A perfect out swinger is one of the most beautiful deliveries to watch in cricket and there’s not too many batsmen in the world that enjoy facing them.
The ability to swing the ball away at pace is a highly sought after skill from coaches, captains & selectors.
There are different ‘types’ of swing - new ball swing, old ball swing and reverse swing.
They all require a few little tweaks in terms of what makes the ball swing and how to swing the ball.
Here’s a few tips to help you bowl the perfect outie with a new ball.
Angle the seam to 1st or 2nd slip. Your middle and forefinger will be going slightly across the seam.
Have your thumb resting on the left side of the seam (for right hand bowler - switch it for left).
The science behind this is the seam acts as a ‘rudder’ and by angling it to the slips it allows the air to catch in the right groove of the seam and ‘steer’ it away from the batsman.
2. RUN UP
Take two steps to your left (right if you’re a lefty) at the top of your mark and angle your run up in towards the batsman.
It allows you to keep your ‘shape’. You can keep your action the same, start the ball on leg stump and swing it away which makes the batsman play more often.
If you run in too straight you’ll find that you swing it when you start the ball on or outside off stump which makes it easy for the batsman to leave but as soon as you try to start it on or outside leg to compensate for the swing it goes straight. That’s because you actually have to change your wrist position (and we’ll get to that in a moment) to get the ball on leg stump line.
The second reason is that the angle in towards the batsmen actually creates an illusion that the ball is straighter than it is and makes the batsman think they have to play even if they don’t. So you’ll get them playing at (and knicking) balls just outside the off stump.
3. RELEASE POINT
Release the ball from slightly wider (arm further away from your ear).
There’s a fine line here because if you release the ball too wide and become round arm you actually won’t be able to keep the seam upright because you’ll cut down on the ball which means you won’t swing the ball at all.
Mitchell Johnson was a classic example of this - he often tread the fine line.
When his release point got too low he didn’t swing it and didn’t get his usual pace and bounce because the seam was scattered.
When he got his release point just right he was lethal.
Releasing the ball from slightly wider helps with your wrist position, which I’ll speak about now.
4. WRIST POSITION
Angle your wrist towards 1st or 2nd slip.
This obviously supports your angled grip and helps the ball come out of the hand in the position it needs to be to catch the air and cause drag to the off side.
You can do simple little wrist drills - flicking the ball to a partner using only your wrist - to practice getting your wrist in the correct position.
Check out our Swing Bowling Masterclass if you don’t know what I mean there.
This one is pretty obvious.
You must keep the seam upright. If the seam is scattered the ball will not swing (and you’ll ruin the ball quickly).
Practice staying ‘long on the ball’ - keeping your fingers on the ball as long as possible and rolling them down the back of the ball rather than cutting down on it.
Imagine trying to get the ball to spin directly backwards.
6. LINE & LENGTH
Finally, your line and length is critical.
There is nothing worse that watching 5-6 beautiful outies sail through to the keepers gloves without posing a question to the batsman.
Batsman want to leave as many as they can when the ball is swinging. We want to make them play as many as we can! Bowl straighter.
What shot are you most likely to get a wicket with if the ball is swinging away?
Hopefully you said a drive. That means you need to bowl fuller. I don't mean bowl powder puff half volleys, we still want to hit the deck but make sure your length gives the batsman the opportunity to drive.
Yes you may go for a few more runs bowling fuller and straighter - but your job is to take wickets with the new ball.
I'd rather you take 3/25 off 8 overs bowling fuller and straighter than 0/6 off 8.
Over to you!
I hope that helps you to start carving out some magical outies.
If you’ve got any tips you’ve heard outside of the above that have really helped your outie I’d love to hear them.
I’m an outie nuffy!
Flick them through to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to learn a bit more about swing bowling and some drills you can use to improve, check out our Swing Bowling Masterclass
It's a video training series with tips and drills to improve your swing bowling.
Author: Nick Fitzpatrick
ACI Co Founder & Coach