Reverse swing

A buzzword during the 2005 Ashes series in England, reverse swing was developed in Pakistan during the 1970s by the international bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, although it was only seriously popularised by Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis (who learnt from the great Imran Khan) in the 1980s and 1990s. The irony wasn’t lost on Waqar Younis, who was accused by the English press of ball tampering due to reverse swing, when England defeated Australia in large part due to the skill (Waqar had even instructed Simon Jones in the art).

There is much confusion amongst beginners to the game on what reverse swing is, but it is quite simple. Whereas conventional swing moves towards the rough side (think about the outswinger), reverse swing moves towards the polished side and into the right-handed batsman (although the seam angle is the same). Furthermore, in contrast to conventional swing, which can be seen as early as the first over, reverse swing typically kicks in around the 30 or 40 over mark. The type of swing is also markedly different, the movement coming later than in conventional swing and being quite dramatic.

Devastating when combined with decent line and length, reverse swing is also extremely erratic and even more dependent on the appropriate weather conditions. However, it can be the difference when facing a top batting line-up and has become a major part of a swing bowler’s arsenal.