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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Loudon aims to improve his doosra
A Loudon
Anything different is good to work on and exciting when it comes off
Alex Loudon
England tourist Alex Loudon says a possible career as an international all-rounder will get a boost if he can improve his mystery delivery.

Loudon, 25, was fast-tracked into England's tour squad to Pakistan thanks to his developing ability to bowl the doosra, a rare skill for an Englishman.

And he said: "I've tried it for a long while. But it is a long way off from being the finished article.

"If I can improve that part of my armoury it is going to help me."

Loudon, who has attracted interest as an old Etonian, is modest about his abilities as a cricketer, adding that he still has "a lot to do" to improve the rest of his game.

He first discovered the knack of bowling the doosra almost seven years ago - with the help of a school friend who was on an exchange from India.

"I did it because it was going to be something fun. Anything different is good to work on and exciting when it comes off," he explained.

Bowled with the same action as an off-break, the doosra mysteriously turns away from a right-hander after pitching

He was speaking to reporters in Islamabad after a morning net on day two of a three-Test tour which begins in earnest with a warm-up match in Rawalpindi next week.

"It started when I had a friend at school who had an Indian pop-star father - a Punjabi singer, the same level as Robbie Williams in England - and together we realised I could bowl it."

Among those who have so far been scuppered by his wiles in county cricket are England batsman Mark Butcher, while Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, a pioneer of the doosra, has helped him.

The delivery fools batsmen by spinning the opposite way from the regular off-break when pitching.

Loudon, however, barely bowled at Eton in school matches - where he played as a specialist bastmen.

However, his first county Kent encouraged him to bowl more often, and at Warwickshire last season he was often used as the main spinner.


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