Complete Guide on cricket ball swing technique

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Have you ever seen the game of cricket? Who do you think works harder a batsman or a bowler. In the game, both batsmen and bowlers have to put not only physical inputs but also are supposed to use their brains too in overshadowing the other one.  Batsmen keeps on guessing the kind of next ball bowler may bowl and likewise bowlers do.  Along with maintaining his pace, the bowler thinks of beating the batsman by adding the surprise element to his bowling spell by serving him some times bouncers, in swing, out swings, full toss, googly and many more. Players of south Asian countries are exceptional in swings, however pacers and spin bowlers- both can master in the art of swing.

The players who do it without bringing much change in their action can swing the balls both ways i.e. away and into the batsman’s pad which really troubles the batsman a lot. Believe me it gets really hard for a batsman to understand the direction balls are going to come in.  Players like Jimmy Anderson are one of the best bowlers of the world, who has bowled out batsman with his swing techniques.

For folks with little knowledge of conventional swing can always be in dilemma, however it is a mystery to tackle for proficient cricketers too. The purpose of this article is to give you in-depth knowledge of  swing and its technique along with subsiding some of the myths associated with this hard to play bowling technique of cricket.

The weapon of swing- A cricket ball 

You must have seen cricketers rubbing ball briskly on their trousers near thigh area or around their butts.  They do not do anything out of habit or style; rather they rub to make one side of ball to shine and leave the other rough.  As in the conventional swing, the shinier part of the ball moves through the air quickly and ball always moves from the rough side in the air. The bowling team should take care of the ball properly if they seriously want to shock and beat the batsman with their bowling spell.

Here are some of the tips regarding the care of ball to follow, if you want to be the undisputed expert of swing technique.

  •  If you want to have shine on ball, apply some saliva on ball with your finger tips and rub the side of the ball you want to be shiny.
  • Rub either on front side of your trouser or on the back side of  trouser.
  • Do not use nails to clean the ball. Use soft towel instead.
  • As stated earlier, try to keep ball dry as much as possible, if you want to astonish batsman with your swing.
  •  Make sure that side of the ball is shiny and rubbing is the technique to maintain shine on   the ball.


The Action

It is a general myth associated with the swing that either a ‘side-on’ or a ‘front-on’ action decides the kind of swing you are to deliver.  I am not completely declining the above statement, but that doesn’t mean that you will have to remain confine to conventional teaching only.  No, whatever may be your bowling action, either side on or front-on, you can learn to swing the ball both ways. You can see many bowlers irrespective of their bowling action, they can deliver in-swing as well as out swing with their same kind of bowling action.  Here are some of the factors that permit bowlers to deliver both in- swing and out-swing.

Gripping the Ball-

Grip is one of the key factors in deciding swing. Player should hold the ball differently for in-swing and out-swing. Let us have a look at the gripping technique in both the ways-

In-swing Grip (To a Right Handed Batsman)

  1.  While holding the ball, just make sure that the non-shining or rough side is towards your right hand side and shiny side on to your left.
  2.  It is suggested to tilt the ball to 20 degrees towards the right pointing towards fine leg after holding the ball in basic grip.

Outswing Grip (To a Right Handed Batsman)

  1.  While getting ready to bowl, hold the rough side of ball towards left hand side with the shiny side towards right.
  2. Grip the ball in the basic style and subsequently tilt the seam 20 degrees towards the left pointing towards the zone of first slip.

 It is to be noted that for an out-swing/in-swing to a left hand batsman, simply chose opposite direction of the ball in the hand.

Wrist Position & Release

Wrist position is immensely important in the case of seam bowlers and swing bowlers.  While delivering the ball, bowler should confirm to upright position of seam when it hits the pitch as it is likely to beat the batsman and send him back to dressing room. The most effectual way to confirm it is to keep the wrist completely upright and behind the ball at the time of delivery.                                                                                                                            The principle for seam and swing bowling are just the same i.e.  The wrist must be completely behind the ball at the time of delivering the ball.

Out swing

For out swing, it is suggested to hold the ball in out swing grip, run and reach the delivery strideThe bowlers generally touch the ball with their index finger to add bit momentum that causes seam to rotate in the direction of first slip that results in out swing.

In swing

Similarly, to deliver the ball near to the pad of bowler, hold the ball in in-swing grip, have your run up to your delivery stride and release the ball finally.  In an effort to deliver in-swing, use middle finger to touch and cater momentum to the ball and release close to the pad of batsman.

Having a High Arm

As per traditional and orthodox school of swing, effective way to deliver a typical swing is staying  upright and tall as your bowling arm comes over in a relatively straight line. It is called High arm too.  It means that swing will occur later and ball will have momentum while it travels through the air.

This one is for those, who can’t stand tall during their delivery stride and rotation of their bowling arm never falls in straight line behind the ball.  In this case, the ball is forced down the pitch at off-centre path to deliver conventional swing from hand in comparison to high arm bowler.

 Little about Early Swing and Late Swing

Now that we have seen the basics of swing, let me now tell you techniques to make it more effective

While seeing the match, you must have also seen that bowlers trying to move the ball late in the air.  Proficient batsman waits and do not let his eyes gets off the ball before hitting the ball.   In case of early swing, batsman learns the swing of ball easily and gives his reaction accordingly.  It is therefore easier to play early swing in comparison to late swing that astonishes the batsman lately.


Seam Position

Some schools of cricketing believe that late swing can be delivered more regularly if the ball is gripped differently from the typical out swing and in swing grips. Some bowlers do not have preference for turning the ball to the distance first slip and fine leg in the hand.  They instead prefer to use basic grip with little tilt of the seam.

Things to remember

You must have heard during the telecast of match, commentator saying that conditions are ideal for swing bowling or bowlers can turn the fate of the game after seeing the conditions.  By conditions they mean weather and length of bowling.  Yes, it is true that swing is achievable on having favourable weather and great length of ball.  You must have noticed that in any particular day ball swings more than any other day.

Similarly regarding length, bowler tries to get the batsman come forward and play on his front foot which is also an important part of swing bowling. It indicates that ball will stay in air for longer span and chances of getting player move around and come out of the crease also gets vast. In this case either you can get the players stump out or on lofty hit, batsman could be caught by fielder.

This post was penned to get you a detailed insight into the main principles that lay the foundation of swing.



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