One could read the look of despair on England captain Joe Root’s face after the Oval Test. The way Jasprit Bumrah turned the game after lunch was beyond his imagination. Root admitted that India got the ball to reverse swing. And this skill of fast bowling turned the match in India’s favor. Indian captain Virat Kohli also said that as soon as the ball started to reverse swing, Bumrah asked to bowl.
It was reverse swing. A swing in which the ball spins in the air as opposed to a normal swing. In this era of Corona, when it is not allowed to apply sliva on the ball. Along with this, there are many other restrictions. In such a situation, preparing the ball for reverse swing is even more challenging. After this the pitches and grounds of England. Here it is even more difficult to prepare the ball for reverse. However, the grass on England’s wicket was less than the rest of the wickets. But the grass on the grounds of England is very high and in such a situation the ball is not old and it is very difficult to reverse swing it.
This art of reverse swing was born on the pitches of South Asian countries. And has been in controversies from the very beginning. In 2018, when Australia’s then captain Steve Smith admitted to ball tampering (deliberately spoiling the ball). However, there is a difference between preparing the ball and destroying the ball.
Older cricketers have openly said many times that ‘getting the ball ready’ has always been taken in the context of tampering. Former Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra had then said in a conversation with our colleague Times of India, ‘Yes, it is an art. But such theft is also an art. So will you praise the thief or put him in jail? Reverse swing is an art but ball tampering is a foul. There are other ways to get the ball ready for reverse swing without tampering with the ball.
There are also some rules for preparing the ball that do not violate the laws. Match officials keep an eye on how the ball is being thrown. Keep an eye on how many throw one bounces are being thrown. Along with this, it is also to be seen whether the ball is being given regularly to one or two players to shine. Is there anything objectionable being put on the ball?
how the ball is made
Maintaining the ball to achieve reverse swing is also a virtue. In this, one side of the ball is kept shining and every effort is made not to get any kind of moisture on the other side.
So does the reverse happen just by preparing the ball?
Reverse swing cannot be achieved only by preparing the ball. The technique of the bowler is also very important in this. Pakistan’s prolific bowlers had said that they can give the ball to any bowler after preparing it, after which if he wants, he can reverse the ball accordingly. He believed that getting the ball to reverse was more of a technical matter. Experts believe that apart from this, the field, pitch and environment are also very important. With the help of heat and pitch, the ball starts to reverse quickly. Instead of England, if the match is being played in a city in India, the ball can be reversed even after 10-15 overs.
Why some people say black magic?
Although some people also called it black magic. Reverse swing has been in controversy for a long time. There have been many cases when the ball was deliberately damaged. Many players often disobeyed the rules and continued to make the ball rough. Over the years, trouser zips, vaseline, mint, jellybeans, hair gels and sunscreen creams were all used to achieve reverse swing.
Sultan of Swing wreaked havoc
The reverse swing was used the most by the Pakistani pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. His speed in the air and his bowling action made it doubly effective. Indian bowlers were taught reverse swing by Manoj Prabhakar. Although the rest of the world took a long time to learn it.