Gooch downplays Ajmal's 'new' delivery
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