Saqlain Mushtaq is the first off-spinner to master the art of doosra ©Getty Images (File Picture)
Aug 4, 2014:
Saqlain Mushtaq, the former Pakistani legend off-spinner, who first invented the art of doosra, says he will cherish Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket in 1999 Chennai Test for rest of his life. Talking about his doosra he says that it has brought him many wickets but the importance of the Tendulkar’s wicket in the context of the game is what makes it special.
In an interview to BCCI.TV Mushtaq was talking about his career and specially about the art of doosra. Talking about this invention, he explained, “I knew how to bowl leg-spin, off-spin, flipper, arm-ball, etc. But I was in search for something new. I was determined to have something that nobody had. I kept trying different things and that’s how the doosra was developed. It began with the table tennis ball, then tennis ball and cricket ball.”
Mushtaq said that, it needs a lot of practice and the right kind of practice to bowl a doosra properly. According to him Saeed Ajmal is the best at bowling the doosra. Apart from him Muttiah Murlitharan, Harbhajan Singh and Shoaib Malik bowled it well, he felt.
When he was asked about his opinion about Ravichandran Ashwin, Mushtaq said, “I first watched him really closely during this year’s World Twenty20 when I was a coach with West Indies. Before that, there was this Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan where Shahid Afridi hit him for two sixes in the last over and won the game. People crucified Ashwin for that over but it was pure luck. And after that, the way he came back and bowled in the World Twenty20, showed the strength of his character. And the way he bowled right through that tournament, Ashwin showed he is the real deal. I think he is a wonderful bowler.”
Mushtaq gave credits for lots of his wickets to former Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan. He even gave him the credit for naming this particular ball ‘doosra’. “There are so many wickets that I got because of him. So, he often screamed, ‘doosra abhi karna hai [bowl the other one now] or ‘doosra abhi nahi karna hai [don’t bowl the other one]. The commentators picked it up from the stump mic and that’s how it got its name.”
When Mushtaq was asked to name few batmen who picked his doosra well, he named four Indian player, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Mohammad Azharuddin. He felt among Indians these four batsmen picked his magic delivery really well. Apart from those Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga from Sri Lanka, Brian Lara Carl Hooper from West Indies, Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist and Darren Lehmann from Australia picked his doosra well. He also mentioned the names of Jacques Kallis of South Africa and England’s Graeme Ford, who played it equally well.