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How to bowl swing and seam
Around the Academy:

Glenn McGrath, James Anderson and Shaun Pollock are the best in the business when it comes to movement

To get the best possible chance of any sort of movement in the air or off the pitch, a fast bowler should grip the ball "seam up".

Learning this basic grip will get your wrist behind the ball, an essential starting point for any bowler.

With the seam vertical, the ball is held in the fingers, resting on the third finger and thumb, with the middle and index fingers either side of the seam.

Try to land the seam as straight as possible on the pitch.

This will give you a much greater chance of any sort of movement, especially with a brand new cherry in your hand.

Basic bowling grip
Keep the seam as upright as possible

You'll find some days the ball will swing and seam almost every delivery, while on others it will do almost nothing.

This is because movement relies on four key factors:

  • The bowler: Some bowlers have bowling actions which naturally help the ball to swing in the air.

    A good side-on action will help a bowler to swing the ball away from the bat.

  • The pitch: Green tops favour bowlers because there's usually moisture under the pitch, which helps the ball to swing, especially if the sun's out.

    Bowlers can get movement off the wicket if the pitch is cracked. You may have seen cricket commentators showing cracks on Test pitches on TV.

    Aiming for the cracks can help the ball move quite considerably.

  • The weather: A cloudy, overcast day is perfect for swing bowlers. The moisture in the air will help the ball swing more.

  • The condition of the ball: A brand new ball will swing more because of the shiny lacquer coating and a hard seam.

    As the ball gets older, it gets softer and loses its shine.

    But polishing one side of the ball will help keep the ball moving in the air.

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  • Basic bowling grip
    The inswinger
    The outswinger
    Reverse swing
    The off cutter
    The leg cutter

    What makes a cricket ball swing?
    Scientists have done plenty of research on this matter - and it can get very complicated!
    Basically, it's all to do with water molecules in the air and how they react with the ball mid-flight
    The condition of the ball is also a big factor - the ball tends to swing more if there's one shiny side along with a rough side

    ^^ Back to top
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