What is the teesra?

When I started this blog, I struggled to come up with a name that evoked the fascination I feel for the game of cricket. I didn’t want to write as the wrong’un, much as the googly would fit the bill – possibly the original mystery ball. Professor Bruce Charlton already had an excellent blog called the doosra.

So I went one further. After the doosra (the second, or “other” on), comes the third one, or “The Teesra”. Saqlain Mushtaq was reputed to be developing a new mystery delivery, back in 2004. At the time, it wasn’t really clear if this ball ever was ever bowled in anger, or even exactly what the delivery might be.

But a post on cricistan.com shows Saqlain bowling his “third one” (after the off break, and the doosra) in the 2008 ICL. [post no longer available; video clip removed from youtube for copyright violation]

It looks like a flipper – palm of the hand facing away from the bowler at the point of release, the ball flipped out beneath the fore-finger. And the video clip shows the result as a seemingly short delivery pitches much further up than expected, and skids on to trap him leg before.

So is this the new mystery ball? Or could it be Graeme Swann’s “gyro” arm ball?

It doesn’t really matter – so long as spin bowlers can keep coming up with new ways to take wickets, the game will stay as fascinating as ever.

twenty20 again – England win…

I have just listened to the ICC Twenty20 World Cup final on the radio. And England win!

I have been very impressed by the comments from the England team – they have a plan, and a very clear idea of how to play the game. No more experiments in mid-match (or worse, in mid-over).

Not that they are stereotyped – they give the impression that they have a whole play book of alternative strategies lined up. If plan A does not work, we’ll try plan B, or C…

England are really doing nothing more than playing “good cricket”. They are very aware of the game situations, and what they need to do. And now, because they don’t have to make up tactics on the fly, they can rely on techniques that they have practised and know will work.

This follows on from the succes of essentially orthodox batting in the IPL, especially from Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis. Play the ball on its merits – it’s just true that Sachin and Jacques both had such a range of strokes that far more deliveries deserve to be hit to the boundary!

How simple is that?

trials and examinations…

Several of our young colts have been at district and County trials recently. It’s great to see them getting the recognition they deserve, but it does raise the question of whether we should be coaching for trials, not just for playing the game.

I have heard this a couple of times at Colts’ practice – “we don’t want a game, we won’t learn anything”; and “I’ve got a trial later this week, I must have a net”.

I guess I was never good enough to worry about trials – I played District cricket, because my school was much the strongest at cricket in the borough, and a couple of County schools games in the sixth form when a lot of the better players had left after O levels. But back in my day you were invited to play by (hopefully) knowledgeable coaches, taking advice from school masters.

The system is much fairer now, certainly, and works through the Clubs. But from the comments of some of our Colts, it does sound as if the trial has become part of the prevailing examination culture.

Which brings me back to the question – what do you have to do to “pass” a representative trial? And should we be coaching that knowledge, or trying to instill it through match play?