Successful Swing Bowling Tips
From: Ian Canaway
A bowler who has the ability to bowl swing is an important asset in any cricket team as swing bowling is a great way to baffle a batman, add pressure and take wickets. The swing bowler has the ability to move the ball in the air either away from the batsman or in towards the batsmen. The swing is created by holding the cricket ball in a specific way so that when it is released from the hand the varying levels of air resistance combined with the position the seam is directed causes the ball to swing in the air. The swing is accentuated by polishing and shining one side of the ball so that is smooth relative to the other side, which should get roughened up through the natural course of play. Select a side to shine at the start of the match and ensure all the bowlers and fielders know which side to polish. You can polish it by rubbing sweat into it and then rubbing it on your cricket trousers.
There are three generally recognised swing delivery types, in swing, out swing and reverse swing.
The out swing delivery is a ball which when bowled by a right handed bowler to a right handed batsman swings from the leg side towards the off side. The aim of the out swinger is to encourage the batsman into playing a drive and ideally the swing will increase the chance of getting an edge and getting the batsmen out caught behind, so make sure you’ve got some good catchers behind the stumps. You want to pitch the ball quite full, aiming at or just outside off stump so that the batsman is forced to play at the ball.
The grip for the out swing delivery is quite simple and provided the seam is up right at the point of release it should swing. You need to hold the ball as normal for a medium paced delivery with the seam vertical, however for the out swinger the seam needs to be vertical and pointing towards first or second slip at about a 15° angle, so that your fingers will be running slight across the seam. The shiny side should face the leg side of the batsmen, thus the rough side faces the off side and the direction of swing. The increased air resistance on the rough side and seam position will cause it to swing through the air towards the offside. The run up should be slightly angled and bowled from close to the stumps.
The in swing delivery is basically the reverse of the away swing in that when bowled from a right handed bowler it swings in towards a right handed batsmen from the off side towards the leg side. Have a straighter run up and deliver the ball slightly wider on the crease. In contrast to the away swing bowler, the in swing bowler aims to get the batsmen out LBW or bowled by pitching it up. Aim to bowl it so that it swings from outside off stump and pitches in line with middle and off stumps, be careful though because if you start it too straight it will swing down leg side and be easy for the batsman to hit away.
Tip – If you find yourself swinging the ball uncontrollably, hold the ball across the seam so that the seam runs horizontally, this will help negate and reduce the amount of swing.
You need to make sure that your bowlers and fielders are aware of which side of the ball in polished and that is constantly shined between deliveries. Most bowlers will shine the ball themselves but it is always useful to nominate one or two fielders to shine the ball as well while the bowler is walking back to his mark.
Changing weather conditions have an often noticeable affect on the amount that the cricket ball will swing. Dry hot sunny days don’t favour swing bowling, whereas overcast, cloudy conditions are found to be most influential at generating more swing. So take this into consideration when deciding who to bowl if you are captain.
Practice in pairs just throwing the ball to each other ensuring that the seam remains in upright in a vertical position in flight to induce the swing. Keep your wrist upright and behind the ball and flick your fingers at the point of release. Watch the ball through the air so you can see if the seam stays upright. Vary the grip to practice the different types of swing. Another drill which can be used for most bowling activities is bowling at a target zone, which should be marked out on a good line and length. Aim to bowl the ball so that it swings through the air and then pitches in the target zone.All the best,
P.S. Now go play some cricket!
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