What he said:
“Why not? A person is made of this earth, which has not been discovered completely yet.”
Saqlain Mushtaq is confident that the doosra—the off-spinner’s googly—can be bowled legally without flexing one’s elbow beyond the stipulated limit of 15 degrees permitted by the ICC.
“I have always believed you can definitely bowl it with a legitimate action, working on various aspects of your body. You can bowl the doosra with your fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder and you can even get it right with your foot positioning. Every individual has his own physique. If you don’t have strong shoulders you can execute it through you wrist and fingers and use elbow to bowl a faster one. In either case you have to have strong control over your wrist and ensure it doesn’t collapse. And without the kink you can safely bowl a doosra within the permitted flex.”
Mushtaq additionally believes that a new mystery ball can always be devised and added to the craft of spin bowling.
“Why not? A person is made of this earth, which has not been discovered completely yet. So when you start thinking and start experiencing deeply, then you start experimenting. And then what you produce, that is a real invention.”
What he really meant:
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and God created man from clay. The earth and specially the seas have not been fully explored. And who knows what elements may still be discovered? Necessity is the mother of invention. We sub-continental chaps are about jugaad, my friend. We’ll make do somehow, 15 degrees or less.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“And Muttiah Muralidharan is made of plasticine.”
What he said:
“Well, every man and his dog would have known that.”
Darrell Hair is bemused with the recent crackdown on illegal bowling actions launched by the ICC.
The Australian umpire, who famously called Murali Muralitharan in 1995, said:
“Whatever they’re doing now, they’re doing 20 years too late. They had a chance in 1995 to clean things up and it’s taken them 19 years to finally come back and say they want chuckers out of the game. I can’t believe that Saaed Ajmal has been able to bowl as long as he has, and they say he is bending his arm by 45 degrees [the legal limit is 15 degrees] or something. Well, every man and his dog would have known that.
I suppose what it does show is the general weakness of the umpires over time to do anything about it.”
“People say ‘you should be happy with the way things turned out’…with the chuckers being weeded out. But it doesn’t give me any personal satisfaction whatsoever. All I was doing at any time was just doing my job and I think I did it to the best of my ability. The fact was that no other ICC umpires were willing to have a go. Ross Emerson was very adamant about his thoughts about chuckers but they soon put him into the background.
I suppose I was lucky I had a few games under my belt so they didn’t want to target me, but they certainly got him out of the way fairly swiftly. It’ll be interesting to see how many umpires are brave enough to get involved in it. I said it in the late ’90s that if something wasn’t done about it you’d have a generation of chuckers on your hands and now you have. They try to emulate Harbajan Singh and Saqlain Mushtaq and Murali and that’s the problem. The crackdown should have happened on those players and the ICC should have let it be known that it wasn’t acceptable.”
ICC general manager of cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, believes the game has reached a tipping point on this issue.
“The game had reached a tipping point on this issue, when many groups within the game felt that there were too many bowlers with suspect actions operating in international cricket.The most prominent of these groups was the ICC Cricket Committee at its meeting in June, when it observed the ICC’s reporting and testing procedures were not adequately scrutinising these bowlers. They weren’t the only ones talking about this issue, as similar views had been expressed by teams, players, umpires, referees and administrators.
Since that time the umpires have felt more confident to report their concerns with certain bowlers, and their concerns have been supported by the results of the testing of these reported bowlers.”
In India, the irrepressible Bishan Singh Bedi could not resist firing a few salvoes of his own at his favourite peeve.
“I would like to see what happens to Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) and Pragyan Ojha, now that umpires are reporting bowlers for throwing and action is being taken against them.”
“The rectification had to come from the establishment.It’s no doubt late, but better late than never.”
On the timing of the clampdown:
“Timing doesn’t matter for goodness. It was ugly to watch chuckers floating around – someone throwing javelin, some shot put and others darts.”
What Darrell Hair really meant:
“If you know it, your best friend knows it.Besides, should the umpire be looking at the bowler’s arm or at the batsman? How do umpires measure the angle with the naked eye? Trained dogs, perhaps? Something like sniffer dogs, eh? Can we umpires have compasses please?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I knew it and I was labelled a dog for it, wasn’t I?