How to Reverse Swing a Cricket Ball

Normal swing occurs mostly when the ball is fairly new. As it wears more, the aerodynamics of the asymmetry change and it is more difficult to extract a large amount of swing. When the ball becomes very old—around 40 or more overs old—it begins to swing towards the shine. This is known as reverse swing—meaning a natural out swinger will become an in-swinger and vice versa. The result is always a swing to the side with the later separation, so the swing is away from the seam.


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    Take a 20-30 over-old ball that is still shiny. Such a ball is usually better through the air on the side of shine because of natural sedatives put on it to shine, whereas the other side has gone through wear and tear without any repairs. This weight difference is what bowlers take advantage of.
    • Shine the ball a lot and make the other side (the rough side) as rough as possible. To test if the ball is ready for a reverse swing, just throw the ball with straight seam to a fielder and if the ball swings towards the shining surface, then it's ready to dance the batsman out.
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    Hold the ball along the seam, with the shiny side towards leg side and the rough side towards the slips.
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    Flex your wrist along with the cricket ball such that the shining side is about 30 degrees downwards.
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    Bowl with your hands angled. The angle between your head and bowling hand at shoulder should be about 50-60 degrees. Bowl with your hand, holding it as much away from your head as possible.
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    Make sure that in the follow-through, your bowling hand goes between your body and the stumps (on either side of your body.)


  • Practise reversing an old, prepared ball in the nets. It's not going to happen by magic in the middle if you haven't practised it thoroughly. But perhaps there was some magic involved when Wasim Akram had the red cherry in his hands!
  • You must pitch the ball up; reverse swinging yorkers can be devastating, as Waqar Younis proved at his peak. Few bowlers can reverse a ball away from the bat, hence the success of Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff against the Australians.
  • When you bowl, hold it with the seam upright and when you are about to let go of the ball give it a little flick as hard as you can so it kind of spins.
  • After 30-40 overs the ball is old and to reverse a ball one side of the ball should be shined.
  • Since reverse swing favours the older ball, it will usually start to move around the 40-over mark. However, England's bowlers have been able to make the ball reverse after just 15 to 20 overs. Brett Lee found his reverse swing in Adelaide on the 30-over mark.
  • Understand the off spin effect. An off-spin, or off break, delivery turns from the offside to the leg side when bowled at a right-handed batter, or from left to right as you look down the pitch. That means, it moves into a right-handed batsman and away from a left handed batsman.
  • Never try to force reverse swing. If you are a natural in-swinger don't change your grip and try to bowl out swing. It usually will go wrong, you'll lose your concentration, go for more runs and be taken off by the captain.
  • Your body must favour your bowling style, fast bowler or slow bowler, because you can be a fast bowler without being able to bowl a speed ball. You can change your bowling style, which can be a good effect in your bowling.


  • Wrist position and follow-through are important.
  • Using a blade, metal or even fingernails to quicken the process of creating a rougher surface is always and in every circumstance illegal and not in the spirit of the game. If you get caught 'ball tampering' by the umpires, you'll get banned from the game.

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Categories: Cricket