Wed, Apr 29, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Raja, Boycott call on ICC to legalize ‘art of doosra’

FAIR PLAY? The council came under fire after Saeed Ajmal was reported for employing the controversial delivery in a day-night match against Australia on Friday

AFP , ABU DHABI

Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal bowls to Australia’s Callum Ferguson during their one day international match in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

PHOTO: AP

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja and England batsman Geoff Boycott on Monday urged the game’s governing body to legalize the controversial “doosra” delivery, which turns the opposite way to a conventional off-spinner.

“Why not legalize the art of doosra, which gives an off-spinner a variation in an otherwise flat one-sided spin?” asked Raja, who is in Abu Dhabi as a commentator.

“I see Saeed Ajmal’s action being questioned as unacceptable,” he added in reference to the Pakistani being reported by the match officials of the second day-night international between Pakistan and Australia in Dubai on Friday.

The 31-year-old Ajmal was reported for his “doosra” — a delivery that is the equivalent to a leg-break bowler’s googly. Doosra means “second” or “other one” in Urdu.

Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq, who starred for English county Surrey, was credited with developing the delivery in the late 1990s.

“It looks very similar to a normal off-break, but rather than spin towards the bat, it goes the other way like a leg-break and it adds to the repertoire of an off-spinner, so I see it as an art,” Raja said.

Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, India’s Harbhajan Singh and Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik have all had their actions cleared by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) human movement specialist panel.

South African off-spinner Johan Botha’s doosra action was also reported while playing against Australia earlier this month.

Raja said the ICC should allow off-spinners to bowl a doosra.

“Why not relax the rules and give two to three degrees more to off-spinners to bowl a doosra,” said Raja of council rules, which allow a maximum of 15 degrees of flex, meaning no bowler can extend their elbow beyond that level.

Former England captain Boycott criticized the decision taken on Ajmal.

“Muralitharan was cleared, so was Harbhajan, so why question a kid who has just come onto the scene? I think Ajmal has an art and he must execute it,” Boycott said.

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam also criticized the ICC’s decision, saying they lacked consistency in dealing with bowlers.

“Ajmal has played against four countries and nobody raised any finger on his action,” he said. “I think the ICC lacked consistency in their process.”

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