Swing the Cricket Ball: Have you ever watched cricket and wondered how professional bowlers can move the ball in both directions with a conventional swing? If so, you have come to the right place. Jimmy Anderson is a name that most cricket fans are familiar with. This English fast bowler is probably the best swing bowler his generation has ever seen. He can swing the ball into or away from the batsman’s pads at will without making any noticeable adjustments to his movement. As a result, it is extremely challenging for batsmen to determine which balls to play at and which ones to leave. By taking advantage of this uncertainty in the minds of his opponents, Anderson has taken a tremendous number of wickets throughout his career.
How to Swing the Cricket Ball in any Condition?
Even after being comprehended, the conventional swing can be extremely challenging to control for players at a lower level of the game. In this post, I hope to dispel some misconceptions about swing bowling and teach you the fundamentals necessary to successfully move the ball in the air.
You will need to take care of the following in order to make a cricket ball swing
- The Ball’s Condition
- Your Bowling Action
- The Way the Ball Is Gripped
- Your Wrist Position and Release
In this post, I’ll walk you through each of those factors in greater depth. I’ll also show you how to get the ball to swing later in its flight rather than earlier! Let’s get started…
The Condition of the Ball
The state of the ball During games, cricketers have been known to vigorously rub the ball against their pants. A casual viewer of this might be perplexed as to what is taking place! It turns out that a cricket ball that has a shiny one side and a rough one side is best for swing bowling. The ball will always move in the direction of the rough side in a conventional swing because the shinier side moves through the air more quickly.
The fielding side ought to pay close attention to the state of the ball. When looking after the ball, there are a few main things to keep in mind:
- The ball should stay as dry as possible. Swinging a wet ball in the air is much harder.
- Always keep your fingertips on the seam when holding the ball. Avoid placing your palms on the side of the ball because this can add moisture that you don’t want.
- Use your fingertips to apply a small amount of saliva to the side of the ball you want to keep shiny to shine it.
- Rub the ball’s shiny side on the back of your trouser leg to polish it and give it a nice, smooth finish.
- Make sure the ball’s entire side is shiny. All of the leather up to the seam is included in this.
You might be able to swing the ball a lot better with this method! Ensure that the person in charge of looking after the ball is meticulous!
Your Bowling Action
A lot of coaches think that one of the most important aspects of being able to bowl conventional swing is how the bowler moves. They also believe that swinging the ball in one direction rather than the other will be more likely if you have a “side-on” or “front-on” action. Although this may be true, you can still learn to swing the ball in the opposite direction.
My own experience suggests that I am able to bowl inswing with little effort because my bowling action is quite front-on. Nevertheless, I have also developed an outswing bowling technique!
There are a lot of professional cricket players who are able to accurately swing the ball both ways. There are many more important factors that help them do this.
The way you hold the ball
The way you hold the ball is one of the most significant influences on your ability to swing the club. Whether you want to bowl inswing or outswing, you should hold the ball in a different way. Let’s take a closer look at the two distinct grips:
Outswing Grip (For a Right-Handed Batsman)
- When picking up the ball, place the rough side to the left and the shiny side to the right.
- Tip the seam 20 degrees to the left after holding the ball in the basic grip so that it now points in the direction of first slip.
To a right-handed batsman, inswing grip:
- When picking up the ball, make sure the rough side is on the right side and the shiny side is on the left.
- After holding the ball in the standard grip, tilt the seam to the right by twenty degrees so that it now points toward the fine leg.
Note: Simply reversing the direction of the ball in the hand allows a left-handed batsman to perform an outswing or an inswing.
Your Wrist Position and Release
The wrist position is always very important to seam bowlers as well as conventional swing bowlers. You should always aim for the seam to be upright when the ball hits the ground because this gives you the best chance of getting lateral movement and hopefully getting the batsman back in the pavilion. During the delivery, the best way to accomplish this is to keep the wrist fully upright and behind the ball. This can cause the seam to wobble if the wrist is not behind the ball, which is not always ideal if you want to get movement in the air and off the field.
Okay, so now that we understand the significance of maintaining an ideal wrist position, how can we accomplish this? The seam bowler Andrew Flintoff employed the strategy of locking the wrist in the desired position throughout his entire delivery and run-up stride. This is unquestionably a strategy that I have found to be successful in my own experience. I ingrained the wrist position in my muscle memory by holding it in this position while running into bowl, and the more I practiced it in the nets, the more natural it became.
The fundamentals of swing bowling and seam bowling are essentially identical. When the ball leaves the hand, the wrist needs to be completely behind it. The ball must spin along its axis without any seam wobble as it travels toward the batsman for the best results.
For Jimmy’s outswinger, he will hold the ball in the outswing grip, run up, and go through his delivery stride as usual. He believes there is a very easy way to learn how to do this, and it doesn’t even require you to change your wrist position at all. He will, however, make sure that his index finger touches the ball as soon as it is about to leave his hand. The seam rotates in the direction of first slip as this finger applies the final bit of momentum to the ball, making it more likely to swing away from the batsman.
Jimmy’s method for bowling the inswinger is largely the same. After practicing his run-up and delivery strides with the ball in his inswing grip, he gets ready to release it. He will ensure that the ball leaves his middle finger last this time when it leaves his hand. The middle finger’s momentum causes the seam to rotate toward the batsman, increasing the probability that the ball will hit his pads.
Later, how do you get the ball to swing?
Okay, now that we’ve laid out the fundamentals necessary to bowl conventional swing, how can we improve its effectiveness?
A lot of elite bowlers try to improve their latency in getting the ball to move in the air. Skilled batsmen will accurately read the ball from the bowler’s hand and keep an eye on it until it hits their bat. As a result, the batsman will find it much simpler to observe and react when the ball begins to swing as soon as it begins its flight because he will be able to follow the trajectory throughout. David Willey of England is one example of a bowler who uses a conventional swing to move the ball very early. He doesn’t move quickly, and most of the movement he makes in the air is easy to read. He may never be able to bowl in a test match because of this.
This is in contrast to bowlers like Mohammad Amir of Pakistan and Dale Steyn of South Africa. Due to their speed, accuracy, and propensity to swing the ball very late, these two can be nearly unplayable at their best. The late swing gives the batsman less time to react to the movement, so a good ball is more likely to take the edge, even though they may not appear to move the ball as much as David Willey does at times. You can begin to get a sense of the kind of issues they cause by adding this to their ability to swing the ball both ways.
On how to achieve a more consistent late swing, coaches and professionals have a variety of ideas. Here are a few to keep an eye on:
Having a High Arm
According to one school of thought, being very upright in your action and remaining very tall as your bowling arm comes over in a relatively straight line are the keys to making a conventional swing happen later. Having a “high arm” means doing this. This indicates that the swing will typically occur later in the flight because there is more momentum immediately behind the ball as it begins its ascent through the air. Dale Steyn and Jimmy Anderson are excellent examples of this once more.
Having a “round arm” move would be the opposite, and Matthew Hoggard is a good example of this. The rotation of his bowling arm never occurred in a very straight line because he did not stand very high during his delivery stride. When compared to high arm bowlers, this means that the ball travels down the field at a slightly off-center trajectory and is more likely to experience a conventional swing straight from the hand.
Some people believe that holding the ball in a slightly different way than the outswing and inswing grips I showed you above will increase the likelihood of a late swing. Instead, some bowlers prefer to use the basic grip with only a slight tilt of the seam rather than turning the ball as far first slip (for the outswinger) or fine leg (for the inswinger).
Keep in mind that the length of time you bowl and the conditions can sometimes limit how far you can swing. When you watch a cricket match, a commentator will frequently say, “The conditions are perfect for swing bowling,” referring to the weather being slightly overcast. Simply put, the players cannot control the reasons why the ball will swing more frequently on certain days.
In terms of the length you should be bowling, one important part of swing bowling well is getting the batsman to come forward and play on the front foot. Because of this, the ball will remain in the air for a longer period of time, giving it more opportunities to move around!
Last but not least, I have made an effort in this post to emphasize the fundamentals that will assist you in imparting a conventional swing to a cricket ball. However, this should not take precedence over your own sense of self-comfort. The variety of approaches and methods available to complete a task is one of cricket’s many appealing features. There isn’t one right way! If you use my post as a guide, you should be able to find something that works well for you!