Classic bowling dismissals: In swing | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Classic bowling dismissals: In swing

This article is part of the 'Classic bowling dismissals' series. To go to the start, click here.

Often thought of as the easier type of swing bowling, the inswinger can be a devastating weapon when used effectively.

When bowling to a right-handed batsmen, here are the classic ways to get a wicket:

Bowled 'through the gate'

The ball that starts it's line outside off stump and ducks back in between the bat and pad is dramatic and effective.

You are trying to deceive the batsman into playing down the wrong line only for the ball to come back in. This overhead view demonstrates the difference:

The red line is going straight on and can be left. The yellow line starts on the same trajectory and ducks back in forcing the batsman to play the ball.

The other key is bowling a length that makes the batsman want to play forward. Ideally on the drive when they are more likely to play with loose technique. The other reason you need to bowl full is to make sure the ball will hit the stumps if the batsman misses it.

The exact length will vary depending on the pace of the wicket, your speed and the reach of the batsman but as long as you are on target with the stumps you have a chance.

To illustrate that point, here is a beehive graphic using PitchVision to demonstrate:

As you can see, the red dots show balls that are hitting the stumps, making the batsman play (and hopefully miss, or get trapped LBW). The purple dots are wasted inswing balls. The good batsman will be able to leave them and any he plays and misses at will not hit the stumps.


The yorker is a variation of the "bowled through the gate" dismissal. The aim again is to hit the stumps or get an LBW. The line is the same as before but the length is very full, pitching around the toes of the batsman. It's almost unplayable at high speeds:

It's also useful for medium pace bowlers, especially at the death of a limited overs match.

Aim for the batsman's popping crease but practice it hard before trying it because if you get it slightly wrong it becomes a simple half volley or full toss.


Three very useful catching positions for inswing bowling are short midwicket, short leg and backward short leg/leg gulley. When the ball swings in it is natural to go more on the off side, especially against limited club or school batsmen who favour that area.

On quicker pitches the short legs can be in place to catch balls that are defended or pushed at from a shorter length. Short square leg can also be in for the ball that is defended on the front foot and goes from bat to pad then in the air.

Short midwicket is more common on slower pitches or more medium paced swing bowlers. These players are in place for the thick edged drive that doesn't quite get through.

3 Card trick

The inswinger can also be used as a surprise delivery rather than a stock ball. To do this you need to set the batsman up.

This can be done over a number of balls or overs but most commonly is done with three balls:

  • Ball 1: Good length, outside off stump, not swinging.
  • Ball 2: Good length, wider outside off stump, not swinging.
  • Ball 3: Fuller length, just outside off stump, swinging back in to hit the stumps.

This fools the batsman into playing the wrong line and getting bowled or LBW. Perhaps even better is when the batsman leaves the ball altogether only to get bowled. Round here we call that 'village'.

Left handers

With left-handed batsmen the inswing bowler becomes an outswing bowler and can use their classic dismissals. The main difference is the angle, which will take the ball across the left handed batsman (if the bowler stays over the wicket). The ball that swings will be difficult to hit away.

Image credit: www.a-middletonphotograph

Bowling images supplied by PitchVision - Coach Edition. Available to purchase now for clubs, schools and cricket centres. 

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I'm captain of a small village club in Tewkesbury & last season we won 2 games out of 23. We all enjoy the game but would enjoy it a lot more if we won more games.

I bowl a pretty 'banana-esque' out swinger at a pretty mundane pace which starts on leg and misses off (greatly infuriating.)I can't seem to be able to bowl an inswinger which I think could be a pretty devestating change up - often batsmen leave a lot of my deliveries which is great for my economy rate but doesn't really benefit the team as the next change generally gets a bit of tap from a batsmen who now has his eye in.

I hold the ball with seam towards the slip region for the outswinger but if I try to point seam towards fine leg for the reverse, I seem to naturally drop it short on leg stump and curse as the ball disappears into the sun. Any ideas anyone?

Just found this website whilst having a coffee break at work (the coffee break has now lasted over an hour as I bone up on tactics and field placements! You have a new reader/user - thankyou!)

If you are having trouble with the inswinger, it may be handy to work on the cross seam delivery that goes straight on or the off cutter. I wouldn't recommend trying a new delivery out in the middle before you have worked on it at least a few sessions in the nets. I can recall trying a new slower ball in a game that was dispatched for a very big six Smiling

As far as your inswing problem, you may be just pushing the ball down leg side or getting you hand position in a wrong place. If you haven't worked on the delivery, instead of delivering from 11'o clock you may be delivering the ball between 9 or 10 o clock which could be forcing you to push the ball down leg.

If the inswinger isn't working, the easiest change up ball would be the cross seam ball the goes straight. Set the batsman up with some outswingers ang give him the straight one.

bowl your outswing then either a stright one or off cuter or off break but these will be easy to pick up if you start you outswinger on leg stump

Come to think of this a bit more, you may be bowling your inswinger with a hand position past 12 o clock, which is a definite sign that you are pushing the ball and slightly falling away. Your wrist also may not be behind the ball, which could make the ball come out of the side of your arm and down leg. You could have an angled run up where your momentum is taking you down fine leg and you are not compensating enough to change direction when you bowl the inswinger.

All this is basically guesswork until we have footage of you bowling.

When you say hand position what do you mean eaxactly?

Hand position basically means the position of your hand as you are about to realease the ball.

Lets use this photo as an example.

If you imagine there is a clock face straight above the bowlers right shoulder, a 12'0 clock position would mean his hand, when he releases the ball, is completely vertical. In the photo above, the bowler has his hand release position at about 11 'o clock or slightly infront which is ok. The lower you go down the clock, say 10 or even 9, you will be bowling more roundarm, similar to the problem Mitchell Johnson had in the Ashes series. Lasith Malinga has a very low release position, he releases in the 10' o clock range. and maybe even lower.,0.jpg

Now the rule is, you can be anytime before 12 o clock, but not one minute past 12 o clock. So if you release the ball at 1 o clock you will be basically compensating in your action and pushing the ball down leg, as you will be falling away to the off side.

There is an article below on hand release position.

Oh yeah - that looks like it could be something I need to think about rather thanjust running up and bowling. Thankyou

Great advice by Alek, although just to play devil's advocate, there is some merit in just running up and bowling. The more you think about it the less you are able to do it. It takes a lot of time in the nets to make changes to the action that are ingrained.

Interesting observation Dave, however it depends on what we are thinking about. You wrote a good article on this topic recently, in particular, what you should be thinking and at what stage on the way back to the bowling mark.

So if we take this template, when your each stage 3 (the planning stage of your mark) and you have decided to bowl the inswinger, you decide on your wrist position, the line and length you are going to bowl the ball and that hopefully will kick start the muscle memory you have generated in the nets.

When you reach the top of your bowling mark, you run up and bowl and the only thing you are doing is focusing on where you put the ball. This part needs to be simplified and you keep it simple by planning beforehand.

However if you keep pushing the ball down leg you may make a slight mental note that the hand position may be the problem and think about the 11-12 o clock range. To be fair, there is little remedial work you can do out in the game in the heat of battle, so if it is not working you may have to consider not bowling the inswinger in that innings.

You are right, as you say, there is a difference between deciding tactics and trying to make technical adjustments in a game. The latter is best avoided, although it's natural to do so.

such a nice informative article

Any tips on bowling in swing or out swing

I can bowl massive inswinging deliveries at a fast pace. My inswingers start outside off and end outside leg. Your action is the most effective thing in order to bowl it. A mixed front on action will allow you to bowl an inswinger automatically, because it influences your wrist position and allows it to be pointed to fine leg. Your arm has to be pointed towards first slip, yes it might silly but it works it really does. By pointing your arm towards first slip and your wrist pointed at fine leg, the ball swings in really late. Watch this guy's arm and wrist. Oh and also you dont have to point the seam just keep it straight.