Swing vs Reverse Swing: Difference and Comparison

Swing and reverse swing are two types of swing bowling that are used to serve a ball in a game of cricket.

Both these techniques are utilized depending on the air movement and the strength and agility of the swing bowler or swinger.

The wrist movement and the direction of air movement are what depend on the outcome of both swing and reverse swing bowling.

Key Takeaways

  1. Swing in cricket refers to the movement of a bowled ball through the air, deviating from a straight path due to aerodynamic factors.
  2. Reverse swing occurs when the ball swings in the opposite direction than expected, due to uneven wear on the ball’s surface.
  3. Reverse swing is more challenging for batsmen to predict and requires advanced skill from bowlers to execute effectively.

Swing vs Reverse Swing

Swing is the movement of the ball in the air as it travels toward the batsman. The differences in air pressure on either side of the ball make it move in the direction of the smoother side. Reverse swing is when the ball moves in the air towards the rough side of the ball.

Swing vs Reverse Swing

A swing, also known as a conventional swing, can be performed in two ways: outswing or inswing.

Either kind of swing makes sure that the batsman won’t be able to hit the ball just by standing in the seam, and they will have to move away to hit the ball.

New balls are used to carry out swing bowling, and this makes it comparatively easier to carry out.

Reverse swing is the opposite of conventional swing, where a bowler who is known for their inswing can change their tactics to become an expert at outswing,

and a bowler with great inswing techniques can master outswing without trouble.

This just means that the bowler is talented and can pull off either one without much trouble. Usually, older balls are used for reverse swings.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSwingReverse Swing
Hand Used More CommonlyRight  Could either be left or right hand
Frictional ForceMoreLess
Types Of PressureOneTwo
Wrist MomentsLess complexQuite complex
PlayersWasim AkramAjit Agarkar

What is Swing?

What makes swings the perfect decoy so that the batsman will lose his/her wicket is that the balls leave their intended trajectory the way the bowler wants if the air motion is correct.

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The two most common types of swing are inswing and outswing, and both can be performed by both right-handed and left-handed bowlers.

Despite both inswing and outswing being common, bowlers who can do both tend to prefer outswing over inswing.

This is because the outswing diverts the ball further away from the batsman, which would therefore require them to go after the ball to attain a run.

And if the ball goes even further, then the batsman would have to move instead of stretching out their bat hand.

This creates a small gap or space between the batsman and the wickets.

This space is all that a skilled bowler who can do both inswing and outswing needs to take a wicket.

The batsman can also, at times, misjudge his position if he is a new player and not used to facing exceptional bowlers.

At such times, the batsman can be inches away from the ball and can even hit the ball with just the edges of his/her bat, thereby allowing the ball to be unstable and fly in any given direction.

Such ricocheting balls might go directly into the hands of a wicket-keeper or maybe hit the wickets directly.

It is not common for conventional swingers to bowl with their left hand as it might hinder the direction of ball movement.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any left-handed swingers. A few of the famous left-handed swingers include Wasim Akram, Alan Davidson, etc.

What is Reverse Swing?

Reverse swing is a technique that requires a good amount of skill and talent in the field, along with the right sense of direction.

For the reverse swing method to work flawlessly, the bowler must use an old ball that has been in use for more than 30 years.

The use of old and worn-out balls ensures a special kind of aerodynamic support for the swinger so that he/she can easily gain the momentum provided by air.

A new ball might not give the same output as an old ball because the aerodynamic pressure would change with the frictional nature of the ball.

A used ball has two sides: a worn-out side, which is also called the shined part, and another side that might not be as worn out.

There is a huge pressure variation due to the frictional force difference that might arise between the air and the shined as well as the less worn out part.

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The ball tends to move towards the higher pressure side, which is the shining part, and this is what makes all the difference.

The batsman would never know towards which side the ball would turn and therefore would be confused as to where to swing the bat.

By “reverse swing,” it means that the wrist moments used for inswing become the wrist moments for outswing and vice versa.

A few of the most famous reverse swing players are Andrew Flintoff and Ajit Agarkar.

Main Differences Between Swing and Reverse Swing

  1. While the wrist moments in the conventional swing are simple and won’t require much thought before bowling, the reverse swing has more complex wrist moments and the swinger must always have a presence of mind.
  2. Only old balls are used for carrying out reverse swings properly, but on the other hand, it is the newer balls that are preferred to carry out regular swings.
  3. In the conventional swing, the ball is subjected to only one kind of air pressure that the ball gets from all sides equally, but in the reverse swing, the ball is subjected to two different kinds of pressure.
  4. The frictional pressure and force exerted on the ball by the player are greater in the conventional swing, whereas in the reverse swing the frictional force is less due to a much smoother surface.
  5. Famous players known for their conventional swing techniques are Alan Davidson and Chaminda Vaas, and players known for their reverse swing techniques are Waqar Younis and Simon Jones.
Difference Between Swing and Reverse Swing
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/303787a0
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1243/0954406011520508

Last Updated : 18 July, 2023

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