Rajan's Wrong 'Un: Wills, Kate, and how an Etonian champion of the doosra infiltrated the royal wedding

World Cup Diary
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The Independent Online

This column wishes Prince William and Kate Middleton well. But I fear many are missing the most intriguing aspect of the wedding, which is that the assorted dignitaries at Westminster Abbey will include a champion of the doosra.

This fabled delivery – which spins away from the right-hander, and was probably bowled by the Australian Jack Potter during the 1964 Ashes tour of England – was revived in the 1990s by Pakistani Saqlain Mushtaq and Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan. Yet it also, deliciously, made it on to the playing fields of Eton – via Bollywood.

While at the school, a young chap called Gurik Mann introduced the doosra to his head boy at Eton – one Alex Loudon, who, though on the fringes of the England side, retired at 27 in 2007 to pursue a career in business. And, indeed, to pursue Middleton's sister, Pippa, whom he is now dating.

Mann's father, Gurdas, is a Punjabi pop star and actor, known as Bollywood's answer to Robbie Williams. Clearly an enterprising fellow, Mann Jnr also introduced Prince William to the Indian sport of kabaddi. My information, however, is that this wasn't enough to warrant a place on the invites for 29 April. A shame: palace insiders tell me that if he'd shown the Prince the flipper, Mann would have been top of the guest list.

A charitable effort we can all support

While we're on flippers, Shane Warne tweeted earlier this week he would bowl one third ball at New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key. The two will play in a charity fixture on Sunday, for victims of the earthquake in Christchurch. Former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming is the organiser, actors Russell Crowe and James Nesbitt are the coaches, and Ian McKellen is referee.

Why Harbhajan lost his Dutch courage

The Indians made hard work of winning yesterday, losing five wickets as they chased down the Netherlands' paltry 189. The hosts must be anxious about Harbhajan Singh, whose 10 overs were again wicketless. He's never been the same since taking up the doosra. Given his taste for celebrity, has he I wonder been spending time with the Manns?





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