County Stalwarts: Nayan Doshi

Today Sam Tomkinson returns to TFT. After his piece last month about county stalwart James Hildreth, Sam looks at the career of ex-Surrey spinner Nayan Doshi who shone brightly in the early days of T20 but ultimately faded away. If you’d like to write about a county stalwart yourself – a personal favourite of just someone who had an interesting career – drop us a line to Cheers.

Tall in stature, miserly in approach and round arm in action, Nayan Doshi had all the attributes suited to the shortest form of the game. Utilising these talents Doshi forged a brief but spectacular T20 career that, unfortunately for him and his bank account, came about ten years too early.

Left arm spinner Doshi, son of Indian Test cricket Dilip Doshi, made his T20 debut for Surrey on 2nd July 2004 against Sussex. He immediately displayed the credentials that made him the first man to take fifty T20 wickets. Registering figures of 4-0-11-2 under the lights of Hove, Doshi, with the likes of Claude Henderson of Leicester, put paid to the preconceived notion that spinners would be cannon fodder in the shortest form.

Doshi proved to be an integral part of an imperious Surrey side that remained unbeaten until the final, before losing out to Leicestershire with five balls to spare. Doshi’s economy rate of 6.50 in the game was only bettered by Henderson.

In 2005, Doshi had an incredibly strong season. His team, the Surrey Brown Caps, made it all the way to finals day, before losing out to an Andrew Symonds inspired Lancashire in a high scoring affair. Doshi finished the tournament as leading wicket taker with 17 and cemented himself as arguably the key component in a star studded Surrey side.

He would once again star for Surrey in the 2006 campaign, ending the tournament as leading wicket taker with 21, as the now Surrey Lions made it to another finals day.

For all his T20 success, however, Doshi made little impact in the other forms of the game. Not a massive turner of the ball, Doshi struggled to take wickets with the red ball and did not have the same economical effect in the List A format.

Not much to write home about with the bat or in the field, Doshi would find himself surplus to requirement in 2007. Surrey invested in former England spinner Chris Schofield, who was perceived to offer more in other formats and with the bat.

Schofield went on to become the top T20 wicket taker that season and represented England. Doshi, on the other hand, would terminate his contract and flatter to deceive with Warwickshire and Derbyshire.

Though he continued to play in India, even playing four times in the IPL, Doshi never reached the dizzy heights of his Brown Cap days. His career basically fizzled out disappointingly.

As a spinner, Doshi’s round arm action and height made him an entirely different prospect to the archetypal spinner. At 6 feet 4 inches in stature, Doshi looked more likely to send it past a batsman’s nose than outwit them with flight and guile. However, it was his control and change of pace that made him such an effective bowler.

There was no mystery to his method. Doshi, using his impressive frame, would extract extra bounce from the surfaces with his stock ball. When bowling the quicker ball, his round arm action allowed the ball to skid through, giving the batsman the hurry up.

These attributes, along with his unwavering accuracy, made him a tough prospect in short form cricket, especially as batsmen at the time were not the 360 players we see today. This, after all, was the era when Nick Knight left no balls. The boundaries were also longer, the bats lighter, a scoop involved ice cream, and the Oval was Nayan Doshi’s playground.

With the abundance of T20 leagues around the world today, who knows where Doshi’s career would’ve taken him had he been born five years later. CPL, PSL, The Hundred? You name it. Doshi could have been a sought after commodity and made a small fortune on his way.

His ability to tie up an end and take important wickets in the middle overs would have been crucial to any franchise willing to accept his frailties with the bat.

Sam Tomkinson


  • As a Surrey supporter I saw a lot of Doshi in the days when I watched T20 (don’t anymore). Got a lot of his wickets though at the death caught I seem to recall, often due to the Ivsks long boundaries. And your right he didn’t really do anything in red ball or indeed with the bat. A case of “where are they now”?

  • Can’t say I remember much about Doshi Jr. but saw a lot of Doshi Sr. playing for Warwickshire. Hard to believe Jr’s frame came out of such a diminutive parent. You certainly feel that such a frame would have been a huge advantage in the modern white balł game and I’m sure he would have been coached to apply the long handle to some effect with the bat. Fielding is another matter though. Tall sportsmen are rarely quick or agile, though if Willis could become a decent fielder why not.
    If he inherited the same temperament as his father, one of the most mild mannered laid back cricketers I have ever seen, confidence, or lack of it, should not have been a problem. You always felt when Doshi Sr was got after it was bullying and in some way unfair, as his small bespectacled figure made him look like a boy amongst men. However he often had the last word with an extra spot of guile. At six four Jr would never have that problem, but had he the guile?

  • I think Doshi’s career was significant because everybody thought spinners would be absolute fodder in T20s. Instead the opposite happened. Indeed, it could be argued that T20 has helped to keep spinners relevant in the modern game. The value of “pace off the ball” is undeniable these days.

    Doshi’s success in the early days of T20 proved that spinners would be extremely relevant after all. His career at the top was therefore brief but important.

    • Technically ‘spinners’ are white ball fodder as I’ve never seen them having the advantage of bowling on a spinners track. Call them slow bowlers, but spinners, no. Batsmen don’t have to contend with much sideways movement of any description in one dayers, so all bowlers have to adapt and varying line, length and pace are the only alternatives they have left, often just as a run restictor. For me spinners are wicket takers not dot ballers. As a result few slow bowlers these days really spin the ball, they roll it out to make it easier to control with fielders spread far and wide rather than the excitement of close field traps.

  • Does being good at T20 for a couple of seasons really qualify someone as a “County Stalwart”. My definition of a stalwart would be a player who played hundreds of CC games and was ignored by the selectors (or better still, completely stitched up by them like those picked for one Test at the end of a summer and then never selected again e.g. Paul Parker, Alan Wells).

    Doshi’s dad has become mega-rich by booking celebrities for Indian’s new moneyed elite. Pass the sick bag. To be fair, it is rather forgotten what a good spinner he was and discussions of quality Indian spinners tend to miss him out jumping from the merits of Bedi-Chandra-Prasanna to Kumble-Harbhajan.


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