Why Swing Bowling isn’t Rocket Science

After 53 wickets that also included six five-wicket at a cost of 19, Jimmy Anderson was back at one of his best cricket grounds. This was the ground where he attained a historical feat by being the first English number 11 to score 81 in a wicket partnership with John Root when England played India in 2014.

There have been many assertions allotted to Anderson’s amazing record that was made in Nottingham, but many of the propositions are pretty much theories that may require further studies in order to be proven or disproved.

One of the theories suggested by many is the existence of the Radcliffe Road Stand. It is insinuated by some that the structure that was constructed in 1998 succeeded in reducing the air around the cricket venue. Some others are, however, of the notion that Anderson’s unusual bowling skill is greatly amplified by Trent Bridge’s lush green pitch that helps in hoisting the ball around corners and past confused batsmen.

One cannot fault those who have these opinions about the source of Anderson’s potent bowling ability, after all no other bowler in the history of England cricket had taken so many wickets in a ground that hosted its first cricket test in the year 1899.

Science experts who understand the dynamics of Anderson’s style of bowling have their own premise on the manner in which such a skill is executed. One of these experts, a NASA rocket scientist and a well known aerodynamics specialist, is Rabi Mehta. “There are some players that are capable of releasing the cricket ball with the seam placed accurately, absent any type of wobbly motion. This is the same skill used by Jimmy Anderson that makes his bowling very lethal,” Rabi Mehta says.

“This is why his out-swingers have become so effective over the past couple of years. Earlier in his carrier, he never really used to swing the balls, only bowling them as fast as he could. But with time, especially when he reached his mid-20s, he soon regularly began to swing his bowls.”

“It is really just the technique he uses to bowl,” Rabi emphasizes. “The ball exits his hand at an angle that is slightly arched, which makes the seam to rotate at a steady pace. If that skill is executed on a ball, especially if it is a mint ball, it will swing on the ground regardless of its condition and that of the weather.”

It is also difficult to fault Rabi’s educated claim, with Anderson proving to be an expert in the precise skill of manoeuvring a bowl. With 470 wickets achieved not through fast bowls, but by swinging the ball in a manner that disorientates even the most focused bowler, Anderson’s legacy a tricky bowling customer is clearly beginning to shape itself.

Another performance that sealed Jimmy Anderson’s fate as a guru of swing bowling was his exhibition of ingenuity that saw him take 10 for 158 in a cricket match against the Aussies in 2013. But it was perhaps his match winning wicket against Australian batsman Brad Haddin that left tongues wagging in disbelief.

Anderson’s bowling efficiency and consistency simply proves that weather and playing surface barely affects the movement of a ball, it is indeed the skill of the bowler that truly determines the success of a bowl; and with science also buttressing this notion, any argument to the contrary is simply a moot opinion.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment