted to bowl a doosra or wron'un has been banned to do it. Doh
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Post by Mike Selig on Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:08 pm

I personally don't think you can bowl a doosra.

But anyway, as to the article, the doosra is a fairly recent invention (although others including Jack Iversen bowled similar deliveries way back), so not unusual that it hasn't taken the world by storm quite yet.

South Africa don't produce spinners in general so no surprise there.

Australian pitches are very much not conductive to finger spin in general, so Australia produce fewer finger spinners and more leg-spinners, therefore it's natural they produce fewer doosra bowlers, but Krejza has one, as do a couple around in grade cricket if you believe Jeremy Bray.

England don't produce mystery spinners because of the archaic reasoning of most of the grass-roots coaches there was around in the 90s, mainly thanks to the Graham Gooch effect (as discussed by myself in the HoF thread). Anything unusual was treated with suspicion, and spinners were encouraged to bowl flat and accurate rather than risk actually trying to, you know, spin the thing. Wet pitches didn't help (try getting a youngster to bowl off-spin on a wet pitch; everything sits up and gets hammered off the back foot). But really the problem was poor coaching. Which explains also why England hasn't recently produced any leg-spinners of note: emphasis was placed on the now (and a young leggie will always go for loads) rather than the what could be.

There are signs that this is changing, and if you go to watch some youngster matches you'll see there are some mystery spinners coming through. I don't think it's too long before we see some of these in the county game.

In France we have a couple of guys who bowl a doosra, one of whoom I have coached and helped develop it. It is natural progression.

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Post by gboycottnut on Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:33 pm

"South Africa don't produce spinners in general so no surprise there."

But didn't South Africa at one time during their very early test status have 3 or 4 spin bowlers in their test side as a result of playing on matting wickets.

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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:40 pm

Referring back to your first comment, Mike, are you of the belief that a doosra is actually a bit of a chuck?

I think it is, to be honest. Ajmal most definitely chucks it, and so did Murali. Controversial perhaps, but just from what I see with my own eyes.

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Post by Biltong on Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:51 pm

Fists, as you say, Botha was banned from bowling his doosra, but yey others get away with it with medical explanations.

Go figure.
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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:04 pm

The case of Maurice Holmes has a medical element to it too, Biltong.

Holmes is said to have incredibly supple joints. In fact, he once got hit by a car and received minimal damage, shocking doctors as he should have been much worse off from such a collision. That is part of the reasoning behind his being able to bowl the doosra, but medical grounds certainly didn't allow for him.

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Post by Biltong on Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:18 pm

Well I think that chucking is a matter of perception.

For me Malinga chucks, even though I know he has been cleared, it just doesn't look like over the shoulder, or round the shoulder or whatever the criteria is.

Murali also chucked himself to 800 wickets.

but what do I know.
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Post by Guest on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:38 pm

IMO a doosra can only be bowled by chucking it.

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Post by Mike Selig on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:52 pm

Fists of Fury wrote:Referring back to your first comment, Mike, are you of the belief that a doosra is actually a bit of a chuck?

Yes. I have seen many people try, and have tried myself. I don't believe you can bowl it without knowingly flexing your elbow. Whether your elbow flexes more than 15 degrees I'm obviously not qualified to comment.

What I would say though, is that people being cleared by bowling the doosra without chucking it in completely artificial laboratory surroundings doesn't mean they don't chuck it when in the heat of a pressurised international match.

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Post by Mike Selig on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:53 pm

Anyway we should try and stick to the topic...

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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:56 pm

Completely agree with your 2nd paragraph there, Mike, but yeah, we should stick to the topic otherwise this is soon going to implode in to a 'lets label everyone witha doosra a chucker debate' which I'm sure we have all seen done plenty of times before.

You have to think that the likes of England are missing a trick though by discouraging the development of the doosra amongst their off-spinners. It is a huge weapon on the international stage, where that extra something is often needed to remove world class batsmen.

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Post by ShahenshahG on Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:20 pm

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/404772.html


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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:24 pm

Nice one, Shah, thanks for sharing. Interesting insight in to Botha's own struggles with the delivery.

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Post by ShahenshahG on Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:39 pm

Does anyone think Saqlain chucked? I can't remember him ever being called or accused?

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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:44 pm

He was one of the only purveyors of the doosra that was never called, Shah.

To be honest, I can't remember his doosra all that well, I'll have to take a look at some videos.

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Post by rich1uk on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:21 pm

its hard to discuss the topic without discussing the legality of the delivery however

i might be completely wrong in this but wasn't swann at one time experimenting with a doosra but said he didn't feel he could bowl it legally. it might be that we aren't encouraging young spinners to develop a doosra as coaches feel it cant be bowled with a legal action.

therefore the key aspect to this topic becomes a kind of "cant beat them join them" sort of thing in that we accept its not a legal delivery but learn it anyway as other people get away with it

i still think that theres alot of thing spinners can be doing to get variety and a level of "mystery" into their bowling without a doosra


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Post by Mike Selig on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:30 pm

Fists of Fury wrote:
You have to think that the likes of England are missing a trick though by discouraging the development of the doosra amongst their off-spinners. It is a huge weapon on the international stage, where that extra something is often needed to remove world class batsmen.

I don't think they are anymore TBH. Just a few dinosaurs who believe cricket was better when people bowled underarm (I exaggerate for effect). As I say, I've seen a few bowlers around on the youth circuit who aren't afraid to try the doosra. Any coach worth his salt will encourage it.

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Post by Mike Selig on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:35 pm

rich1uk wrote:

i might be completely wrong in this but wasn't swann at one time experimenting with a doosra but said he didn't feel he could bowl it legally. it might be that we aren't encouraging young spinners to develop a doosra as coaches feel it cant be bowled with a legal action.

I saw an interview when Swann was asked how his doosra was coming along, and in typical Swann style he said "not that well, it hurts my elbow quite a bit" clearly indicating what his thoughts are. As to the second sentence see "dinosaur".

rich1uk wrote:
therefore the key aspect to this topic becomes a kind of "cant beat them join them" sort of thing in that we accept its not a legal delivery but learn it anyway as other people get away with it

Quite possibly, or maybe we should stop worrying quite so much about a vague british notion of "fairness" and accept that to bowl/throw a doosra accurately and effectively requires quite a significant amount of skill, and therefore should be encouraged.

rich1uk wrote:
i still think that theres alot of thing spinners can be doing to get variety and a level of "mystery" into their bowling without a doosra

Doesn't mean they shouldn't give it a go though. To be honest though, I don't agree with the philosophy of "basics first, fancy stuff later". If someone has a fantastic talent for the fancy stuff we should be nurturing and encouraging that rather than forcing him to do the basics first. Another hangover from the Gooch effect. Imagine Malinga (or even Morgan) growing up in England in the 90s. Wouldn't have stood a chance.

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Post by rich1uk on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:43 pm

as far as the coaching thing in general i am definitely of the view that a good coach builds on a players natural ability and tries to find ways to help players maximise that natural ability rather than try to turn them into a clone of the coach himself

i think thats one of the things thats wrong with the england approach to playing spin atm they are all being coached to play spin in a certain way even tho its not natural to them and look at the results

my comment about spinners wasn't remotely a suggestion that we focus on "basics first, fancy stuff later" but thats assuming a certain level of performance and ability is present in the first place. i was merely saying that a doosra is not the be all and end all of variety when it comes to a spinners arsenal

as far as commenting on a old fashioned view of "fairness" my views have nothing to do with that, its either legal or it isn't, fairness has nothing to do with it.

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Post by Mike Selig on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:58 pm

I think you have managed to come up with a post with which I agree 100%. clap

Certainly if someone can't bowl a doosra I don't think it's a huge handicap, at least until you reach a certain level, and even then Swann (and to a lesser extent Lyon and even Hauritz) have shown you can still be successful without one.

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Post by JDizzle on Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:34 pm

I've done my Level 1 coaching course from the ECB in the past year and the thing that they very much drum into you is that the only time you should try and change a kid's action is if they are in danger of causing long term damage to themselves in their bowling action e.g. twisting the back in the delivery, but that being different and unique should be encouraged, so it does show that the culture is being changed from the very bottom of the coaching pyramid.

I just think we produce less spinners than other places. You see bowlers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka learning the doosra because they are spinners tracks and with a wider pool of spinners to pick from you are likely to get more that can bowl it. Whereas from Eng, SA and Aus where finger spinners are less common because the pitches don't suit it, you get less bowlers bowling the doosra. There must be a correlation.

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Post by Fists of Fury on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:04 pm

That's great to hear, JD. Very refreshing. If there is one thing that England sides have perhaps missed over the years it is unorthodoxy in some shape or form.

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