October 27, 2012

Doosra: Is it really a question of integrity?

John Inverarity has bowled me a doosra today with his comments about the doosra and integrity
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John Inverarity has bowled me a doosra today with his comments about the doosra and integrity. I'm genuinely not sure which way to play this one.

That he is a gentleman and a scholar there can be no doubt. His reputation as man of decency and integrity allows him the privilege of making a comment such as this with some immunity from anyone looking to take cheap shots at him. From that perspective, reading his words carefully, I can draw no hint of mischief or hypocrisy in his brave statement. Perhaps a long bow could be drawn to infer that he is pointing fingers at some bowlers but I genuinely think that to do so would be to do the gentleman an injustice. Clearly he believes that the doosra has the potential to corrupt bowling actions and he would prefer to see the Australian bowling contingent shy away from that technique. Fair enough too if that is his genuine belief.

On the other hand, I also believe that it may be a bit naïve on the part of Australian cricket, if Inverarity is speaking on behalf of the institution rather than as an individual, to encourage a policy that is clearly going to disadvantage Australia to this extent. Put simply, the doosra is arguably the most potent bowling weapon in modern cricket. Especially in limited overs cricket, it is probably the single most influential factor in giving bowling teams a sniff of hope. The fast bowlers have proved woefully inadequate in coming up with anything new to stem the flow of boundaries. In fact, their skill level has actually dropped some considerable level, evidenced by the steady diet of full tosses that are served up at least once an over when under pressure. So the doosra and the variations that followed (carrom ball) can lay claim to being the most influential game-changer. When a bowler with a good doosra comes on to bowl, I immediately sit up and take notice because there is always the chance that a game can be turned on its head. Since Shane Warne led the new spin revolution, nothing has excited me more in the bowling stakes than the perfection of the various types of doosra.

That is why I am slightly flummoxed by Inverarity's stance on it. Whilst not necessarily agreeing with his inference that it may lead to illegal actions, I respect his integrity enough to accept his point in the spirit it was intended. However, to encourage Australian spinners to not learn the art form is possibly putting principle before pragmatism. That in itself is admirable if it were applied universally but no country, least of all Australia, has ever applied this morality on a 'whole of cricket' basis so what makes the doosra so special? Is Inverarity suggesting that Australian cricket should now make decisions on the basis of integrity or is the doosra singled out as the one issue where we apply the Integrity Test? If so, is it any coincidence that we don't really have anyone who can bowl the doosra with any great proficiency and will that change on the day we discover our own Doosra Doctor?

All countries have their own inconsistencies to be ashamed of so I'm not suggesting that Australia is alone in this regard. Far from it. Living in Australia, I just get to see a lot more of the local cricketing news so I'm better qualified to make comment on Australian examples. A few examples spring to mind….let's think back to the times when we prepared turning tracks in the 1980s to beat the West Indies. A fair enough tactic too so long as there's no complaints if other teams prepare pitches to suit their strengths. Similarly, I recall a period during the late 1990s when Australian teams insisted on having their fielder's word accepted when a low catch had been taken. That theory worked OK until Andy Bichel claimed a caught and bowled off Michael Vaughan in the 2002/03 Ashes series when replays showed it had clearly bounced in front of him. I know Bich quite well and he is as honest as they come so it was genuinely a case of him thinking it had carried when in fact it hadn't. Around that same period, Justin Langer refused to walk when caught by Brian Lara at slip, despite the Australian mantra that a fielder's word was his bond. They come no more honourable than Lara in this regard so what happened to the principle? Like all matters of convenience, it is admirable but rarely works when it becomes an inconvenient truth.

And that is the source of my confusion with linking the doosra to the question of integrity. I'm not convinced that the integrity issue will stand the test of time if Australia accidentally discovers a home-grown exponent of this delivery. Likewise the issue of the switch-hit. Now that Dave Warner plays it as well as anyone, are we opposed to this too on integrity grounds? If Warner hadn't mastered the shot, would that too be something that we would not encourage because it perhaps bent the spirit of cricket?

Only time will tell whether Inverarity's wisdom and guidance will be mirrored by those in the organisation with perhaps less integrity and more pragmatism in their veins. I suspect it will take more than one decent man to stop an irresistible force. His motives may be pure indeed but I suspect that this is one issue that will turn the other way!

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Matt on December 17, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Inverarity’s comments seem fair to me.

    Bowlers are required to deliver the ball without straightening their arm. This was traditionally judged with the benefit of the naked eye. Technology now shows that even with the best of intentions, bowlers will flex their elbows, presumably without intending to do so. So, some latitude has been permitted to allow deliveries which are intended to be delivered with a straight arm but involve some involuntary degree of straightening.

    The difficulty with the doosra is that it seems to require deliberate straightening in order to be bowled but the bowler tries to stay within the permitted limits. Intentionally bowling with a bent arm but trying not to break the latitude which the law allows will inevitably lead to the boundaries being pushed and threatens the integrity of the game.

  • Aarash Amjad on November 20, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    they are just thinking about doosra, beacuse they can`t face it with confidence. specially doosra of S. Ajmal is a mystifier , unique and Amazing. he can be more dangerous in Australia and Caribian.

  • John on November 2, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    @Gibb - I used to think the underarm delivery wasn't on, but I've changed my mind because at least it forced a rethink in the rules to say it is outlawed (I think this would have happened at some point regardless of whether Chappell had done it or not). There are still plenty of areas where people respect some sort of weird honour code eg not bowling full tosses (hell it even used to be considered ungentlemanly like to hit on the leg side!), ok so these can be sometimes easier to hit for a boundary but often it is an unexpected delivery. Sometimes I think it's worthwhile testing the rules, in this case allowing spinners to use a questionable delivery (the doosra) might get it more exposure and perhaps a rule change if necessary.

  • Gibb on November 1, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Integrity ??? Does Anyone Remember when Greg Chappell Had Trevor Chappell bowl the Last ball of an innings underhand (Rolled on the Pitch Which has been illegal forever)so it would not be hit for a six, Which was needed to win the game,Think it Was Against New Zealand. Where was the Australian Integrity Then ?? Or the Incident with Andrew Symonds against India ?? Both Captains and also the teams had agreed to the Honour Code. (when you nicked it u walked).Needless to say Australia did not. in Particular Andrew Symonds did not.

  • bala on November 1, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Any body who has tried bowling off spin will know that it impossible to bowl a doosra without bending the elbow. So I can undertstand what Mr. Inverarity is trying to say here, Even if the Aussie kids try to bowl doosras their coaches will forbid them because it is not the way cricket is supposed to be played. I am sure no one will have a problem with Mendis or Narine like actons.

  • truthdead on November 1, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    i think shabut and sauf (may be some others i didnt spot) are spot on here.it's a case of sour grapes. i dare also say aussies are not as rigid as they may appear in terms of allowing inventive spin bowling at domestic level. they, like all the others, will secretly want someone like narine or ajmal. But obviously they are having a hard time finding anyone close to that.they'll bash the doosra and its possessors until they find one.it was glaring how chappel called swann(who's a very good offie, without any mysteries of course!)the greatest spin bowler at present and putting an under-19 level indian next to him,without even caring to acknowledge that a bowler in the name of ajmal exist. but the way saffers played swann, and the way most of the test playing nations played ajmal says you truth is far from what Mr. Chappel likes to believe.

  • criclogics on November 1, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Australian cricket and integrity? Sorry mate. Far too many examples than you have given to prove that they are opposites. The day Australia has a good exponent of the Doosra, this talk will vanish.

  • Meety on October 31, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    @cricketlover at October 31, 2012 12:34 AM -sorry mate - you are completely WRONG! In the last couple of years, Cric Oz, have had Saqlain Mushtaq out doing coaching sessions & invited Murali. By my reckoning that is TWO sub-continental spinners that have been asked! With regards reverse swing - it was never regarded as cheating, BALL TAMPERING was regarded as cheating. A man I highly admire - Imran Khan, even admitted to ball tampering! I also remember watching Geoff Lawson picking the hell out of a seam on national TV. Ball tampering got outlawed & since then reverse swing techniques are way different from the 2 Ws era! Reverse swing was around LONG before the 2 Ws! On a different note - wasn't Shaid Afridi caught eating the ball a few yrs back?

  • cricketlover on October 31, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    spot on mate! as soon as CA discovers a bowler who can bowl doosra all this talk of integerity will be out the window. remember dan cullen who claimed he can bowl it and hauritz when he was in test side said he tried to bowl but couldn't ? well thats the crux of the problem really. aussie spinners can't bowl doosra and CA is too proud to ask someone from sub continent to help them learn the 'ART'. so it remains a blot on the integerity of cricket !!

    btw, reverse swing was 'cheating' in the 90s when both waqar and wasim destroyed england. but later from mid to late 90s when darren gough and co started to do it the cheating became an 'ART' and it became hall of fame when eng got ashes back in 2005 on back of simon jones and freddy's reverse swing heroics.

  • Gizza on October 30, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    I think the carom ball is a more legitimate delivery for off-spinners to add to their arsenal. @Tom Moody, is that actually you? It would be great if former cricketers comment on Cricinfo more often!

  • Matt on December 17, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Inverarity’s comments seem fair to me.

    Bowlers are required to deliver the ball without straightening their arm. This was traditionally judged with the benefit of the naked eye. Technology now shows that even with the best of intentions, bowlers will flex their elbows, presumably without intending to do so. So, some latitude has been permitted to allow deliveries which are intended to be delivered with a straight arm but involve some involuntary degree of straightening.

    The difficulty with the doosra is that it seems to require deliberate straightening in order to be bowled but the bowler tries to stay within the permitted limits. Intentionally bowling with a bent arm but trying not to break the latitude which the law allows will inevitably lead to the boundaries being pushed and threatens the integrity of the game.

  • Aarash Amjad on November 20, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    they are just thinking about doosra, beacuse they can`t face it with confidence. specially doosra of S. Ajmal is a mystifier , unique and Amazing. he can be more dangerous in Australia and Caribian.

  • John on November 2, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    @Gibb - I used to think the underarm delivery wasn't on, but I've changed my mind because at least it forced a rethink in the rules to say it is outlawed (I think this would have happened at some point regardless of whether Chappell had done it or not). There are still plenty of areas where people respect some sort of weird honour code eg not bowling full tosses (hell it even used to be considered ungentlemanly like to hit on the leg side!), ok so these can be sometimes easier to hit for a boundary but often it is an unexpected delivery. Sometimes I think it's worthwhile testing the rules, in this case allowing spinners to use a questionable delivery (the doosra) might get it more exposure and perhaps a rule change if necessary.

  • Gibb on November 1, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Integrity ??? Does Anyone Remember when Greg Chappell Had Trevor Chappell bowl the Last ball of an innings underhand (Rolled on the Pitch Which has been illegal forever)so it would not be hit for a six, Which was needed to win the game,Think it Was Against New Zealand. Where was the Australian Integrity Then ?? Or the Incident with Andrew Symonds against India ?? Both Captains and also the teams had agreed to the Honour Code. (when you nicked it u walked).Needless to say Australia did not. in Particular Andrew Symonds did not.

  • bala on November 1, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Any body who has tried bowling off spin will know that it impossible to bowl a doosra without bending the elbow. So I can undertstand what Mr. Inverarity is trying to say here, Even if the Aussie kids try to bowl doosras their coaches will forbid them because it is not the way cricket is supposed to be played. I am sure no one will have a problem with Mendis or Narine like actons.

  • truthdead on November 1, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    i think shabut and sauf (may be some others i didnt spot) are spot on here.it's a case of sour grapes. i dare also say aussies are not as rigid as they may appear in terms of allowing inventive spin bowling at domestic level. they, like all the others, will secretly want someone like narine or ajmal. But obviously they are having a hard time finding anyone close to that.they'll bash the doosra and its possessors until they find one.it was glaring how chappel called swann(who's a very good offie, without any mysteries of course!)the greatest spin bowler at present and putting an under-19 level indian next to him,without even caring to acknowledge that a bowler in the name of ajmal exist. but the way saffers played swann, and the way most of the test playing nations played ajmal says you truth is far from what Mr. Chappel likes to believe.

  • criclogics on November 1, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Australian cricket and integrity? Sorry mate. Far too many examples than you have given to prove that they are opposites. The day Australia has a good exponent of the Doosra, this talk will vanish.

  • Meety on October 31, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    @cricketlover at October 31, 2012 12:34 AM -sorry mate - you are completely WRONG! In the last couple of years, Cric Oz, have had Saqlain Mushtaq out doing coaching sessions & invited Murali. By my reckoning that is TWO sub-continental spinners that have been asked! With regards reverse swing - it was never regarded as cheating, BALL TAMPERING was regarded as cheating. A man I highly admire - Imran Khan, even admitted to ball tampering! I also remember watching Geoff Lawson picking the hell out of a seam on national TV. Ball tampering got outlawed & since then reverse swing techniques are way different from the 2 Ws era! Reverse swing was around LONG before the 2 Ws! On a different note - wasn't Shaid Afridi caught eating the ball a few yrs back?

  • cricketlover on October 31, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    spot on mate! as soon as CA discovers a bowler who can bowl doosra all this talk of integerity will be out the window. remember dan cullen who claimed he can bowl it and hauritz when he was in test side said he tried to bowl but couldn't ? well thats the crux of the problem really. aussie spinners can't bowl doosra and CA is too proud to ask someone from sub continent to help them learn the 'ART'. so it remains a blot on the integerity of cricket !!

    btw, reverse swing was 'cheating' in the 90s when both waqar and wasim destroyed england. but later from mid to late 90s when darren gough and co started to do it the cheating became an 'ART' and it became hall of fame when eng got ashes back in 2005 on back of simon jones and freddy's reverse swing heroics.

  • Gizza on October 30, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    I think the carom ball is a more legitimate delivery for off-spinners to add to their arsenal. @Tom Moody, is that actually you? It would be great if former cricketers comment on Cricinfo more often!

  • WAKABA on October 30, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    It's more a case of sour grapes for Australia than a question of integrity. Seriously, sledging is integrity and innovation not??

  • Riyas on October 30, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    its hypocritical when Australian selectors talk about integrity when they hardly do anything to stop their players taking sportmanship to the limit. sledging, putting umpires under pressure by simulated appeals, not walking when they nick the ball. if you stand for integrity you dont get to pick and choose when it applies Joan inverwhatsisname is a hypocrit.

  • Simon on October 30, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    To all the comments regarding 'if Australia developed such-and-such a bowler'. Having played in the Sydney Grade competition (which feeds the NSW and then Aus Test teams), I can assure you that the general attitude towards any spinners with doosra-like deliveries is not friendly - they are usually assumed to have a dodgy action so aren't picked, so they retreat back into the more conventional deliveries. The top brass like Inverarity, right or wrong, can't do much when that's the prevailing attitude...

  • Stewart on October 30, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    Personally I think ball tampering should be allowed too. I am not throwing allegations around but since the crack-down on ball tampering nobody has swung the ball like Waqar and Wasim did at the peak of the controversy (around 1992) BUT how good was it to watch ? Waqar to pound the middle of the pitch then follow it up with a ball that bends round corners and rip the stumps out of the ground? Nothing better. Same with spin bowling, the doosra has opened up the option for spinners to attack rather than defend until the new ball becomes due.

  • Meety on October 30, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    @Michael Jeh - re: Looch: it was dumb of Oz management not to play Hauritz, the pitch was not its usual character - I think groundstaff claimed a worm or something ate the grass. That though is besides the point the SCG during the 80s was favouring spin all thru the season & hence was not prepared to specifically beat the WIndies.

  • Craig on October 30, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    The main problem with the doosra (even compared to 'ordinary' chucking) is that the spin comes mainly from the straightening of the elbow. So if the batsman wants to know which way the ball will spin, he should be looking at the bowler's elbow, rather than the ball (if the elbow is bent, expect a doosra, if it is straight(er), expect an off-break). Unfortunately, this requires the batsman to take their eyes off the ball at the moment of delivery, which is very much contrary to the coaching manual.

    If we go back to the pre-Murali rules (i.e. you allow for a bit of elbow bend, provided it is not obvious to the naked eye - much less than 15 degrees), then the doosra is effectively outlawed, and traditional bowling is unaffected.

  • Michael Jeh on October 30, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Looch, my point is that if we encounter spinning decks, that should just be part of the game, rather than deemed an unfair tactic by the home team. Think back to the Oval Test in 2009 when the pitch was widely criticised by the Aussies for being a dustbowl to help Swann. Yes, it did help Swann but we chose not to play Hauritz and Hussey scored a fabulous hundred on the last day. Nothing underhand about that. So my point is that integrity is not a matter of convenience. Regardless of which country we are talking about.

  • udendra on October 30, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    Carrom balls and Doosras are the future of spin bowling. Anyone who doesn't learn them are sure to perish.

  • Ram on October 29, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    Make it simple...

    Any batsman worth his salt should have the ability and capability to play any sort of bowling - Off break, leg break, doosra, teesra, googly, zooter and on any kind of surface.

    If so many restrictions are placed on bowlers, one day Boycott's mom will open batting for England and score a century.

  • Rangai on October 29, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Clearly, what Inverarity means here is the integrity of the game and not the honesty/integrity of the players themselves. Anyone who has tried to bowl a doosra knows that a significantly greater than usual amount of flexion is required. The point is that illegal actions must be corrected early in a bowlers career. A couple of weeks of "remededial" work cannot change a bowling action that has been ingrained for many years. Old habits tend to return under stress, in the heat of battle. We need to play within the rules. At the same time, it is not fair on a player to learn that his action is illegal only when he starts playing international cricket. So either we can continue to bend the rules (and elbows) further and further, or the cricket boards can take action to ensure that young bowlers are taught correct technique. Unfortunately, with the success of Murali, Saqlain, and now Ajmal, there are scores of young bowlers looking to emulate them, so it may be more difficult than ever.

  • Amit on October 29, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    Legality and integrity are not same. Irrespective of why the rules were changed, bowlers are allowed certain leeway and so long as you stay within those limits, there's no reason to take the moral high ground on this.

  • Stewart on October 29, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Interesting article..... Personally I think the doosra can be bowled without chucking the ball. Surely someone looked at legspin bowling technique and saw that by adjusting the position of the hand when releasing a legspinner the googly was born. Similarly by ensuring the back of the hand (ie not the palm of the hand) when releasing the off-spinner it would cause the ball to spin away from the right-hander. Of course it is a difficult technique to master, so is the googly, so is the flipper. The problem arises because 'flexing' the elbow, or chucking as I prefer, makes this technique much much easier. I GENUINELY believe that umpires are given greater on field power to step in when they feel actions have become ragged (this happens particularly when bowlers are tired... brett lee, shoaib akhtar, geoff lawson, shoaib malik, james kirtley, murali, harbajhan, saeed ajmal) its no massive problem, just a reminder to keep their actions in check!! Its no worse a than Finn kicking the stump

  • Rauf on October 29, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    I think it's sour grapes on part of the Aussies after having lost two critical matches to Pakistan and West Indies, thanks to spin heavy attack from Pakistan with Ajmal's doosra and same from the Windies with Narine's doosra.

    Not anyone can master the doosra. Only very few can and out of those only maybe one or two can make it to the international scene. It's a long climb for the Aussies to be able to produce a quality doosra spinner on their own so it's better to tuck it away under the "integrity" carpet in future instead of maybe taking the services of Saqlain who can teach their young spinners the art.

  • deepak tembe on October 29, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    I will go with John.....if its not a fair way to bowl as per the norms which have been followed for more than a century...thats it...no 8 degree or 15 degree....just dont allow...

  • John on October 29, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    @IJ - While I appreciate the attempt to try an alternate I don't agree it is very practical. As a comparison to baseball the delivery distance is similar but baseball has a much restricted area to pitch the ball. Not only that but if we were able to throw I doubt many people would be throwing it on a bounce, batting techniques go out the window. Also in indoor cricket matches as a leggie I have done some bent arm deliveries for fun and guess what, you can get it to spin more than 45 degrees a lot easier. True the bounce suffers but it is still doable and I tell you what those deliveries do not feel right.

  • Jay on October 29, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    "Is Inverarity suggesting that Australian cricket should now make decisions on the basis of integrity or is the doosra singled out as the one issue where we apply the Integrity Test? If so, is it any coincidence that we don’t really have anyone who can bowl the doosra with any great proficiency and will that change on the day we discover our own Doosra Doctor?" Bravo, Michael for calling John Inverarity's pathetic attempt to make a virtue out of compulsion.

  • Looch on October 28, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    An Interesting article and yes I believe it is naive not to accept the fact that the doosra is here to stay and even more naive not to learn how to bowl it. However, Michael, the sentence "A few examples spring to mind….let’s think back to the times when we prepared turning tracks in the 1980s to beat the West Indies", is so completely inaccurate as to be laughable. The SCG turned for sure, but are you telling me that the Gabba, Waca, MCG and Adelaide, where the West Indies were completely dominant, were prepared as turning tracks?

  • Charudutt Wasnikar on October 28, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Its general physics - the more you try and bowl fast using the mechanism of arms and elbows and wrists - there is going to be some natural bend due to the extension of joints. Now,if you do not wish to bowl fast, there is just no mechanical requirement by the human arm joints to bend or hyper-extend. The whole legality of spin bowlers bending their elbows upto 15 degrees or more is farce, more so when arguments are done that spinners also rotate their arms as fast as fast bowlers. I say, let the spinners bowl at more than 85mph and allow them to bend their elbows till 15 degrees. The earlier allowed bend for spinners was 8 degrees which was changed to allow Murlitharan bowl in international matches. Now, how you use the allowance of 15 degrees bend, which is now legitimate and completely legal, is upon the individual and does not concern any nationality.

  • Laks on October 28, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    @Elvis, you are incorrect. According to the results of the comprehensive study into bowling actions performed by the ICC, it is physically impossible for most people to bowl ANY delivery without "bending" their elbow..."bending" consisting of multiple types of movements. Your assertion that Waqar or McGrath might "maybe" bend it is flawed, they would regularly bend their elbows without either themselves or the public realising it without a more detailed examination. It is not that the doosra is any more illegal a delivery than any other, it is just that IF (note, IF) there is any bending, it is easier to spot when there is visible bending of the elbow, and more noticeable by the bowler themselves. Note, that the 15 degree limit is the minimum limit that is visually noticeable to the naked eye. If someone is noticeably "chucking," doosra or not, they are likely to be in breach of the ICC rules. It's actually a very good law.

  • Umer on October 28, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    If the 15 degree rule was not in place and bowlers could not even bend their arm 1 degree then a lot of bowling actions would have been illegal, including that of McGrath

  • Elvis on October 28, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    It is not that the great off spinners of the past like Lance Gibbs, Prasanna, etc. did not know about the doosra. It was just that the moral standards of those days were much much higher and the slightest hint of suspicion was enough for a bowler to be banned for ever. This fear made them avoid bowling it altogether. The permissiveness of modern times and the tendency of captains and jingoistic national cricket boards to shout loudly of discrimination and racism even when there is none has led to the present situation. Today every tom, dick, and harry tries to bowl the doosra without understanding the basic principles of legal bowling and chucking. YOU JUST CANNOT BOWL A DOOSRA WITHOUT BENDING YOUR ELBOW to a good degree- a point made in many other comments also. This is very different from a Hadlee or Holding or Waqar bowling an outswinger or yorker or leg cutter and maybe bending the elbow - these are DELIVERIES WHICH CAN BE BOWLED PERFECTLY LEGALLY. ICC set a wrong precedent indeed.

  • Afaaq on October 28, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    Good read. While I do agree with the general context of this article the main issue I believe was over looked. If the ICC has a rule while allows bowlers not to bend their arm for more than 15 degrees then anyone who bowls within that limit should be okay. Mr Inverarity has over looked the study in which fast bowlers like Glen McGrath, Allan Donald were determined to have Bent their arms more than the likes of Murali and Ajmal. Again the rule does not state that you need to bowl with a straight arm, that is almost not physically possible. The rule states you must not bend your arm more than certain degrees while delivering the ball or some might say straightening the arm. The cricket world does not need moral lessons about integrity from anyone. everyone has a fair share of black spots in their armoury. Let us leave it to the rules.

  • Meety on October 28, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @Craig Simpson - the first sentence is probably very close to the truth & potentially negates the question MJeh poses regarding integrity. @hyclass - I imagine that you or I could not bowl a doosra without chucking, but I believe Saqlain Mushtaq did. I agree re: Hair & Emerson - althogh Emerson called Murali for chucking whilst bowling leggies??? - go figure!

  • craig simpson on October 28, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Well our next spin revolution will be a leg spinner as always. We have never really produced great off spinners. Our traditional strength has always been pace and it seems to be going ok at the moment. while subcontinent nations have a field day with our off spinners. They have no idea with some of our better quicks. Why focus on something that you don't do well. It is better to focus on something that you do better. In Australia's case that is Pace bowling.

  • Hyclass on October 28, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    There has been some suggestion that rules favour batsmen and that is somehow behind the throwing rule-that's right-its a called a rule about throwing. Bowlers can make endless mistakes and have success. This article tries vainly to describe the 'one full toss an over' to discredit fast bowling and give the appearance of substance to throwing. Its rubbish of course.It is clear that batsmen, even those at their peak can easily lose their wicket-either to a mistake, or to the advantage that a bowler derives from the pitch, conditions and having 10 supporting fielder. At every turn, probability favours bowlers taking wickets over batsmen making runs.This entire article uses the most specious reasoning that would not bear close investigation. As observers of evidence and probability, it should always ring alarm bells when statements are unsupported by fact. My sympathies will always be with Daryl Hair and Ross Emerson. The ICC let them down and undermined crickets integrity.Invers was right

  • Hyclass on October 28, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    The Doosra cannot be bowled in a traditional legitimate fashion. The tendons that extend from the shoulder, that allow the use of the wrist in such a fashion, require the elbow to bend, as in throwing. If it could be done and the 15 degree law applied to all bowling, the laws would never have needed changing as they had withstood 120 years of Test cricket to that point with all other types of deliveries. Lets forget calling it doosra. Its throwing and it doesnt work here anyway. In order for a finger spinner to do it, the elbow must be flicked. The use of the 'to walk or not'has no business in this article. Whether batsman do so or have ever done so is entirely their personal decision and completely within the rules for as long as cricket has existed. Decisions fall at roughly 50/50 right and wrong. The rules have always stated that a batsman is out when given out by the umpire.That's what an umpire is there for. Sometimes they are given out incorrectly.Does the umpire lack integrity?

  • getsetgopk on October 28, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    The 15 degree rule as some suggested hasn't been changed rather put in place for the first time ever. Before that we had no idea who bowled what and with what elbow flex as there wasn't the science available back then. I do agree that both Ajmal's and Murali's actions dont look pleasing to the eye but then again if both of them straighten their arms to the same extent as someone like Shoaib or Lee then all i can say is that everyone should deal with it in their own way! LOL And of course their's the danger of someone using the 15 degree rule as a cover to cheat, that is a genuine concern indeed! I think the portable equipment to monitor bowlers in random live matches should help identify those guys very effectively. So Inverarity is correct in a sense but labeling the doosra as a question of integrity is going overboard. Doosra is a lovely delivery, can be bowled legally and should be taught. Most of it is science, 'things aren't what they appear to be', let the science do the talking.

  • the bowling docta on October 28, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    has anyone tried bowling with a bent arm intentionally? I have and it works... try chucking an offie and it becomes quite easy to bowl a doosra... control not as easy... same with doctoring balls by scratching up a side of a ball and it will swing for anyone who can keep the ball upright ... ball tampering and chucking are blights

  • Ij on October 28, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    Time to think differently - allow chucking. Anyway from 22 yards it will probably be easier to use the full rotation of the arm to generate the bounce that you want. Offies might be able to spin the ball a bit more but leggies by definition cannot bend the elbow. This discussion of 15 degrees etc will get thrown out the window. Think baseball where people chuck - it is called a pitch.

    The playing field gets levelled then - nobody need to talk about flexion etc. Guess what, line, length anf flight will still be superimportant and the really skilful ones will still come out on top.

  • Laks on October 28, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    A great article, however I disagree with your assessment of Inverarity. The not-so thinly veiled suggestion that the doosra is illegal is merely cementing the long-held view in Australia that the ICC changed the laws so Murali could bowl this delivery - complete nonsense of course. As an Australian, I can say that pig-headedness is one of the more unfortunate national traits we have, and the evidence which clearly showed that Brett Lee and McGrath breached the 10 degree limit regularly has been conveniently sidelined. Inverarity's statement is the cricketing world's equivalent of climate change denial or Creationism...the by-product of an ageing institution out of touch with reality, embracing the misguided views of those too steeped in "bogan" nationalism to care about making sense.

  • Michael Jeh on October 28, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    Thanks for the sensible comments. I agree wholeheartedly with those who ask the question about where integrity sits when talking about sledging, not walking, S Waugh's mental disintegration strategy etc. Such questions can be asked of any country. I think it just comes down to whatever is convenient at the time, rather than a stance that reflects a deep-seated moral position on an issue. Going back 20 years, having played in a system that encouraged all manner of sledging under the ethos of "what happens on the field stays on the field, no hard feelings mate", I was amused to see the outrage caused by the Harbajhan/Symonds incident. Until then, I hadn't seen evidence of antipathy towards sledging that included a reference to colour/culture/ethnicity but once we had our first black cricketer, we suddenly developed a conscience around that issue. Was that a newly discovered 'integrity'? Will integrity still be a barrier if we unearth a high quality doosra exponent?

  • Meety on October 28, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    You mentioned the switch hit. I CANNOT vouch for the entire Oz history of cricket, but I'll tell you an actual story from the "horses mouth" so to speak. My grandfather was a pretty good grade cricketer back in the 1930s, (long story but if he wasn't dirt poor he COULD of played shield cricket). He played for a little club (now non-existent) between Coffs Harbour & Grafton who would regularly play the big Grafton & Coffs teams & win. One of his opposing captains (post Bodyline), decided he had the bowlers to deliver Leg Theory. So after a few balls aimed at my Grandfathers body he decided he'd take things into his own hands & swap from left to right handed as the ball was bowled, very first time he did it he hit a four thru the right hand mid wicket - to which the opposing captain complained & led a walk off. The umpire told the opposing captain to pull his head in there is nothing in the rules to say that it was illegal. Point being, switch hit has been around for a very long time!

  • Meety on October 28, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    Finally onto the actual topic. As I said before, good well presented arguement. On the other topic - there are comments bordering on ridiculous about Inverarity, so it's nice to see a better behaved forum. I have seen a poster on the other article state something along the lines of the Doosra is not the issue of integrity, its the perceived deliberate use of the 15 degree fles that is. Meaning the rule was brought in ultimately as a tolerance level, as it is hard to decipher with the naked eye. To then deliberately (assuming you need flex to do this), teach a technique that goes to the edge of the 15 degree tolerance (or beyond) is a question of integrity. In Oz we have no-balled our own out of the game, from Eddie Gilbert to Meckiff to the NSW pacer Bird a few years ago, I think Integrity can apply to a certain aspect of cricket as opposed to a "hoier than though" approach to all aspects of cricket.

  • Meety on October 28, 2012, 0:12 GMT

    Very good arguement - but you always annoy the preverbial out of me everytime you mention that we deliberately prepared spinning tracks to beat the WIndies. It irritates the daylights out of me. The SCG pitch was coming to the end of its shelf life, it needed to be re-turfed - maybe the powers that be delayed that decision, but the charactoristics of the SCG thru out the 80s was of a pitch that turned - hence Dutchie Holland's dominance in Shield cricket on that ground. If in Shield cricket the pitch was a pace bowlers paradise that suddenly became a dustbowl when the WIndies rode (steamrolled) into town you would have a point! Otherwise it is totally wrong!

  • mat on October 27, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    people are missing the basic point. Bowlers who are successful in bowling doosra have defected elbows joints (e.g double elbow joint) i would advice you lot, next time you see ajmal throw the ball from the boundry, you would notice the difference. It comes natural. you cant teach or manufacture this doosra.

  • Saffer on October 27, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    I agree that it would be silly for Australia to turn away a quality practitioner of the doosra, but I don't agree that this is because it is the "most potent bowling weapon" in modern cricket. Not even in limited overs cricket. You only need to look at the ICC bowler rankings to see that fast bowlers have been dominant internationally. In the World T20, Dale Steyn was the most economical bowler, Lasith Malinga is one of the best limited overs bowlers in the world, and Sydney owe most of their success in the CLT to their contingent of young fast bowlers. All of these fast bowlers have been miserly. I don't see any evidence to prefer the doosra to a traditional outswinger in test cricket, or an inswinging yorker or a slow bouncer in limited overs cricket.

  • Rashid Khan on October 27, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    Nice article. ICC lays down the rules of the game and every one has to follow the rules and make the best use of those in order to keep an edge over other teams. Now two balls have been introduced in ODIs which has completely changed the game for the teams that have fast bowlers who can use the older ball more effectively and the teams with good spinners of old balls. The rules can be called unfair but every team follows it and has to keep up with it. How is the 15 degree bending any different from other rules? How does it become integrity issue when it is allowed by the law? Why it is a no ball when the bowler's heel touches the line but is not behind the line? Is it an integrity issue when bowler's heel is centimeters inside the line? Everything is legal and passes the integrity test as long as it is within the rules. If someone doesn't like the rules then they should have these changed but they shouldn't throw in the integrity issues just because they don't agree

  • Bunty on October 27, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Spot on Jeh, I guess Australians should keep bowling underarm coz this is what original cricket started with.....no invention, remind me of Amish, don't use bulbs either ;)

  • Foxx on October 27, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    The fact is Australia in general still supports Daryl harper's decision way back. Chucking is chucking and I personally want all bowlers tested and if they bowl the doosra legally so be it but doubt remains... All inverarity is saying is that Australia don't want to teach suspect methods and that decision should be supported and admired from all cricket lovers who respsct the game in its purest form and the laws of the game.

  • nazim on October 27, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    The question here is not about integrity, it is about ability. The doosra is a great weapon, it appears that you need supple flexile wrists to bowl it well. This is similar to how Asian batsman are on a different level to non Asian players when it comes to wristy play e.g. Sachin, Yousaf, Dravid, Laxman and the wristiest of them all Azharuddin. Why haven't other non asian players developed this? ( S Narine is part Asian). If Australia did allow this I can bet my house on it that they will continue to produce ineffective orthodox offspiners like in recent times. So Mr Inverity, stop demeaning this great deliver and its exponents on the preface integrity when the real issue is the inability of Aussies spinners to bowl it.

  • Shabut on October 27, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Australians can't even produce quality spinners at the moment let alone developing complex skills like Doosra. Had Australians good spinners who were able to master doosra this comment would not have come. We have seen this before when reverse swing was called cheating but now it is happily an art since certain teams have been able to master it too.

  • Kumar Patel on October 27, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Well said Michael, spot on... When I read those remarks for the first time, that is exactly what I thought of, well that and 'sledging the Australian way'....:-)

  • Haaris Sheikh on October 27, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Thanks, very well written.

  • Aftab Qureshi on October 27, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Congrats. Jeh for pointing out inconsistencies in Inverarity's stance. The "doosera" is there to stay and the Aussies are notorious to be the first one questioning the legality of the action of opposition bowlers. They have hounded some bowlers and been proven wrong in certain caeses but,to be fair, they have also in the process helped some others to bring their actions within the limits of legality. I would expect no less from them in the future.And I do agree that the day CA discovers a Murali or Ajmal, the integrity question will fade away.

  • Imran on October 27, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Very well said. We're in trouble if we're having to look to Australia as a bastion of integrity when in comes to cricket

  • Tom Moody on October 27, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Excellent read. I agree that Invarity got it wrong this time. When people as reputable as Simon Taufel don't see any issues with doosra why should we. In my opinion bowlers are having too many laws going against them already, like limited bouncers, limited protection on leg side, field restrictions etc., that the game is almost a batters game anyways. The bowlers need a respite and if doosra offers that, why not?

  • Gaur on October 27, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Excellent, measured response Michael.

    And good examples cited towards the end which illustrate the non-conformity to "Integrity." (All countries are guilty of the same from time to time, as you fairly noted)

    My first thought when I read that statement was, how come Mr. Inverarity and his peers in Australia have never spoken about nicking and not walking as a massive breach of integrity? Much bitterness in the middle would also be easily avoided if batsmen didn't brazenly stand their ground even after smashing the cover off the ball. (eg. Ponting against Pakistan at the 2011 WC, or Clarke nicking Kumble to slip and not walking in 2008)

    Even if Inverarity is a gentleman and a very decent man, his statement comes off as a little too self-righteous.

  • Jagger on October 27, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    I think you had made up your mind about this years ago. The question of integrity is about the 15 degree rule, and the 15 degree rule only. Pure and simple. The 15 degree rule is in place to save all cricket from oblivion. It was found most (if not all) bowlers do bend their arm at times. It was decided the 15 degree rule would resurrect all cricket, past, present and future. The examples you bring into the argument are just doosra's themselves. What actually has happened since the introduction of the rule is, as is the way, certain sections of the world community have taken it as 16 degrees or even 20 degrees is so close to the allowed rule as to be acceptable. It's not the way. A bent arm is not cricket. The 15 degree rule is an olive branch giving the benefit of the doubt to bowlers. When the benefit of the doubt becomes an "up-yours...", it is no longer cricket. It's Doosra-ball. We will be watching with weathering interest how satiating the hollow victories to follow.

  • sameer on October 27, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Well written...

  • Mr cric on October 27, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Do as i say, don't do as i do! ..very true

  • J. Atri on October 27, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    How about sledging? Does it not cause any struggle with "integrity" in Australian cricket?

  • Dean on October 27, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Hey Michael, you lectured at my uni last year about how athletes should give press conferences, was quite interesting. Got to disagree here though, the doosra is a blight on the game. But the more bowlers with carrom balls, the better. The carrom is the real stroke of genius here, an offie's wrong-un that is actually legit.

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  • Dean on October 27, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Hey Michael, you lectured at my uni last year about how athletes should give press conferences, was quite interesting. Got to disagree here though, the doosra is a blight on the game. But the more bowlers with carrom balls, the better. The carrom is the real stroke of genius here, an offie's wrong-un that is actually legit.

  • J. Atri on October 27, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    How about sledging? Does it not cause any struggle with "integrity" in Australian cricket?

  • Mr cric on October 27, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Do as i say, don't do as i do! ..very true

  • sameer on October 27, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Well written...

  • Jagger on October 27, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    I think you had made up your mind about this years ago. The question of integrity is about the 15 degree rule, and the 15 degree rule only. Pure and simple. The 15 degree rule is in place to save all cricket from oblivion. It was found most (if not all) bowlers do bend their arm at times. It was decided the 15 degree rule would resurrect all cricket, past, present and future. The examples you bring into the argument are just doosra's themselves. What actually has happened since the introduction of the rule is, as is the way, certain sections of the world community have taken it as 16 degrees or even 20 degrees is so close to the allowed rule as to be acceptable. It's not the way. A bent arm is not cricket. The 15 degree rule is an olive branch giving the benefit of the doubt to bowlers. When the benefit of the doubt becomes an "up-yours...", it is no longer cricket. It's Doosra-ball. We will be watching with weathering interest how satiating the hollow victories to follow.

  • Gaur on October 27, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Excellent, measured response Michael.

    And good examples cited towards the end which illustrate the non-conformity to "Integrity." (All countries are guilty of the same from time to time, as you fairly noted)

    My first thought when I read that statement was, how come Mr. Inverarity and his peers in Australia have never spoken about nicking and not walking as a massive breach of integrity? Much bitterness in the middle would also be easily avoided if batsmen didn't brazenly stand their ground even after smashing the cover off the ball. (eg. Ponting against Pakistan at the 2011 WC, or Clarke nicking Kumble to slip and not walking in 2008)

    Even if Inverarity is a gentleman and a very decent man, his statement comes off as a little too self-righteous.

  • Tom Moody on October 27, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Excellent read. I agree that Invarity got it wrong this time. When people as reputable as Simon Taufel don't see any issues with doosra why should we. In my opinion bowlers are having too many laws going against them already, like limited bouncers, limited protection on leg side, field restrictions etc., that the game is almost a batters game anyways. The bowlers need a respite and if doosra offers that, why not?

  • Imran on October 27, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Very well said. We're in trouble if we're having to look to Australia as a bastion of integrity when in comes to cricket

  • Aftab Qureshi on October 27, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Congrats. Jeh for pointing out inconsistencies in Inverarity's stance. The "doosera" is there to stay and the Aussies are notorious to be the first one questioning the legality of the action of opposition bowlers. They have hounded some bowlers and been proven wrong in certain caeses but,to be fair, they have also in the process helped some others to bring their actions within the limits of legality. I would expect no less from them in the future.And I do agree that the day CA discovers a Murali or Ajmal, the integrity question will fade away.

  • Haaris Sheikh on October 27, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Thanks, very well written.