3 Alternatives When You Can't Bowl a Doosra | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

3 Alternatives When You Can't Bowl a Doosra

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Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here

The doosra seems to have almost become a standard delivery for off-spinners these days. If a new hot spinner breaks into the scene, you are almost guaranteed that he will be able to bowl a doosra.

Thing is, the doosra is devilishly tough to bowl. It's not for everyone. The good news is that it is not needed to become a top international spin bowler.

However, variations - used well - are as effective as ever.


So, before you give up on a ball that goes the other way entirely, you can look at other ways to bowl doosra-like ball; one that goes the other way without breaking your wrist or hurting your shoulder.

  1. Sunil Narine Cutter: Sunil Narine - an exception limited over bowler - can make the ball go the other way without bowling a traditional doosra. He just pushes it out the front of the hand like an orthodox leg-cutter. It’s tough to bowl, but it does look like it could be a bit easier on the rotation of the wrists and shoulders.
  2. Herath and Mendis Sri Lankan Flicks: The two Sri Lankan spinners Herath and Mendis flick the ball "carrom" style. There is no bending of wrists doing it this way. You do need massively strong fingers for this, but it is an option.

So, try to make it go the other way with different methods before giving up. You might surprise yourself and find one of those methods work for you.

Maybe you can even get it to go the other way with your own method. Spin bowling is as much asbout experimenting as it is about hitting the spot. That's the third method: give yourself the freedom to try new things.

The point is, have fun trying. Work hard on your stock ball and reward yourself with so experimentation in the nets. Just make sure no one is watching until you stop putting it in the side netting!

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If you are naturally a big ripper of the ball and get lots of drift (and I really mean meters of drift) you could just try a back spinner. The front of your hand will be facing to fine leg as you bowl it, and the seam will come out facing the slip area but spinning backwards. You have to bowl it just like a normal off break with the same method of imparting fierce revs (that's how it differs from the arm ball) and toss it up enough to make it drift all over the place. If it drifts in the same angle as the seam (maybe a bit less, it should drift from leg stump to outside off to give you a clue) it will skid on with the drift. It's difficult to explain, but it has to feel like your pinching the ball out of your fingers (whilst using the orthodox off spin grip) If you scramble the seam and mix it in with your normal off spinners the chances of you getting a nick are huge. This delivery doesn't exactly TURN away from the bat, but it doesn't come in either. Anyway, I haven't achieved it myself, but it sure makes it a lot easier if your a chinaman and you can bowl it out of the front of the hand with all your wrist power... Laughing out loud

Nice article it would be great if you can put an article showing the grips and wrist position etc for bowling narine,s cutter and carrom ball it would be much appreciated...........

Do you need strong fingers to bowl a Narine type cutter? I bowl traditional off-spin but am looking for a variation. I rely on a strong pivot to get good off-spin rather than big hands. Narine looks like he is cutting the ball with one finger..or is it two?

A legcutter is a great variation for a finger spinner. Just start with your normal grip, but then slide your middle finger over next to your index finger. As you come up to bowl, replicate your stock ball as much as you can but run your two fingers down the inside of the ball. As soon as you have let go, twist your arm as if you just bowled an offbreak to help disguise the delivery.