July 22, 2013

The ball's swinging again

Seam bowlers have once again begun to pitch it up to the batsman and rely on swing. How will batsmen respond to the challenge?
65

Manoj Prabhakar may eventually be remembered in Indian cricket for the wrong reasons but there is no denying he was a very gifted swing bowler when he was first coming up the ranks in domestic cricket. At the time, by my estimation, he bowled at a maximum speed of 130kph, but he had the Bob Massie kind of big inswingers and outswingers, the kind we call "banana swing". Stories of how batsmen would leave balls from him wide outside off, only to find to them snaking back in to knock the stump out, did the rounds.

Prabhakar eventually got picked to play for India, and one of his early tournaments was the 1989-90 Champions Trophy, in that land of horrors for bowlers, Sharjah.

I wondered how the great Sir Viv Richards would play our new swing bowler. There was Prabhakar running in to bowl to Viv on a hot afternoon. The first ball was an outswinger; Viv hit it over covers for four. The next was a big inswinger; Viv hit it over midwicket for another four. Prabhakar's effect on the other West Indian batsmen was not too different. That day he experienced what a lot of other first-class cricketers do when they play at the highest level: a rude reality check about the big gap between domestic and international cricket.

But Prabhakar was not one to give up. He realised that to survive at this level it was not big swing that mattered but late swing. So he worked on cutting down on his prodigious early swing and focused instead on bowling it straighter and getting it to move late in the air and off the pitch, closer to the batsman. That is how he survived as an international bowler.

What Prabhakar did with minimal swing, Glenn McGrath mastered, albeit with more seam movement than swing. McGrath's stock wicket-taking ball was the one that deviated just a couple of inches off the pitch as it came close to the batsman. McGrath's ascendancy marked the decline of big swing.

This was an era of some wonderful bowlers who preferred hitting the deck, the likes of Craig McDermott, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Javagal Srinath, and later Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Makhaya Ntini. Success bore imitation, and with McGrath's success especially, a whole new generation of seam bowlers started bowling in the corridor, not looking for big swing in the air but for just a little movement off the pitch.

Pakistan remained, as always, a brilliant exception, sticking to their style of bowling it full and swinging it, as the world changed around them. For the rest, "hitting the right areas" became the mantra.

However, soon, much to the dismay of seam bowlers, pitches began to get flatter and bowling in these right areas slowly became less effective as a tactic. Most bowlers found that the ball did nothing much after it pitching.

Comfortable in the thought that the ball held no surprises, batsmen began to hit through the line. One-day and T20 cricket began to have their effect on batting as well. Think Sehwag and Gayle. The classical batsmen could be restrained by the shorter length in the corridor, but not these guys.

After the likes of Ambrose, Walsh, McGrath and Pollock followed Dale Steyn, James Anderson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Vernon Philander, who found that swing and seam bowled at full length brought benefits

In this time batsmen also realised that footwork as a part of technique was overrated, because they were able to plunder runs without moving their feet too much. In fact, by not moving their feet much they were able to gain room to get runs square of the wicket off balls that were close to off stump.

As a result bowlers became defensive, and "being patient and sticking to discipline" became their new cliché. Defensive fields began to be employed from the first ball of a Test match for such batsmen; bowlers chose to wait for them to make a mistake. But for how long could they just run in and get smacked around on those flat pitches?

They soon found a way of troubling these heavy-footed batsmen by bowling a lot fuller, trying to get that ball to swing so that batsmen who loved hitting through the line could be found out. The bowling style started to change once again. From the likes of Ambrose, Walsh, McGrath and Pollock followed Dale Steyn, James Anderson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Vernon Philander, who found that swing and seam bowled at full length brought benefits.

In England currently, we see bowlers like Peter Siddle, Stuart Broad and James Pattinson take the effort to bowl it full, looking to get the ball to swing rather than to "hit the deck" or bowl "in the channel".

And then there is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has rewound bowling to the early '90s. He is swinging it big, like Prabhakar did in his youth, to get some good top-order wickets.

Batsmen whose game was to stand and deliver have become easy prey for such bowlers.

Watching this Ashes, I have been amazed at how much fuller bowlers have been bowling, trying to get batsmen to drive off the front foot. This mode of dismissal was not so sought after a few years ago. About 30% of the balls bowled by the seamers from both sides in this series have been in the full, driving-length area. It was no different in the Test matches in India in 2012-13, or on India's recent tours to England and Australia.

Life is cyclical in nature and cricket is no exception. I think it is just a matter of time before batsmen make their own adjustments to this trend in bowling. It is impossible to survive a constant attack of full, swinging balls without proper foot movement. Footwork has to become relevant again. Time for the classical batsman to return to Test cricket.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on July 23, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Excellent & timely article on the lost art of swing bowling, Sanjay. In 50's & 60's there were great seam /Swing bowlers like Alec Bedser & Fazal Mahmood who were medium pacers but moved the ball in the air & off the seam. Leg cutters ruled! Even before these 2, Lindwall & Miller at their great pace moved the ball beautifully with lot of head aches for the batsmen. In the 60's, Gary Sobers did a great job in swing bowling with the new ball. But sheer speed has been the best friend of the pace bowlers like Trueman, Tyson, Statham of England, Hall, Gilchrist , Grifith, Marshall, Holder & Ambrose of WI & Aussies Lillee & McGrath. Unfortunately India lacked good pace bowlers from 50's onwards. Only Ramakant Desai with a lethal bumper was a credibale threat. Kapil & Jagdev were other fine, accurate & intelligent pace bowlers. Yadev & I.Sharma have pace but are wasting it in short pitched balls. Besides B.Kumar, Sandeep Sharma is an excellent swing bowler who deserves recognition soon.

  • Unmesh_cric on July 22, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Wow! What a well-thought analysis! I only play club cricket, but I have noticed that the bowlers who bowl fuller generally end up with more wickets. Their economy rate might suffer a bit (since invariably there would be a few half-volleys), but bowling fuller gives you a better chance of getting the batsman lbw or bowled. All you need is slight movement in the air which is not that tough to get with the new ball. Also, if you bowl around the "fourth stump", the slips and wicket-keeper also come into play. Basically with bowling fulller, all 3 basic types of dismissals (bowled, lbw and caught) come into play. But bowling "short-of-good-lenght" generally means there is less chance of getting a lbw or a bowled dismissal.

  • Nathan_R_Patrick on July 22, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    Well said Sanjay. And excellent observation and dots properly connected. It will be heartening to see classical batsmen emerge again. While watching the likes of Gayles and Pollards is fun, it is the dravids and jayawardenes who will keep the game going. and I must say that you should be proud to be one of them.

  • on July 22, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Excellent article Mr.Manjrekar.I have never been literally been a fan of your writing but this article and specially "Life is cyclical in nature and cricket is no exception" is what amazes me.There is no dearth of good Cricket Writers in this world,but those who could add more value to it ; is what comprises to be a good article.Kudos to you sir,for writing such a Top Notch Brilliant article.Fantastic!!!

  • Cyril_Knight on July 22, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    "Batsmen whose game was to stand and deliver have become easy prey for such bowlers." This is the most important sentence of the article. It is not so much the bowlers who have changed but the batters. The bowlers have simply adjusted, they are all capable of bowling back of a length still and do when the ball is not swinging or reversing. But batsmen now seem reluctant to leave the ball. We see flashing drives and even defensive prods where the bat is so far away from the body. Steve Smith and Phil Hughes are two of the best (worst) exponents, and the entire New Zealand line-up almost.

    Bowlers are simple folk they find the easiest way to get you out. As batsmen are rarely leave and seem determined to score quickly the ball only has to swing/seam a little way, which is easy to achieve by bowling slightly slower to control the wrist position. Watch Anderson, the most skilful bowler, he varies his pace, dropping to 81-83 mph when the ball is swinging but upping to 85-87 when it is not.

  • Naresh28 on July 24, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @nampally - You should be a cricket writer. Great reading your comments. Agree with you on Sandeep Sharma - after ODI WC this under 19 did well in India domestics but seems to be hidden from cricket tours like the current Zim trip. Have not seen this guy bowl but judging by his wicket taking abilities he could be in team in the future.

  • ravis.casual on July 24, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    This is one of best articles I have read anywhere on cricket, let alone cricinfo.

  • sjohn on July 23, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    I see the grouse that many have about this article is that there's no mention about the greats of swing bowling like Wasim, Waqar etc. I don't this article was meant to eulogize Prabhakar as much as it never meant to belittle any of the greats. It's just that Manjrekar knew Prabhakar first hand than any of the greats mentioned and he was aware of how Prabhakar evolved himself to keep with the demands of international cricket.

  • Speng on July 23, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Certainly in Caribbean we've seen that the pitches have progressively become roads especially Queen Park Oval, Kensington Oval and Antigua Rec Ground which were formerly bowler's pitches have become far easier to bat on and many of the "newer" test grounds on the smaller islands (e.g. Dominica) aren't pace friendly at all (in fact many are raging turners). In days gone by Courtly Ambrose (who no-one seems to mention) could use his great control to drop balls on a spot knowing that it would do something, Courtney Walsh used a lot of variety and cross seam to move balls off the pitch. But today on smooth pitches those tactics are less effective and few of our very fast bowlers are exhibiting swing. Ravi Rampaul swings it consistently but he's more of an exception. I was excited to see Tino Best bowl a batsman with a beautiful reverse-swing, inswinging yorker during the Champions Trophy. The world's quicks are simply absorbing the lessons of the great Pakistani bowlers of the 90s.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    This is an good insight article. Could have been more interesting if analysed on Wasim and Waqar who bowled full length swinging and hit the right areas in the period of walsh, ambrose srinath who pitched the deck.... but both type being successful in the same era.

  • Nampally on July 23, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Excellent & timely article on the lost art of swing bowling, Sanjay. In 50's & 60's there were great seam /Swing bowlers like Alec Bedser & Fazal Mahmood who were medium pacers but moved the ball in the air & off the seam. Leg cutters ruled! Even before these 2, Lindwall & Miller at their great pace moved the ball beautifully with lot of head aches for the batsmen. In the 60's, Gary Sobers did a great job in swing bowling with the new ball. But sheer speed has been the best friend of the pace bowlers like Trueman, Tyson, Statham of England, Hall, Gilchrist , Grifith, Marshall, Holder & Ambrose of WI & Aussies Lillee & McGrath. Unfortunately India lacked good pace bowlers from 50's onwards. Only Ramakant Desai with a lethal bumper was a credibale threat. Kapil & Jagdev were other fine, accurate & intelligent pace bowlers. Yadev & I.Sharma have pace but are wasting it in short pitched balls. Besides B.Kumar, Sandeep Sharma is an excellent swing bowler who deserves recognition soon.

  • Unmesh_cric on July 22, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Wow! What a well-thought analysis! I only play club cricket, but I have noticed that the bowlers who bowl fuller generally end up with more wickets. Their economy rate might suffer a bit (since invariably there would be a few half-volleys), but bowling fuller gives you a better chance of getting the batsman lbw or bowled. All you need is slight movement in the air which is not that tough to get with the new ball. Also, if you bowl around the "fourth stump", the slips and wicket-keeper also come into play. Basically with bowling fulller, all 3 basic types of dismissals (bowled, lbw and caught) come into play. But bowling "short-of-good-lenght" generally means there is less chance of getting a lbw or a bowled dismissal.

  • Nathan_R_Patrick on July 22, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    Well said Sanjay. And excellent observation and dots properly connected. It will be heartening to see classical batsmen emerge again. While watching the likes of Gayles and Pollards is fun, it is the dravids and jayawardenes who will keep the game going. and I must say that you should be proud to be one of them.

  • on July 22, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Excellent article Mr.Manjrekar.I have never been literally been a fan of your writing but this article and specially "Life is cyclical in nature and cricket is no exception" is what amazes me.There is no dearth of good Cricket Writers in this world,but those who could add more value to it ; is what comprises to be a good article.Kudos to you sir,for writing such a Top Notch Brilliant article.Fantastic!!!

  • Cyril_Knight on July 22, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    "Batsmen whose game was to stand and deliver have become easy prey for such bowlers." This is the most important sentence of the article. It is not so much the bowlers who have changed but the batters. The bowlers have simply adjusted, they are all capable of bowling back of a length still and do when the ball is not swinging or reversing. But batsmen now seem reluctant to leave the ball. We see flashing drives and even defensive prods where the bat is so far away from the body. Steve Smith and Phil Hughes are two of the best (worst) exponents, and the entire New Zealand line-up almost.

    Bowlers are simple folk they find the easiest way to get you out. As batsmen are rarely leave and seem determined to score quickly the ball only has to swing/seam a little way, which is easy to achieve by bowling slightly slower to control the wrist position. Watch Anderson, the most skilful bowler, he varies his pace, dropping to 81-83 mph when the ball is swinging but upping to 85-87 when it is not.

  • Naresh28 on July 24, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @nampally - You should be a cricket writer. Great reading your comments. Agree with you on Sandeep Sharma - after ODI WC this under 19 did well in India domestics but seems to be hidden from cricket tours like the current Zim trip. Have not seen this guy bowl but judging by his wicket taking abilities he could be in team in the future.

  • ravis.casual on July 24, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    This is one of best articles I have read anywhere on cricket, let alone cricinfo.

  • sjohn on July 23, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    I see the grouse that many have about this article is that there's no mention about the greats of swing bowling like Wasim, Waqar etc. I don't this article was meant to eulogize Prabhakar as much as it never meant to belittle any of the greats. It's just that Manjrekar knew Prabhakar first hand than any of the greats mentioned and he was aware of how Prabhakar evolved himself to keep with the demands of international cricket.

  • Speng on July 23, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Certainly in Caribbean we've seen that the pitches have progressively become roads especially Queen Park Oval, Kensington Oval and Antigua Rec Ground which were formerly bowler's pitches have become far easier to bat on and many of the "newer" test grounds on the smaller islands (e.g. Dominica) aren't pace friendly at all (in fact many are raging turners). In days gone by Courtly Ambrose (who no-one seems to mention) could use his great control to drop balls on a spot knowing that it would do something, Courtney Walsh used a lot of variety and cross seam to move balls off the pitch. But today on smooth pitches those tactics are less effective and few of our very fast bowlers are exhibiting swing. Ravi Rampaul swings it consistently but he's more of an exception. I was excited to see Tino Best bowl a batsman with a beautiful reverse-swing, inswinging yorker during the Champions Trophy. The world's quicks are simply absorbing the lessons of the great Pakistani bowlers of the 90s.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    This is an good insight article. Could have been more interesting if analysed on Wasim and Waqar who bowled full length swinging and hit the right areas in the period of walsh, ambrose srinath who pitched the deck.... but both type being successful in the same era.

  • on July 23, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Well an nice article but it seems to be little in favour of indian Cricket ( though from an indain you can easily expect this ) but naming bowler like srinath with ambrose and mc grath is bit unfair and comparing them to an raw material bowler like bhuvashnar kumar who is like horses for courses bowler who can bowl only upfront with the help of seaming condition he cant bowl at death and there is lot more bowlers who bowl seam and swing today with likes of junaid khan,mitchell starc, jason holder , nuwan kulasekra and etc..

  • heartbreakerz on July 23, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    bhuvneshwar kumar has done well but indian fans n ex-players are overrating him...he bowls at 120 kph n has taken 6 wkts in 4 tests & 25 wkts in 17 odis (nothing too special)....indians should wait n see how he does instead of overhyping him...coz we have seen numerous indian bowlers who were overrated when they started out but are no where to be seen now eg. nehra, irfan, pravin, munaf, sreesanth, ishant, rp, dinda n even umesh(to an extent)

  • Naresh28 on July 23, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Nice article - we see very few batsman with the so called trigger movement these days. This article is good for us the fans because it gives us insight to the reason why stand and deliver batsman like Shewag/Gael get out and the plans the bowlers work on. i only hope that someone like Irfan Pathan can work out why he has lost his banana swing which was good when he first came out. Someone like Ishant should realize why he is not effective by reading this analysis.

  • captaincool79 on July 23, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Great read! If anything, it will be great to see an even contest between bat and ball coming to the fore and we can get back in times where a total of 240-250 will be a challenge to chase. Think we are slowly getting to the saturation point where good batting now needs to be matched by good bowling and there is a real shortage of world class swing bowlers. Having guys like Steyn, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Jimmy Anderson is just making the contest become a bit more balanced and I am pretty sure it is going to bring back the old magic of 50 over cricket. We cricket lovers love to watch the bowlers make the bastsman feel nervous when facing their bowling which is currently a bit more mundane, with the modern day batsmen just plonking their foot forward, using a heavy bat just hitting through the line. Swing bowling we hope revives itself and makes the batsmen think about their game.

  • on July 23, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Actually in my opinion, nobody mastered "bowling in the corridor" like McGrath. All others tried imitating him. From the top of my head, Muhammad Asif was an excellent example of someone trying to work on those lines but he too was a distant second. Everybody else trying to do the same put opening bowling on the defensive which gave way to modern opening batsmen being ultra aggressive.

    But overall the standard of cricket has dropped all over the world. The first Ashes test was a close finish not because the game was evenly contested with high standards, but because both teams were equally poor. A commentator in the third WI-PAK ODI mentioned that the standard of batting has dropped in international cricket, and after reading this article, you have to agree with him because the batsmen can only play what's bowled at them.

  • on July 22, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    funny... he think waqar and wasim were not hitting at right areas.. hahah.. and what about seam of asif, whata bouut aqib javed, what about imran khan... waht about shoaib akhtar.. what about shabbir ahmad

  • Zubair on July 22, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    A good article but a bit biased, I am not saying this because I am a Pakistani but still if you are talking about swing then how can you ignore names like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Sarfaraz Nawaz?? Sanjay has mentioned names like Prabhakar (Who was an average bowler) and B. Kumar (Who is an excellent prospect but still very young and raw) This way, Sanjay should also have mentioned names like Kulasekra, Junaid Khan or even James Anderson??

  • on July 22, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    funny... he think waqar and wasim were not hitting at right areas.. hahah.. and what about seam of asif, whata bouut aqib javed, what about imran khan... waht about shoaib akhtar.. what about shabbir ahmad

  • cricketeria on July 22, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    I'll just repeat what bears repeating. You can't discuss swing without Imran, Wasim, and Waqar. It's kind of like discussing Indian batting as follows: "Manjrekar was a great first-class batsman, so were Akash Chopra and S Ramesh. Of course, India produced many other great batsmen too." See?

  • enigma77543 on July 22, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Great analysis, great article!

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    Wonderful article Mr. Manjrekar. Big swing is back not doubt. Counter intuitively, the advent of T-20 cricket has elevated the standard of bowling and its now time for the batsmen to up the mantle. The only thing missing right now are genuine fast bowlers, the game needs the 95MPH+ bowlers, just adds to the X-factor!!

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    I was never a great fan of Manjrekar, the batsman. But I really like him as a commentator and a columnist. He was the first one to have the courage to call Sachin an elephant in the dressing room, he comes across as such a humble person and is never afraid to voice his opinions. Also, I like the way he tried to stick to actual pronunciation of some of the Hindi/Marathi names like Tare and Tendulkar. Most Indian commentators try to make these names sound English, but Sanjay remains humble and true. Also, I have not seen him unnecessarily courting players from one particular state/region/franchise unlike most others including one certain bhogle. He is a very rational and level headed commentator and definitely doesn't lack in technical knowledge. Akash and Sanjay are two really good blokes, without an air about themselves. Well done, you two!!

  • on July 22, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    Wow..You couldn't have put it better than this..!!!! Patience,footwork oriented technical batsmen(read dravid) are the need of the hour to make cricket more interesting...!!!!

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    Its a blasphemous act to not mention Wasim, Waqar & Asif in an article where "Swing" is the title...smh..

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Brilliant article; the quality of output from someone that really understands the game and can think about the big picture shows. Kudos Mr. Manjrekar!

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    I was critical of last article from Manjrekar. However this article is top notch. This differentiates real experts of the game from home based pundits.

    On another note, apart from the rise of swing bowling, the sporting wickets in England and West Indies have also helped to revive some interest back in ODIs.

  • Sarig on July 22, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    "The classical batsmen could be restrained by the shorter length in the corridor, but not these guys". We need more Dravid's, Manjerkars etc.

  • ManojKSharma on July 22, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    Wonderful article. You remind me "3rd ODI of 1989-90 series". Pakistan was 3 wicket down. This match Match abandoned due to crowd disruption. Prabhakar's Bowling figures were 5-2-5-3. Miandad has taken stance aound 1 meter away from the batting crease to counter his bowling. Imran called him "The Hunter".

  • on July 22, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Thank you Manjerekar for summing it up so well. I found the "bowling in the corridor" a very defensive and negative tactics and thought that this was the reason test cricket was getting boring. Defensive lines defensive fields to stifle the opposition and then complaints that the game is boring people.

    I think Aussies lost that edge when they started cajoling their faster men to "bowling in the right areas" as well. When you have pace and swing then you need to pitch up and make things happen rather than just wait for the batsmen to err. I find this ploy of Ponting and co. really damaging to Australia and for cricket.

    I like this aggressive approach that is employed these days. Maybe it is because I am Pakistani but I would rather watch Aussie England Ashes test than a Pakistan T20 match if it is being played with intent. And bowling in the corridor is not an intent!

  • on July 22, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Pakistan remained, as always, a brilliant exception, sticking to their style of bowling it full and swinging it, as the world changed around them. For the rest, "hitting the right areas" became the mantra.

  • Desihungama on July 22, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Great one Sir Manjrekar. Very well researched and insightful information into the subject. Your fan from across the border.

  • on July 22, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    The ball may be swinging again but we do not see the banana swing of Waqar Younis (particularly 1992 English summer). I suppose there were some exceptional skills involved apart from far less intrusive ICC regulations which made that possible. Unlikely that we would see something similar again unless some rules are changed for the benefit of bowlers

  • ANBapat on July 22, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Nice article. Sanjay , You forgot one of the most underrated Indian seamers : Roger Binny. Much before McGrath , he had mastered the use of a very limited seam movement to a great effect. If you recall he had taken max no. of wickets in World Cup 1983 as well as 1985 mini world cup played in Australia( inspite of playing in once match less due to illness) He was devastating against the left handers.. Just recall his clean bowled victims Greame Wood, Allan Border to name a few. Wonderful exponent of Onlky a few inches of seam....thro the gate of left handers !! Would like to have your views about Binny, Mr. Manjrekar. Sadly Roger never got his due.

  • tony_joe on July 22, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    No wonder..Manjrekar is relishing to revival of big-swing which will compel batmen to improve their foot-work to survive. This exactly was the technique of Manjrekar and the game was fast moving towards stand and deliver type which he was not , since obviously it did not look like classical , out of manual cricket.

  • Cricketcrazy_1 on July 22, 2013, 14:26 GMT

    Brilliant article Mr. Manjrekar. Brought back memories of my childhood of those banana balls by W and W.

  • on July 22, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Excellent Article I have ever read recently on Bowling. I was wondering what Bhuvi makes special to Grab the wickets of openers and I got answer in the article. This article can proved the difference like average viewer like me and analyser like sanjay.

  • big_al_81 on July 22, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    Hence the success of Ian Bell in the current Ashes series. He has applied himself against what is a good attack of bowlers who can swing the ball and he's averaging 80-odd. He's the most elegant batsman with the purest technique in the England side and he's grafted early on in order to cash in later, with 2 hundreds and one big fifty from 4 innings. The fella on here who wanted a mention of Pathan, Nehra and Praveen Kumar needs to observe that Manjrekar is focussing on world class bowlers, not bowlers who will succeed only in Indian conditions (which basically covers all Indian bowlers of the last 5 years apart from the excellent Zaheer!)

  • AR.Rahman2000 on July 22, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    Sanjay is a very good writer but you can see one thing that here has not mention the name of Waqar, WAsim,Sarfaraz and other Pakistani great bowlers, is not it too strange

  • Batmanindallas on July 22, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    Manjerekar and Chopra are the best writers around. Having played international games they know what they are talking about

  • KishorKumar25 on July 22, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Return of Classical Cricket :) Love it

  • DaisonGarvasis on July 22, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Thats awesome to read Sanjay!!! Its always amazing to see Dale Steyne make the right hander try to flick the full length delivery to Square leg only to see the ball swing and take the off stump for a cartwheeling! Once getting the the batsman out for LBW on such a ball (i think it was Pujara), he even said "he would have liked to see the off stump fly"!!!

  • KingOwl on July 22, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Every once in a while, we see an article on Cricinfo which is appealing to the true cricket fans. This is one such. Whether one agrees with everything in the article or not, it is nevertheless interesting to read.

  • on July 22, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    u just can't write an article on swing bowling and don't mention kapil dev,waquar,wasim,vaas,irfan pathan,nehra and praveen kumar...

  • on July 22, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Using Indian bowlers as examples of good quick bowling is always going to raise eyebrows as India has never really produced a truly great paceman. Mcgrath, Walsh and later Ntini (who I don't consider a "great" but very good nonetheless) are good examples of pure seam bowlers who relied almost entirely on hitting the deck. But all the rest including Pollock, Ambrose, Donald and Wasim were "hybrids", i.e. they used both seam and swing. Waqar was more swing but even he relied on seam from time to time. Flintoff was pure seamer but he didin't play all that long at the top of his game. Pure swingers ? Kallis maybe. Fleming definitely.

  • on July 22, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Life indeed has come full circle in cricket & for good. Classical batsman r here 2 say. Excllent article ! The last para, he mentioned-its time for batsmen 2 make adjustments for the swinging ball. i think d batsmen have already started adjusting. Recently after WI tour, rohit sharma in his latest interview said: 'opening role needs new adjustment. no longer can a batsman look 2 drive for a overpitched delivery'. what a coincidence in observations. Here a commentator gives a sort of prediction, & the batsman have already found a way. Due credit 2 rohit considering he's a non-regular opening batsman.

  • Naresh28 on July 22, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Indian pace bowling is poor when compared with other countries. We dont have the variety and backup's ready for the challenge of Test cricket. Besides Yadav we do not have much more. Bhuvi type bowlers will come up regularly for India. BCCI should do more to change this scenaro - there could be better talent from rural India. A pool of pace bowlers is required.

  • Migara on July 22, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    //And then there is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has rewound bowling to the early '90s. He is swinging it big, like Prabhakar did in his youth, to get some good top-order wickets.

    Buwaneshwar who? Vaas have been doing this for one and half decades from mid 90s on wards and Sanjay has just forgot him.

  • mhb1 on July 22, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    talking about swing bowling and just two lines for pakistan thats unfair

  • since7 on July 22, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I am just amazed as to how poorly people read article online and just jump to comments section with pre-meditated comments.Manjrekar here is talking about the transformation from the era of seam up hit the length bowlers to the full length classical swing bowlers. One can dispute his ideas with a number of valid points.Instead what we have here is rants about why their favourite bowlers are not mentioned in the article. Pakistani fans who felt ignored could read a sentence where he says how pakistani bowlers bucked the trend and succeeded.Just use your brains a little bit guys.

  • Solid_Snake on July 22, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @Ajay Saini:Now this day has come when i have to change my mind & think that a player like Sanjay dont know enough about the Opponent Pacers.Beg to differ but he knows all International bowlers as much as he do his own Indian bowlers.He had a Career & he faced all those International Pacers.Is it not enough to know about them.Dont tell me that he used to do a net practice during his entire Career..I am not a Cricketer & yet when i have to name a batsman,i go for someone who is not even from my country.If fans are like that then i guess Pro Players are not sleeping at all

  • Thegimp on July 22, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Using you feet is a thing of the past and will stay there Sanjay. In the past, if a batsman took a big stride down the pitch and got hit on the pad the umpire would not consider LBW. Batsmen only got given out if they were stuck on the crease or playing back. Under DRS and because of DRS umpires now give more front foot LBWs than ever..........ask Watson. I dare say Shane Watson would have scored 15 test hundreds had he been born 15 years earlier as he is a right handed Hayden and Hayden got wrapped on the pads with that big stride forward quite a bit.

  • Amytttthhhh on July 22, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    well.....was a good summary of the changing trends in cricket over the last 2 and a half decades but i am surprised how excited mr. manjrekar is about young bhuvaneshwor kumar..to bowl with the new ball and get some exaggerated swing is other but to survive u need to bowl well over the entire innings.here is where mention of yesteryear great bowlers like wasim and waqar needs a mention who could reverse swing the old ball appreciably.how can the writer forget bowlers like pravin kumar and irfan pathan or even ajit agarkar, who were perhaps similar kind of bowlers what bhuvi is when they first appeared on the scene and we all know their respective fates(irfan and agarkar being even quicker).the mention of more compact players in the test arena is pariseworthy but i dont remember any batsman(except sehwag and to some extent gayle)putting a strong foothold in the test circuit without having a solid enough technique..correct me if i am wrong....

  • welovepakistan on July 22, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    i invite any pakistan, australian, english writter to write a articale on pacebowling and swing.

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Good article by Sanjay but surprised to see nothing about Wasim and Waqar. Don't think Ntini is classical example for this type of swing. He is more of hit the pitch type of bowler.

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    What about Marshall, Muhamamd Asif, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younas, Aaqib Javed, Junaid Khan, Muahmmad Amir, etc Your 120 kph/hr are better than these. You are kidding me.

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    McDermott was a swing bowler I guess, and he's the one who got the Australian bowlers, especially Siddle to revert to bowling full and swinging it in his time as the bowling coach.

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    @silversam1: To be fair he mentioned that "Pakistan remained, as always, a brilliant exception, sticking to their style of bowling it full and swinging it..."

    Now people like Akash and Sanjay give examples of Indian bowlers probably because they know these bowlers better than other international ones...Not that they don't know about others, but it is easier to give examples about the ones you know better...

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    LOL at Manjekar about his examples.How on the earth Akram and Vass wasn't mentioned when Ntini and Flintoff got a mention here specially when talking about swing?

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    Good article by Sanjay Manjrekar

  • silversam1 on July 22, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    I always find it hilarious when Indian writers and cricketers write full accounts on pace, seam and swing bowling using their own bowlers as an example. No mention of Sarfaraz Nawaz who pioneered the late reverse swing that Imran, Wasim and Waqar later on perfected. Atleast there was a line in there that said Pakistan in general was a brilliant exception. I admit that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is exceptional for Indian standards of swing bowling there is no doubt about it, but there have been plenty of young blokes from around the globe swinging it around at good pace. Overall I enjoyed the read, good observation and a point well made in the era of T-20 cricket. But examples used here took the edge off the point. This is like someone writing about ideal ODI batting using Misbah and Asad Shafiq as an example and not mentioning Kohli and Sangakarra. I can't believe this article did not name the real greats of swing bowling.

  • ram_sachin on July 22, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Well said.. but surely the pitches in the sub continent should also help the fact that there are more pitches concentrating on swinging the bowl rather than 300+ flat tracks. Would love to see the then 250+ scores be today's 300+ in ODI's.

  • Arijit_in_TO on July 22, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara will be happy about the last line. There will be an inevitable dichotomy since lack of technique with improvisation from T20 may create bad habits amongst batsmen. I think Alastair Cook has a good opportunity to retire with a reputation amongst the giants of the game IF he remains healthy. Also looking for Kumar to play a bigger role in the Test side.

  • on July 22, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Or time for only those teams who have classical batsmen and swing bowlers to dominate test cricket i.e. England, SA.

    All others can hide under T20 and ODIs

  • Daveptee on July 22, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar is a poor historian....Manoj Prabhakar got picked to play for India way before he did,in fact making his debut in 1984-85 ,in the same series as Azhar , against Gower's English Team.....he in fact bowled well and got wickets in Rothmans cup in Sharjah in 1985 and was the best bowler on either side in the India-Pak series in 1989 where Manjrekar incidentally was the best batsman.....Also, we continued to witness his huge Inswingers even in the Hero up final in 1993

  • on July 22, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    I think Broad and Philander are more seam bowlers.

    Anderson, Hilfenhaus, Southee, Boult, Pattinson, Kulasekara, Starc, Harris, Steyn et al are all genuine swing bowlers.

    Very few modern batsmen look comfortable against swing. Sangakkarra, Warner, Pujara, Cook and Root appear to play the ball late enough to deal reasonably well. Even modern greats like Clarke and Pietersen are not that great against the moving ball, which is why they don't bat higher up the order.

  • on July 22, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    I think Broad and Philander are more seam bowlers.

    Anderson, Hilfenhaus, Southee, Boult, Pattinson, Kulasekara, Starc, Harris, Steyn et al are all genuine swing bowlers.

    Very few modern batsmen look comfortable against swing. Sangakkarra, Warner, Pujara, Cook and Root appear to play the ball late enough to deal reasonably well. Even modern greats like Clarke and Pietersen are not that great against the moving ball, which is why they don't bat higher up the order.

  • Daveptee on July 22, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar is a poor historian....Manoj Prabhakar got picked to play for India way before he did,in fact making his debut in 1984-85 ,in the same series as Azhar , against Gower's English Team.....he in fact bowled well and got wickets in Rothmans cup in Sharjah in 1985 and was the best bowler on either side in the India-Pak series in 1989 where Manjrekar incidentally was the best batsman.....Also, we continued to witness his huge Inswingers even in the Hero up final in 1993

  • on July 22, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Or time for only those teams who have classical batsmen and swing bowlers to dominate test cricket i.e. England, SA.

    All others can hide under T20 and ODIs

  • Arijit_in_TO on July 22, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara will be happy about the last line. There will be an inevitable dichotomy since lack of technique with improvisation from T20 may create bad habits amongst batsmen. I think Alastair Cook has a good opportunity to retire with a reputation amongst the giants of the game IF he remains healthy. Also looking for Kumar to play a bigger role in the Test side.

  • ram_sachin on July 22, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Well said.. but surely the pitches in the sub continent should also help the fact that there are more pitches concentrating on swinging the bowl rather than 300+ flat tracks. Would love to see the then 250+ scores be today's 300+ in ODI's.

  • silversam1 on July 22, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    I always find it hilarious when Indian writers and cricketers write full accounts on pace, seam and swing bowling using their own bowlers as an example. No mention of Sarfaraz Nawaz who pioneered the late reverse swing that Imran, Wasim and Waqar later on perfected. Atleast there was a line in there that said Pakistan in general was a brilliant exception. I admit that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is exceptional for Indian standards of swing bowling there is no doubt about it, but there have been plenty of young blokes from around the globe swinging it around at good pace. Overall I enjoyed the read, good observation and a point well made in the era of T-20 cricket. But examples used here took the edge off the point. This is like someone writing about ideal ODI batting using Misbah and Asad Shafiq as an example and not mentioning Kohli and Sangakarra. I can't believe this article did not name the real greats of swing bowling.

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    Good article by Sanjay Manjrekar

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    LOL at Manjekar about his examples.How on the earth Akram and Vass wasn't mentioned when Ntini and Flintoff got a mention here specially when talking about swing?

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    @silversam1: To be fair he mentioned that "Pakistan remained, as always, a brilliant exception, sticking to their style of bowling it full and swinging it..."

    Now people like Akash and Sanjay give examples of Indian bowlers probably because they know these bowlers better than other international ones...Not that they don't know about others, but it is easier to give examples about the ones you know better...

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    McDermott was a swing bowler I guess, and he's the one who got the Australian bowlers, especially Siddle to revert to bowling full and swinging it in his time as the bowling coach.