Reverse swing or super swing?

Reverse swing or super swing?

Post by SultanOfSwin » Sat, 02 Sep 2006 15:27:17


In this current environment of hostility towards reverse swing
and ball-tampering allegations flying around thick and fast, I
came across a rather interesting article on Cricinfo by Saad
Shafaqat. He says that swing and not it's origin is what is
important. More in the article below.
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he case for an unstoppable art

Reverse swing or super swing?

Saad Shafqat

August 31, 2006

When the power of reverse-swing was finally understood by the
international cricket community - it happened in the summer of 1992
when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis made the ball talk all over England -
it was immediately labeled an unorthodox skill. Other bowlers couldn't
do it, and the batsmen couldn't play it. The technique acquired a
sinister and improper air.

On closer attention, you realise that 'reverse-swing' is actually quite
a presumptuous label. Who decided which kind of swing is reverse and
which is regular? It's a significant question, because being the
reverse of something can carry the added burden of impropriety. Why
should the way it swings in the subcontinent carry that burden, and why
should the way it swings in England be considered the prescribed way?

English fans may not have seen it before, but reverse-swing had been
around in the Test arena for a long time. In 1979, Sarfraz Nawaz used
it to take seven wickets for a solitary run in a match-winning spell at
Melbourne. At Karachi on Christmas Day, 1982, Imran Khan bowled a
famous spell of reverse-swing against India during which he was, for
all purposes, unplayable. Sarfraz and Imran had demonstrated for anyone
caring to notice that reverse-swing enabled unprecedented control and
movement. It allowed the ball to turn corners, and get into spaces that
didn't even exist, such as the junction between Sunil Gavasker's bat
and pad.

Ian Chappell, cricket's foremost logician, has frequently argued that
qualifying swing bowling with appellations like 'reverse' or 'regular'
is pointless because, basically, it is all just swing - lateral
movement of the ball while in flight. The argument is sound, but the
term 'reverse' remains entrenched.

As a physical phenomenon, reverse swing does have a distinct technical
basis from the early swing that typically occurs under English or
similar conditions. Air passing over a cricket ball creates turbulence,
and the theory is that the two kinds of swing result from the ball
responding to surface turbulence in opposite ways. In conventional
swing, the ball is believed to move towards the side of greater
turbulence, while in 'reverse' swing it goes the other way, away from
the turbulence, and hence the term. Differential turbulence between the
ball's two halves can be created either by angling the seam (as in
new-ball or conventional swing), or by allowing one half to scuff up
through wear and tear while the other half is kept obsessively polished
and smooth.

Perhaps a more appropriate name for reverse-swing would be super swing,
because reverse-swing has super proportions. The ball moves a greater
distance, and with more accuracy, than a ball swung by angling the
seam. In any case, to a batsman who has just missed the line, the
physics of the movement is irrelevant. What really matters is whether
the ball moved, and how much. In terms of the contest between bat and
ball, the key variable that distinguishes the two types of swing
bowling, therefore, is not qualitative but quantitative.

It is often said that reverse (super) swing is poorly understood, but
in fact it is a simple and straightforward technique that you can try
in your own backyard. All you need is a tennis ball, a roll of
electrical insulation tape, and a set of stumps to aim at. Cover one
half of the ball with strips of tape and hold it down the center, with
the taped side entirely to one side. For a toe-bruising yorker, keep
the taped side towards leg and deliver the ball aiming for second slip.
About two-thirds of the way the ball will curve like a banana and crash
into the base of middle and leg. The faster you are the better, but you
don't have to be very quick to create the effect. To bowl a menacing
out***, keep the taped side facing off and aim for fine leg. The
physics is elementary. The smooth, taped side creates less turbulence
than the uncovered, rough side of the tennis ball. Less turbulence
means lesser resistance, and the ball moves in that direction.

If there is any kind of swing bowling that is shrouded in mystery it
is, in fact, the conventional variety. It is more of a natural gift
over which the bowler exercises uncertain control. As Bob Massie's
famous example shows, you can sometimes go an entire career without
being able to reproduce it.

They say in traditional swing the ball deviates away from the shiny
side. Since a new ball, with equal shine on both sides, can swing just
as much, this can only be half-correct, if at all. Another confusion is
that the direction of the seam, supposedly the basis of the movement,
turns out not to be crucial. The most important variable in traditional
swing is probably the angle - the mechanics and trajectory - of
delivery.

Who would know more about English swing bowling than Ian Botham? In Ian
Botham on Cricket he writes that the direction of swing is determined
by the dynamics of the bowling action. "I honestly think that if your
action was very sideways-on it would still be possible to bowl an
out-*** with the ball held the other way," he observes. Imran
experienced something similar in England; in his autobiography, he
records that it didn't matter how he held the ball, his natural action
made every delivery come into the right-hander. In his crisp memoir,
Strike Bowler, Craig McDermott alludes to the same thing. "The key to
swing is the way you*** your wrist before delivering the ball," he
writes. "By varying the angle of the wrist, you change the direction of
swing."

The most perplexing thing about traditional swing is how the experience
of the best swing bowlers does not reconcile with scientific evidence.
In 1983, a group of (presumably cricket-mad) physicists from London's
Imperial College conducted a painstaking study of factors affecting
cricket ball swing, publishing their results in the respected
scientific journal Nature (Volume 303, pages 787-788). Using
angled-seam balls propelled into a wind tunnel, they found that the
best swing took place at speeds of around 70 mph (112 kph). They also
found no correlation between swing and air dampness or humidity. Anyone
who has seen 90 mph fast bowlers produce extraordinary swing in
overcast and humid conditions knows there must be more to it than that.

Super swing is simpler to understand, easier to learn, more accurate,
and perfectly reproducible. Delivered at speeds over 90 mph, it can be
a lethal weapon, some would even say a weapon of mass destruction. It
doesn't matter what your action is or how you*** your wrist. All that
matters is which way the smoother surface is facing. Provided there is
enough difference between the rough and shiny sides, the ball will
always move towards the smoother surface. It isn't the 'reverse' of
anything. That's just the way it is.

Saad Shafqat is a cricket writer based in Karachi

? Cricinfo
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Quote:
>From http://SportToday.org/

 
 
 

Reverse swing or super swing?

Post by Phil » Sat, 02 Sep 2006 22:28:42

Quote:

> In this current environment of hostility towards reverse swing
> and ball-tampering allegations flying around thick and fast, I
> came across a rather interesting article on Cricinfo by Saad
> Shafaqat. He says that swing and not it's origin is what is
> important. More in the article below.

Unfortunately it's more misinformation and when it comes to reverse
swing the author doesn't know what he's talking about.

Phil.

 
 
 

Reverse swing or super swing?

Post by asifnza.. » Sat, 02 Sep 2006 23:36:01

Please enlighten us then how the Pak bowlers achieve super/reverse
swing and how it is different from techniques used by Eng bowlers?
Quote:


> > In this current environment of hostility towards reverse swing
> > and ball-tampering allegations flying around thick and fast, I
> > came across a rather interesting article on Cricinfo by Saad
> > Shafaqat. He says that swing and not it's origin is what is
> > important. More in the article below.

> Unfortunately it's more misinformation and when it comes to reverse
> swing the author doesn't know what he's talking about.

> Phil.


 
 
 

Reverse swing or super swing?

Post by Phil » Sun, 03 Sep 2006 01:44:14

Quote:

> Please enlighten us then how the Pak bowlers achieve super/reverse
> swing and how it is different from techniques used by Eng bowlers?



> > > In this current environment of hostility towards reverse swing
> > > and ball-tampering allegations flying around thick and fast, I
> > > came across a rather interesting article on Cricinfo by Saad
> > > Shafaqat. He says that swing and not it's origin is what is
> > > important. More in the article below.

> > Unfortunately it's more misinformation and when it comes to reverse
> > swing the author doesn't know what he's talking about.

Bowling fast with a ball that is rough on both sides with the seam
angled 15-20o to the direction of travel with a good upright seam
position.

Phil.