Swing Bowling: The Dying Art

Fast bowling is one of the important facets of the game of cricket. And one of the most crucial elements of the fast bowling is Swing. The essence of swing bowling is to get the cricket ball to move sideways as it moves through the air towards (Inswing) or away (outswing) from the batter.

From the very beginning, swing has been one of the greatest weapons in fast bowlers’ armory. Whether it’s bamboozling a batter by varying swing (Inswing and outswing) or setting him up with a series of short balls and then throwing in the full and swinging sucker punch, pacers around the world have relied heavily on swing.

Although the Red Ball which is used for the test cricket still swings provided the conditions are conducive. But where has the swing gone to, when it comes to the white ball cricket. Balls aren’t swinging anymore. The ongoing ICC Champion trophy which is being hosted by England and Wales have seen almost no swing despite the fact that the English conditions are very suitable for swing bowling. Cricket Experts have been ranting on. Reasons could be several. It could be related to manufacturing processes or the quality of the raw materials being used. Some blame the bowlers, it’s believed that they don’t focus on swing anymore. Pitches have become flatter hence the brand new cherries don’t take too long to lose their shine. Ever since the new rule regarding the use of two new white balls in the ODIs has been laid out, reverse swing has gone out of the equation. Another thing that has hampered reverse swing is the fact that the quality of outfields has improved around the world which doesn’t assist the scuffing up of the ball.
Cutters, change of pace, slower bouncers and other change ups have made their way into cricket in recent times with batsmen trying to smash every ball. But all these types of deliveries are only good in limited overs. A good batsman can adjust to these change ups and can often survive them. Swing along with Seam (movement off the pitch) are still the toughest things to handle. The Even express pace doesn’t stand for much unless you can move the ball.
Even the modern greats of the swing bowling such as Protean Dale Steyn, who has got one of the most beautiful wrist position to get the ball to move late, Tim Southee, the kiwi with the perfect Seam position and the Englishman Jimmy Anderson, who can swing it both ways without much change in his bowling action, have struggled to move the ball in the air. The balance in the game has shifted. Batsmen are piling up runs while bowlers struggle to have any impact. Cricket needs a fair contest between the bowlers and the batsmen. And Swing is certainly one of the important pillars of pace bowling. It needs to be revived.

(Pic Credits- http://www.essentiallysports.com)

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