Saturday, September 16, 2006

Legalize weak-throwing to promote the doosra

Original draft of letter published in The Wisden Cricketer February 2006

There are two kinds of throwing which bowlers can engage in: strong-throwing and weak-throwing.

Strong-throwing is when the palm of the hand faces the batsman at the moment the ball is released. It is used to generate extra surprise pace, and is generally regarded as unfair and potentially dangerous.

Weak-throwing has the back of hand facing the batsman at the moment of release. This allows the finger spinner to bowl a doosra (and top-spinner) more easily and effectively. Many people, especially in the South Asian cricketing nations, regard weak-throwing as a fair delivery.

I suggest that weak-throwing (with back-of hand facing batter) should be permitted by the laws of cricket in order to encourage the doosra and maintain spin bowling as an important part of the game, while strong-throwing should remain illegal.

Bruce Charlton, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


Blogger Robthrobble said...


Stretch your arm out in front of you with a cricket ball in it and the back of your hand facing the ground

Now bend your arm so the ball now touches your shoulder and the back of your hand faces skyward.

What you're saying would mean that people could bowl from this position, imparting enormous amounts of top spin with a bit of off or leg to go with it. This would mean that anyone could bowl like murali.

And ok, would that be such a bad thing? Er, yeah. One of THE GREATEST things about cricket is the balance of the game. For example, it is possible to do everything and more than murali by bowling leg spin - but that's an incredibly hard skill to master. So there lies the balance.

In the same way, some people can bowl fast, some people can bowl accurately, some people can swing, seam and cut the ball. But it's incredibly hard to put all these skills together.

If it was a good idea to let 'weak throwing' into the game, it would have been done years ago.

I don't have a problem with bowlers who bowl with a slightly bent arm as long as it doesn't flex more than the permitted amount - as this is still a very hard skill to master - and also add's a bit of balance to a now batsmen friendly game (by allowing finger spinners to bowl with a few more revs, with more top-spin and, potentially, develop a doosra).

But as I said, leave it there. Tracks are flat and covered now so this will inevitably produce better spinners who operate within already quite flexible (pun intended) boundaries.

It's already produced Murali, Saqlain and Harbajhan. Not to mention reverse-swing. That's just the beginning. The game is adapting naturally to the feather-beds that the game is played on now.

Just a few thoughts. Slightly tainted by all the kids at our cricket club doing the action I outlined in paragraph's 2 and 3 and thinking that that is legal and a good way to spend their time.

Great blog,

Keep it up. Rob

But let's leave it there. Allowing 'weak throwing' would make a mockery of some of the greatest bowlers of all time. Warne, Underwood, Bedi, Qadir etc etc.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Bruce G Charlton said...

robthrobble may be correct - this idea was published and discussed in the Wisden Cricketer, but has led to nothing, so I guess there must be some flaw - maybe it is harder to umpire than I realized?

I still feel that a spinner throwing a back-chuck (as Murali probably does with his doosra - albeit a 15 degree throw) with back of hand facing the batter; needs to be recognized as an entirely different and much less bad kind of thing than 'throwing darts' like Tony Lock did.

1:13 PM  

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