Daniel Vettori said something sensational to The Hindu the other day. The New Zealander revealed, “The day is not far when a left-arm spinner will be able to bowl the doosra. Just as the delivery revolutionised off-spin, it will do the same to left-arm spin as well.”
The statement, coming from one of the game's most accomplished left-arm spinners, has predictably evoked strong reactions.
Former India left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi said: “I think the doosra is an over-rated delivery, even for an off-spinner, in any case.
“In fact, the doosra has destroyed classic off-spin. How many present-day off-spinners get the batsmen to push forward and hit them on the pads.
“They are unable to create the blind spot which the classic off-spinners of the past were able to achieve.”
In a short but eventful international career stretching from 1979 to '83, Doshi claimed 114 wickets from 33 Tests at 30.71 with six five-wicket hauls. He operated with exceptional control and subtle variations.
Doshi elaborated, “Classical spin bowling is about flight, spin and clever changes in length and angles and these attributes should be able to get the job done. By trying to bowl the doosra, young spinners are losing 98 per cent of their stock delivery which they should first master.
“If you mess around with the rules of the game, it will spoil your DNA. While bowling the doosra, you employ a completely different set of muscles, create a completely different muscle memory.”
Murali Kartik, still the finest left-arm spinner in the country, revealed he had attempted bowling the doosra — here a left-arm spinner gets the ball to spin into the right-hander — at the nets and managed to pull it off from only 10 yards.
“You require hyper-flexible wrist and shoulder to send down this delivery from 22 yards.
“And I do not believe this is possible without a degree of bending and straightening of the arm.”
A doosra could be a potent weapon against a left-handed batsman who could be forced to hit against the spin. And against a right-hander, the short-leg and the leg-slip could come into play.
Kartik, who picked up 45 wickets from just nine first-class games for Somerset last season, including five successive five-wicket hauls, adds: “To bowl this delivery, a left-arm spinner has to open up his body during his action more and rotate his wrist. But, right through my career I have not seen this delivery being bowled in a match. I have to see it to believe it.”
Could be interesting
The former India spinner — Kartik has 24 wickets in eight Tests at 34.16 — said it would be interesting how Vettori could produce this ball from a high-arm action. Even if he does so, will it take left-arm spin to another level?
The left-handed batsmen have often been the nemesis for left-arm spinners.
The southpaw has the opportunity to counter a left-arm spinner with the spin.
Traditionally, a left-arm spinner has operated over-the-wicket to the southpaw and got the ball to straighten with a slip in place. Or, he has bowled from round-the-wicket and nailed the left-handed batsman with the arm-ball.
Actually, one of the reasons for all the talk about left-arm spinners conjuring the doosra is that not many of the present-day members of the tribe have a potent arm-ball.