Events and people that shaped the game

No. 43

The doosra

The delivery that gave oomph to offspin

Anand Vasu

May 22, 2011

Text size: A | A


3
Saqlain Mushtaq: the inventor of the doosra © Getty Images
Enlarge

Late 1990s

The doosra did for offspin what the googly did for legspin more than a century ago: it invested a humble art with a touch of mystery and intrigue. Over the years offspinners had bowled many variations - the floater, the drifter, the under-cutter - but the trick was either confined to not spinning the ball, or at most swinging it away with the arm.

But the doosra - meaning "second" or "other one", in Hindi and Urdu - first mastered by Saqlain Mushtaq and then used to great effect by Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh, was the first instance of a ball that turned away off the pitch with an offbreak action, thanks to a cheeky tweak of the thumb and forefinger.

Saqlain explains it simply as "God's gift", but whether god-given, or as some suggest, a result of a kink in the elbow, the doosra has changed the well-established notion of offpsin as primarily a restrictive form of slow bowling.

This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine in 2003

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Related Links

Chanderpaul, the coach's nightmare

Modern Masters: He developed a rhythm that worked for him and gave him better balance at the crease

    'I spent 95% of my career bowling the same ball'

Angus Fraser talks about his workmanlike bowling, playing second fiddle, his stop-start career, and England in the '90s

    'A coach earns respect by working as hard as the players'

Sanjay Bangar talks about his quick transition from player to coach, his philosophy and the reasons behind Kings XI Punjab's turnaround

    'Swann could bowl length blindfolded'

Erapalli Prasanna on a thoroughbred professional whose basics were extraordinarily strong

The mathematician who loved cricket

Haider Riaz Khan: GH Hardy, a regular at Cambridge, ranked mathematicians and physicists on the 'Bradman class'

News | Features Last 7 days

Champions League T20 still battling for meaning

The thrills are rather low-octane, the skills are a bit lightweight, and the tournament overly India-centric

From Constantine to Chanderpaul

As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

Soaring in the 1980s, slumping in the 2000s

In their pomp, West Indies had a 53-13 win-loss record; in their last 99, it is 16-53. That, in a nutshell, shows how steep the decline has been

News | Features Last 7 days