Ask the readers: Help Saif to bowl inswing | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Ask the readers: Help Saif to bowl inswing

inswing.jpgIn a new series I will be asking you for help for another reader of harrowdrive. Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

Today Saif needs assistance with his swing bowling and accuracy. He left a comment here asking for help:

"My pace did increase when I bowled yesterday but I was very much off target. I also changed my bowling style but still I don't get how to make the ball to come back in to the right handed batsman."

I'm no swing bowler and only know the basics so I thought I would ask you for help.

Are you a bowler or do you coach bowlers? Can you help? What advice can you give to get the ball swinging?

Leave a comment.

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hold the ball in front of you and grip it how you would the move the seam to leg slip and see

Thanks. Any other tips? What if that is not working?

The point of holding the seam towards the leg slip is absolutely correct but two more things are very important with this. The bowler should use the crease. After the run up, he should take the delivery stride away from the stumps i.e closer to the side crease and when delivering the ball, his bowling arm should be close to the head(at 12 o clock). This can only be done if the bowler`s head is straight, lookin at the batsman when delivering the ball. In case of swinging the ball out, it`s absolutely opposite. The seam should be facing towards the slips, delivery stride should be taken close to the stumps and the bowling arm should be away from the head(at 2 o clock). Another thing important when outswinging is that the the bowling hand should end up on the left thigh(in case of right hand bowlers). HOPE IT HELPS!! Eye-wink

Keep the seam upright. Rough side of the ball towards the leg-side. Get your wrist behind the ball. As you release the ball run your fingers down the seam.

Even if you do all this right don't forget that under certain conditions the ball just will not swing. Make sure your team mates keep working on the ball. They should not put too much moisture on it but should try and keep one side shiny.

Good luck!

First things first and make sure the ball is conducive to swing. Keep it clean, shiny on one side and dry. Doing this will maximise the chance of the ball swinging.

Try the accepted method of holding the ball, seam pointed towards the batsman (right handed) or slightly more towards a leg slip position. If this doesn't work then vary where you have the seam pointing. Wrist position plays a part in swinging the ball, so sometimes it takes little bit of trial and error to find the best combination.

Keep the grip light and make sure the thumb is resting on the seam.

As for the accuracy issue, well, this is a common one when people try to increase their pace. It can be caused by them trying to hard, falling away, wrong head position or some a few other things.

Have someone watch you doing bowling normally and then with the increased pace action, note the differences and you should see areas to improve.

Other than that, its a case of practice. Get something on the pitch to aim for, and then just bowl at it.

This is all great advice from some top bowlers!

Any more guys?

Bowling begins with the feet so its difficult to give accurate advice without seeing you bowl. That said, have someone chart the landing position of your back foot in relation to the back crease for six consecutive balls. If it lands facing the batsman you are a front on bowler and should be able to produce inswing naturally. If it lands sideways on to the batsman, it will be easier to swing the ball away (assuming your hips and shoulders are all in line with your feet. If your foot lands between the two positions you have a mixed action, and could be putting strain on your back, ask the advice of a coach at the club, especially if you are young and still growing.

In essence in-swing bowling depends on the grip, wrist position and follow through of the bowling arm. The seam needs to be vertically upright pointing towards fine leg. You need to have a ball with a shiny side and a dull side - you'll never swing an old tatty ball with no shine. For nets bowling try a little furniture polish on an old ball to shine one side. Alternatively you can wet one side of the ball to make it heavier (this is why you rub sweat into the ball). Reverse swing on a hot day is nothing more than making one side of the ball heavier through application of moisture - naturally the ball will eventually begin moving through the air toward the heavier side. If you are ever fortunate enough for the ball to end up in a puddle on a damp day - dry one side only if you want to get swing.

Assuming the ball is the same weight on both sides of the seam, it will move away from the shiny side, so the dull side of the ball is angled in to the batsman. Wrist needs to be square and your bowling hand on your follow through should end on the inside (right side of your body). If you consciously land with your back foot pointing toward the bowler and square up your delivery action (hips and shoulders both square to the batsman) this will all be easier to achieve. You will probably lose a yard of pace if you bowl square on when you normally bowl sideways on - two reasons for this - you run straight through the crease with little if any bound - sideways action needs a high bound to achieve the correct hip and shoulder rotation, and the front on action looses momentum from the lack of bound and follow through, secondly to swing the ball the wrist should stay fairly static, the wrist snap or "backspin" action tends to be reduced compared to seam bowling, which also results in a significant loss of pace.

Even if you are predominantly a sideways on outswing bowler, you can get some shape in to the batsman by coming a lot wider on the crease and changing the angle, and also altering your finger pressure at the point of delivery. If 10 is gripping the ball as hard as you can and 1 is no pressure at all, try to deliver the ball with pressure 7 on your left finger tip and pressure 6 on your right finger tip. Thumb pressure should always be a 6 or seven.

One final tip for all swing bowling - in and outswing - the lateness of the swing (how close or far away from the batsman the ball begins to move) can be greatly affected by the position of your thumb. It will vary from ball to ball and day to day, but it is always worth experimenting, shifting your thumb from the neutral seam position and trying deliveries with the thumb on either side of the seam - on some days you might need to move it as three quarters of an inch away from the seam. Hope this helps.

To swingthe ball in to the righthand batsman try a few of these tips.

1. your run up should be straight
2. grip the ball with the seam upright
3. while delivering the ball twist your wrist towards the rightside or the onside.take care not to spin the ball.

Try the following:
Have the seam vertical and angled towards fine leg with the shiny side of the ball on the off-side. Place your first two fingers either side of the seam at the top of the ball and rest the flat of your thumb on the bottom of the ball. (This should flatten your wrist so it's more inline with your forearm).
Bowl with your normal action.

I love the quality of some of your comments. You lot are great. Keep them coming...

Great comments above - one I would suggest to get a good wrist position is to also alter the thumb. Usually we are told to have the side of the thumb on the seam. This gives the wrist a natural tilt towards the slips aiding away swing. Try holding the ball with the thumb flat to the seam. This naturaly tilts the wrist towards fine leg. I tried this last week on a 15 year old who bowls big out swingers. We had instant results. What I would say is practice practice, as when chaging an action is does take time to get all thing working correctly. Good luck

How about a video tutorial?
How To Grip The Ball To Bowl Inswing

Hope it helps.

I'm only village bowler, but I would start by reading Ian Pont's Fast Bowlers Bible, there is everything you need in there to bowl quick, accurately and swing/seam the ball effectively.

There is also some usefull stuff on cutters, just inase yu encounter a day when the conditions make it hard to swing the ball.

I read it before Christmas and have seen some almost instant results in the nets.

Best thing seems to be to run in straight, don't bother jumping sideways of altering your action, that just confuses matters. Holding the ball with the seam pointing to leg slip, just let your action flow straight towards the batsman and it should work.

You can experiment, as different wrist positions can be just as efective, but it depends what works best for you.

Hope this helps


Daley, I agree about Ian Pont's book. It is excellent and easy to understand.

I second the recommendation on Ian Pont's book - its very good as is his ABSAT course.

With respect to in swing bowling, I think it's all to do with the seam and wrist position and the follow through of the arm should follow that naturally. There shouldn't be a fundamental change in the action - a good batsman would be able to spot that no matter if you swung the ball 2 metres!

How did you find the ABSAT course Arif?

Very worthwhile David. Ian knows his stuff but conveys it in an easily absorbed manner. He actually made us, the coaches, put into practice the various techniques he talks about in the book and its surprising how much better it is feeling it in real life.
I'm not a pace bowler so at the start when he asked us to bowl, I was bowling half-track pies but at the end of the session, applying the coaching principles towards the end, I found that I was bowling quite decent! Don't get me wrong, the ABSAT course isn't for improving yourself but learning how to improve others!
But by gee, is Ian a big unit! And I don't mean big as in fat - his handshake left me with no feeling in my hand for a wee while!
I wouldn't fancy facing him today as I'm sure he can still bang it in quite sharp!

Four points on swing bowling....

1. keep a bottle top in your pocket..wear hair gel..only kidding.

2.Get the right seam position on the ball at release.Wrist behiind the ball with a little backspin to stabilise the seam.Practice with a two cloured ball or an aggot ball to get that seam is critical to all types of swing bowling.

Watch the super slow mo on TV to c the right seam position.Brett lee gets great shape.

2. polish one side of the ball.get your mid on to be the team's man to 'work' on the ball.

3. pitch the ball up..give it a chance to swing.

4.bowl from the right end..use the breeze to assist your swing.

5.Adjust or optimise your grip and position at the crease on the day depending on conditions.

Excellent stuff, so you would recommend it to what sort of coach? Club level? Rep Level?

any level of coach would gain benefit from attending an ABSAT course for sure! I believe Ian has some new dates for courses across England in the run-up to the summer season, March to May - so have a look at for anyone who is interested

For giving advice for bowling inswing you need to see what type of action a bowler has. Mainly a bowler has a natural swing depending on their action but if you have total control of you body while you bowl a bowl then you can use your wrist to guide the ball to go either way.As a bowler you 1st stablish a strong action then you can do most things with the ball at your will.good luck

Make suer your arm is coming right over your ear for inswing.

Cheers Arif.

What i know about insiwng:-
there are a couple of things you could do to bowl inswing the basic one
make sure one side of the ball is shiny and have the shin side on the off side as the ball usually swings with the shiny side. Grip the ball with the seam leaving a little gap between your fingers and try to lay your thumb flat on the seam as this will help your wrist positioning, then whilst u have gripped the ball turn the seam just a little bit towards the batsmen legs and release the ball by skimming past your ear this should help you bowl inswing.
If that does not work then you could try all of that but when you grip the ball try pressurising the ball a little bit more on the middle finger and do everything the same see if that works.

The main thing is you got to have contorl of your run up and body and make sure the wrist right behind the seam the more you hit the seam the more results you will get. this is for any type of bowling conventional swing or reverse swing.
(this is what i have experienced).

There seems to be some agreement and some disagreement. I hope Saif is taking this all in...

breadth right eat well die anyway....joking
3.and practice
this increases boling pace

I want some tips for medium pace bowling.i want to learn about swing.

Pratul, where do you play?

Hi, I've read all these comments and (even on tv) people keep talking about this mysterious "wrist position" but no one explains it any further. What does "wrist position" mean and what should the position of the wrist be for inswing and outswing bowling? If anyone can explain the concept of wrist position in detail and help me with this question I would greatly appreciate it.

And thanks for all the valuable tips! Great stuff..

What does the wrist position mean exactly

Hi David , I am Vibhor and i m 17 years and 6 months old. I started playing for a club from the age of 15 and before that only played tennis and tape ball cricket. But i have decided that i want to fulfill my aspiration of becoming a professional cricketer. So, I need your help in this as i m struggling at moment that if it is too late, also i don't exactly know what sort of things to do to(like exercises and works outs) get to the next level. I m very very determined and dedicated towards my decision and crickt David and i really want you to kindly help me through this..
My e-mail is :

Have you looked at the Complete Guides Vibhor? They should answer most of your questions. If not please let me know and I'll do my best to help with a specific query.