Pakistan v Australia 2009 April 27, 2009

Ramiz and Boycott call for legalising doosra

Cricinfo staff

Ramiz Raja and Geoff Boycott have both urged the ICC to legalise the doosra. Their comments came after Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan offspinner was reported by match officials for a suspect action while bowling the contentious delivery during the second ODI against Australia in Dubai on Friday.

The doosra is the offspinner's equivalent of the leg-break bowler's googly, in that the delivery turns in the opposite direction to a conventional ball.

"Why not legalise the art of doosra, which gives an offspinner variation in an otherwise flat one-sided spin?" Ramiz asked. "I see Saeed Ajmal's action being questioned as unacceptable. It adds to the repertoire of an offspinner, so I see it as an art."

Boycott - who like Ramiz is commentating on the ODI series - was also severely critical of the decision on Ajmal. "Muralitharan was cleared, so was Harbhajan, so why question a kid who has just come onto the scene?" he asked. "I think Ajmal has an art and he must execute it."

The umpires found enough cause for concern to report Ajmal's action, making him the second offspinner to be cited for a doosra in a fortnight after Johan Botha, the South African limited overs vice-captain, was reported following the fourth ODI against Australia in Port Elizabeth.

Ramiz also sought a relaxation of the ICC's laws to allow offspinners to bowl a doosra. "Why not relax the rules and give two to three degrees more to offspinners to bowl a doosra?"

The ICC rules allow a maximum limit of 15 degrees of flexion, which means no bowler can extend their elbow beyond that level.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sameer on April 30, 2009, 20:00 GMT

    I am amazed at how people have tried to compare the doosra to deadly drugs like lsd and heroine. This shows that how some people just have to prove a point by some means, even if its ridiculous. Whats the point of a game if it has always to be played by a set of X number of rules. Variations and innovations make cricket the enjoyment it is. Ofcourse, there have to be some ground rules, but just getting fearful that how a doosra may be proven effective against the aussies, is just to create an atmosphere of conspiracy. Plus, doosra is just a surprise thing. Its not that Ajmail bowls it 5/6 balls an over with the arm flex greater than 15 degrees. Doosra is meant to be thrown once an over or may be twice (very rare ocassions), just for the sake of surprising the batsman. Doosra is not as harmful as use of lsd or heroine. For God's sake, please let something go with conspiring the hell out of it.

  • hayden on April 30, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    a few asians getting stirred up about spinners bowling with a illegal action getting caught only when australias playing! funny because the umpires that have made the report are not australian, infact in the cases of botha and ajmal both were reported by umpires of the same nationality in koetzen and rauf! the rules are there no matter what nationality you are they need to be abided by which botha and ajmal failed to do!

  • Nick on April 29, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    Funny how most of the people here who call for the doosra to be legalised (which is a mistake in itself - as has already been stated, the doosra is legal just not chucking) seem to be subcontinental supporters who see some sort of conspiracy against them every time anything anyone from that region does is challenged in any way. Well calm down people and bring your persecution complex down a notch: the very laws of the game were changed in order for a certain M. Muralitharan to "bowl" so I don't think there can be any complaint about a mere reporting. Besides, where a bowler is from doesnt change the fact that chucking is chucking is chucking. IT IS AGAINST THE RULES.

    As a side note, I think Botha is simply the first non-subcontinental player to exploit the law change that was designed for Murali, which is why there seems a disproportionate amount of scrutiny placed on subcontinental players - more of them practice the doosra. It's that simple.

  • John on April 29, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    I hope somebody teaches the Aussies Doosra or at least teaches them how to play it then we would have lesser complaints. ;)

  • sameer on April 28, 2009, 23:13 GMT


    no one is allowing offspinners to flex their arms. it is just this type of distinct delivery called the "doosra" which is being discussed in its pretext. if a offspinner bowling doosra goes to 16 degree instead of 15 limit, in that case, the rules for doosra must be softened a lil bit. not on everything but just the doosra.

    just like the googly plays its role for a legspinner, its very hard to bowl a good doosra with staying inside the limit. its all about changing the art of offspin.

    you should look for uniformity in laws, but if its killing the art of doosra, then something has to be done about it.

    i am not proposing for doosra to go to like 20 degrees but if it goes to 16 or 17 degrees than thats not that bad in order to keep offspiners variety alive.

  • Imran on April 28, 2009, 20:52 GMT

    robheinen i was laughing wen i was reading your comments, what are you talking about?

  • mirza on April 28, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    i have one consistent fact to point out in regards to all these suspect bowling actions, whether its a fast bowler or a spin bowler, they are all REPORTED BY AUSTRAILIA. Looking at the recent past even, Murali, Harbhajan, Botha and now Ajmal, 3 out of 4 are south asians but poor Botha wasnt spared as soon as he started taking some wickets against Austrailia. I dont know if its a coincidence that the other 4 countries Ajmal played against did not notice it or maybe Austrailians just have the special vision on these things that no one else has. At the end of the day, they have all been and will be cleared to play, therefore, Austrailians should stop wasting everyones time and let people play cricket. Looking at the bright side, MAYBE Hauritz can learn to bowl the dosra from Ajmal, and IF he does learn it, i am pretty sure no spinner will ever be reported for it again in the future.

  • Nadeem on April 28, 2009, 13:56 GMT

    I agree with robheinen both Ramiz and Boycott are confused between art & technique. Doosra is totally legal and there are and were players who use to bowl without flexing their elbows like Saqlain who was inverter of this art and was never reported for any illegal action. I also agree with the umpires if they find anyone with illegal action they should ban the player immediately one or two such actions will be enough for others to learn a lesson from it.

  • Adrian on April 28, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    We do need to have something put in place that favours bowlers more, as it is far too much a batsman's game right now (batting averages are way up). So here are some ideas: 1) Ban the covering of pitches and make a pitch be declared "unplayable" if it is in a situation that it is easy to score runs 2) Don't go off for rain - instead make them keep playing in the rain 3) If it doesn't rain enough, then make the groundsmen bring out a sprinkler during each interval to make the pitch harder to play on 4) Enforce "6 and out" rule 5) Make bats a lot lighter and ban all heavy bats 6) Make bats a lot thinner 7) Allow "one hand one bounce" rules 8) Enforce "tippy goes" rules so that if they hit it then they have to run 9) Play "electric wickets" so that it doesn't matter which end you throw it to 10) Increase the tolerance to 20 or even 25 degrees of flexion. All better than "allowing the doosra" just for 1 delivery to break the rules.

  • Mike on April 28, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    It isn't illegal. The doosra is just like any delivery, which is illegal if the arm is not straight (under 15 degrees). If the ICC cave now and let them bend their arm more, then down the line someone is going to bowl 20 degrees and ask for that to be legal. Then someone 22 degrees and so forth. The ICC had a massive problem when they increased it to 15 degrees. The rule should just be a straight arm. I agree with Sriram, a can of worms has opened really.

    The ICC should not cave, bowlers should learn to bowl within the rules.

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