How to swing a cricket ball when you can’t use saliva?

Adaptability will be the critical factor post-COVID-19 for swing bowlers, says Charl Langeveldt to Adam Drury at Betway, the South African cricket team’s bowling coach.

When asked about how the new ICC rule of players not allowed to shine the ball with their saliva, the former South African cricketer says players will have to be more cautious in maintaining the new ball to make it’s shining last long.

The new rule is already in action in the England team’s intra-squad practice games, where the players were seen frantically retraining themselves not to place saliva on the ball.

The English bowlers, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, have admitted that getting out of the habit has been more stringent than what they have imagined. With England kick-starting the gentleman’s game after a 3-months pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be an interesting watch to see how bowlers will cope up with the new change in the game setup.

Langeveldt, who has a keen eye toward the swing bowlers worldwide, credited England’s James Anderson as a prime example. He stated that he often used the English bowler’s exquisite swinging technique to teach his young South African bowlers, whom he is working along now.

Langeveldt called India’s Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, one of the best swing bowlers he has ever seen, along with Anderson. The Indian medium pacer’s ability to swing the ball in both directions in unfavourable sub-continent conditions is why Kumar was successful whenever he visited South Africa, Langeveldt pointed out.

Another bowler, according to Langeveldt, who is brilliant in unfavourable conditions, is Dale Steyn. 

“Steyn was always close to the stumps,” explained Langeveldt, “so you had to play at most of his deliveries.

“It wasn’t always big swing, but he forced the batsmen to play a lot more than someone like Jimmy.

“He adjusted to conditions, so if the ball was swinging too much, he would come a bit wider and change the angle that he was bowling from. He was brilliant in that way.”

On England Conditions and Duke Balls

“Luckily enough, the ball moves around in England anyway,” said Chris Woakes, the English bowler, who is part of the 13 men squad for the first Test against West Indies in Southampton on Wednesday (July 8).

Chris added, “The Dukes always gives you a little bit of something, so hopefully that can continue. We will find ways to shine the ball, whether that’s being a little bit more aggressive on the shining side of things.

“It’s going to be interesting over the next few weeks, trying to figure out the best way to get the ball moving.”

“Why players use Saliva to swing the ball?”

how cricket ball swings

The above data was taken from Betway Cricket.

According to Langeveldt, who played for Somerset, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Kent during four spells in the County Championship, England’s overhead condition played a significant role during his times in the country.

Langalveldt, when asked about bowling in the English conditions: “I found it a lot harder when the sun was out,” he said, “especially down south at venues such as the Ageas Bowl,” – this is where England play West Indies in the first Test.

“For some reason, it was hard to swing the ball there when overhead conditions weren’t favouring the bowler. Overhead conditions do help the ball to swing a lot more in England.”

To sum up,

With restrictions on saliva not likely to go away anytime soon, it is the bowling group’s adaptability, and the team’s efforts to maintain the new ball are going to be the decisive factors in cricket’s new normal to use swing effectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *