PCB XI v England XI, Tour match, Dubai, 1st day January 11, 2012

Gooch downplays Ajmal's 'new' delivery

David Hopps

Saeed Ajmal's warning that he is about to unleash his new mystery delivery, Shane Warne style, upon England in the first Test in Dubai has not left England's batting coach, Graham Gooch, fretting over how his batsmen might combating it.

"We'll wait and see about the teesra," said Gooch. "Saying one thing and doing it are two different things in my book.

In any case, Ajmal's teesra does not seem to be as secret as he might suggest. His spin-bowling predecessor in the Pakistan side, Saqlain Mushtaq, the inventor of the doosra, claimed to have developed the teesra while playing in the Indian Cricket League three years ago.

The doosra is the offspinner's wrong 'un, the teesra is equivalent to the top-spinner and bounces a bit more. There is even footage of Saqlain bowling it on YouTube.

Ajmal told PakPassion that he chose not to experiment with the delivery during the World Cup 2011 because it was a high-profile tournament, but that he was now ready to drive England to distraction in the Test series in the UAE.

"I played against Shane Warne most of his career, the greatest spin bowler I've ever played against," Gooch said. "He'd always come up with 'I've got this ball - the zooter'. So what is this ball, the 'zooter'? It's the ball that just goes straight on actually, if I remember rightly. It's all a little bit smoke and mirrors, isn't it?"

That is not to say that Gooch discounts Ajmal's threat. His doosra troubled England during the spot-fixing tour of England in 2010. "He's the top wicket-taker of 2011 in Test cricket, so that in itself is going to be a good challenge for us."

England struggled against spin on the opening day of their final warm-up match in Dubai, requiring a century from Alastair Cook to reach 269 for 9 declared at the close as Yasir Shah, a 25-year-old leg spinner, took five wickets.

David Hopps is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Martin on January 14, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    @Harmony111 on (January 14 2012, 11:17 AM GMT). Pot. Kettle. Black.

  • Dimuthu on January 14, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    wonder why he didnt try it against Sri Lanka :-S

  • Ahmed on January 14, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    @All Indian fans You all should be commenting on the article , " Warner's blazing ton destroys India " rather than here . And Pakistani fans never said that they will win 2-0 or 3-0 in this series , unlike Indian fans who were hoping for 4-0 victory against England but got what they deserved ! This will be a good series with both teams having equal chances ( probably Eng have an edge because of their batting ) .. Good luck to both the teams . ( cric info please publish )

  • Ahmed on January 14, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @All Indian Fans , You should be commenting on the article " Warner's blazing ton destroys India " ! And Pakistani fans never said that Pakistan will win 2-0 or 3-0 , like Indian fans did before the memorable England series ! This will be a good series with both the sides having equal chances .. Good luck to Eng and Pak ! ( Cric Info please publish )

  • Harmon on January 14, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    @5wombats :-

    May be its you who has to learn a few things - reading in full to begin with. If you had only cared to read the full comment (and at least the statement right after the one that you quoted) you would have been able to grasp the context in which I was talking. But then reading or viewing things in full has never been your way, has it? Your way is to keep using the straw man argument in order to look smart.

  • Faisal on January 14, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Have seen some interesting comments here: one Indian fan saying that Harbhajan is the greatest spinner in the world!!! Exactly, and Indian team is the best in the world - proof of which is currently being seen in the series against Australia (and earlier in England). Word of advise to my Indian friends: come out of this dream-like state where your team and its players are like gods - reality is: India is in real danger of their second consecutive 4-0 whitewash in an away series.

    To the English fans: if you make the mistake of comparing this Pakistani outfit with the one that played under Salman Butt, you'll see how wrong you are. The difference may not be much on paper (though that team had better fast bowlers but a poor batting line - Misbah and Younus not being there); its the state of mind which makes the real difference..., not to forget, of course, the conditions.

    Anyway, proof of the pudding lies in eating it; so lets wait and see.

  • Martin on January 13, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    @Harmony111 on (January 13 2012, 16:53 PM GMT). In the current circumstances an india fan coming onto a Pak V Eng forum and saying; "The only batsman I would call as relatively weak would be Trott", is remarkable to say the least. Haven't learned much have you?

  • stuart on January 13, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    The doosra did so much for Saqlain that it effectively stopped him being able to bowl his offspin to the quality he could.Mendis was a great mystery spinner and now can be played blindfold.Lets see how it goes down before we have all the mind games.As for Harbhajan being the worlds greatest spinner? I think you will find that title belongs to Ashwin or Lyon both of whom have set the current series alight.

  • Phil on January 13, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Bit of mind games is always fun! Ajmal seems to be getting it together and will pose problems for England. Hope they can prevail. Should be a great series. I can't wait.

  • Jordan on January 13, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    Shan156 - Great comment Shan, it's really refreshing to see some genuine sense being written. I think the Tests will be close just like you predict, and I hope England will emerge victorious. I totally agree on the ODI's, Pakistan will give us a good thrashing sadly, we're just not very good at 50 over cricket for some reason!!

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