A teesra is a type of ball bowled by an off-spinner. Routinely, an off-spinner bowls such that the ball pitches in line of the off stump and moves towards the leg stump. A variation used by the off-spinner is the doosra where the ball moves in an opposite direction (leg to off) compared to the regular off-spin. A third variant is the teesra, where the ball is bowled much quicker than the previous two variants and does not really spin. Teesra translates to “third one.”
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The teesra was popularized by Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq. It was later, that cricket pundits realized that the teesra was a backspin delivery or an arm ball. It has also been called a “jalebi,” which is a spiral-shaped Indian subcontinent sweet dish. The teesra is bowled by gripping the ball in the same way a regular off-spin is to be bowled. At the time of release, the bowler rotates his fingers and wrist in the desired direction to procure the spin. But in a teesra, the bowler simply does not make any movement with his fingers or wrist at the time of release. For the batsman, it would appear that the bowl is likely to turn a lot. However, in reality it would barely turn and instead approach much quicker.
The teesra mimics the magnus effect. According to this, the ball spinning through the air drags the surrounding air along with it. While bowling the teesra, the bowler imparts a backspin, meaning that the spin of the ball while traveling through the air is towards the bowler. This causes the ball to gain momentum, as a result of which, it travels faster after pitching. Apart from Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal is another bowler who routinely bowled the teesra.