Inverarity is wrong about the doosra

And so is everyone who says you can’t bowl it without chucking. I’ve changed my mind a little over this debate. My biggest post in terms of hits (86) with was this one, about Saeed Ajmal and my opinion that he chucks his doosra.

In one sense I haven’t changed my mind, I still think Ajmal chucks his doosra (not to mention his teesra) but I also said in that post that I didn’t see how it was possible to bowl the doosra without chucking it. I’ve sort of changed my mind on that one.

Saqlain Mushtaq was one of the first to bowl the doosra well, and there were never to my knowledge any questions about his action. Muralitharan obviously couldn’t fully straighten his arm, and I don’t believe he necessarily chucked his doosra.

This brings me to John Inverarity and his comments about not wanting young Australian bowlers to bowl the doosra. Talking to an Australian Cricket Society lunch he said, “The question is being asked now about ‘do we develop the doosra bowlers or not’. That’s a question of integrity for Cricket Australia. I don’t think we do” He also said “We’ve got to keep our integrity and teach our bowlers to bowl properly”

Would he not even want them to bowl it if they could bowl like Saqlain or had a hyper-flexible/double jointed wrist that allowed them to do so without chucking? What needs to be recognised is that calling someone for chucking can ruin their career, and so encouraging bad actions is a bad thing to do, but not all doosras are produced from bad actions

So, that doesn’t mean that a blanket ban on bowling the doosra should be imposed by Australian cricket. Most off spinners won’t be able to manage it, Graeme Swann has freely admitted that he has tried and failed to bowl a consistent doosra, but some might.

Inverarity, in trying to get rid of the doosra, has set himself all sorts of unorthodoxy. Wrong footed actions like that of Mike Proctor, or more currently Jack Shantry, may be a bad thing to teach, but that doesn’t mean they should be coached out of people to whom they come naturally.

Without unorthodoxy, comes no innovation. Bernard Bosquant was impugned for being against the spirit of the game for inventing the googly, yet now nobody would argue against the googly as being a part of the game.

The googly is a good comparison to make, because for a hundred years, leg-spinners have had their ball that goes the other way, surely the off-spinners should be allowed to at least try to bowl theirs?

Originally published 26-Oct-2012

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