This article is an extract from Spin Bowling Tips. Master the art of spin bowling with the most comprehensive eBook on spin bowling ever produced, available now at PitchVision Academy.
The doosra is bowled by an off-spinner. Unlike the traditional off-break that spins into the batsman from the off, this ball behaves more like a leg-spin delivery and spins from leg to off. Therefore, this ball is a surprise variation for an off-spin bowler.
The doosra (meaning 'the other one') was first perfected by Saqlain Mushtaq but was made famous by Muttiah Muralitharan. Other notable bowlers to use this delivery with big success are Saeed Ajmal, Harbajan Singh and Johan Botha. In fact, this ball is almost used as stock delivery by Saeed Ajmal.
Thre are two ways to bowl the doosra. If you want to use the doosra as a surprise variation then I would recommend Method #1. However, if you would prefer to use the doosra as your stock delivery then Method #2 would be the best.
This method is best if you want to use it as a surprise variation as the action is the same as the standard off-spin action and easier to hide from the batsman. Therefore, it is very effective in deceiving batsmen when they expect the ball to turn the other way. The drawback of this method is that the ball does not turn very much and is thus not as effective as a stock delivery. This is the method used by Saqlain Mustaq and Saeed Ajmal.
The grip for the doosra is identical to the standard off-spinner’s grip. The seam of the ball runs across the fingers and most of the spin is being imparted by the index and middle fingers. The ball should not be held too tight and the thumb should bend back to be out of the way.
As you are using the doosra here as a stock ball, you must stick to your standard off-spinner's side on action.
Just Before Release
To disguise the doosra, follow a regular bowling action similar to bowling an off-spin delivery. Just before the time of the release, you will rotate the wrist so that the back of the hand faces square leg. Drop your shoulder (of the delivery arm) and bend the elbow a little more than during the standard off-break delivery. Your point of delivery will be a little lower than your off-spin stock delivery. Be careful not to straighten your arm during the release.
Figure 1: Off-Spin Doosra Wrist Position (Method #1) Back of hand faces towards mid-wicket and seam is angles towards 1st slip.
At the time of the release, the back of your hand should face towards square leg and your fingers should spin the ball similar to an off-break. The changed wrist position causes the ball to behave like a leg-break. This finger spin along with the rotation from the wrist and shoulder imparts the spin to leg-break.
The doosra can be bowled with plenty flight or as a quicker delivery just like the standard off spin.
Do not be fooled into thinking this is an easy delivery. Although it is most certainly not impossible as there are many examples of bowlers who can bowl this delivery. Work hard at bowling the doosra and you will also get there!
This method is best if you want to use the doosra as your stock delivery as it will be very difficult to hide it as a variation delivery. The ball turns very bigger with this method if you get it right. It is not as effective for a surprise delivery as the action (at release of the ball) is quite different from the standard off-spin action.
Method #2 is discussed and illustrated in the full version of Spin Bowling Tips.
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