How To Bat Against Swing Bowling – 13 Tips!

Swing bowling is one of the hardest things for batsmen in cricket to deal with. Elite swing bowlers are capable of making even the most skilled batsmen look foolish, and therefore you should always aim to be on top of your game when you come up against one. The best swing bowlers will be able to angle the ball in towards your body and then swing it away late, leaving you vulnerable to edging the ball to the slips or the keeper, and they’ll also have the ability to swing the ball back in towards your pads, potentially trapping you LBW or hitting the stumps. Both of these types of movement are even more dangerous when the bowler is delivering the ball at high speed and getting the ball to move as late as possible. 

If you’re going to combat swing bowling, you’re going to need a technique that puts you in the best position to do so. As well as the technical know-how, you’re also going to need strong discipline and mental fortitude if you want to avoid letting the bowler tempt you into playing a loose shot. In this post, I’ll share all of my favourite tips about batting against the swinging ball and hopefully at the end you’ll have many new things that you can work on in your practice sessions. I’ll also share a few drills that will focus on the things I mention during the post!

If you want to learn how to bat against swing bowling, follow these tips:

  1. Watch the ball closely
  2. Stay as relaxed as possible before the ball is bowled
  3. Try to pick up some early clues from the bowler
  4. Don’t get caught on the crease
  5. Bat outside your crease if possible
  6. Play the ball late with soft hands
  7. Know where your off stump is & leave as many balls as possible
  8. Be smart about your shot selection
  9. Try not to chase the ball as it moves
  10. Try not to overbalance
  11. Practice a lot against the swinging ball – with your club and at home!
  12. Accept that you are going to play and miss at some deliveries
  13. Gather as much information about opposing bowlers as possible

In the rest of this post I’ll go through each of the tips individually and explain the specific things that you should be aiming to do in order to be successful against the swinging ball.

Watch the Ball Closely

Anyone that is a regular here on Cricketers Hub will know that most of my batting related posts start with a recommendation to watch the ball closely, and that is no different in this case. To put it simply – you will not be able to bat well against swing bowling unless you are watching the ball intently as it travels through the air.

Watching the ball all the way from the bowlers hand until it makes contact with our bat allows us to pick up as much information about the delivery as possible. We can pick up things like how fast it is moving, which direction it is swinging, how much it is swinging, and whether it is a full or a short ball. These pieces of information are vital if we want to play good shots and time the ball consistently well. A batsman who takes their eyes off the ball too early will be more likely to misread the line and the length, and will be more likely to lunge at the ball instead of letting it come to them. Additionally, they will struggle to adjust if the ball swings late. This means the batsman will be much more likely to edge the ball or miss it completely.

Watching the ball closely is a habit that you need to teach yourself to get into. Every time you bat, in practice and in real cricket matches, you need to make sure you’re concentrating and watching the ball throughout every delivery you face. Something that helps me is to whisper ‘watch the ball’ a few times to myself as the bowler is approaching the crease. Simple little repetition tips like this help me get into good habits and remind myself of what I need to do.

If you want some more tips that will help you to watch the ball better, you can read my post covering it by clicking here!

Stay as Relaxed as Possible Before the Ball is Bowled

Whenever we face fast bowlers, we should try to be as relaxed as possible before facing a delivery. If our body is tense or our mind is anxious, this could disrupt our ability to respond to the ball that the bowler delivers. By staying relaxed, this allows us to get into the best frame of mind possible and lets us forget about everything other than watching the ball.

Some batsmen who get too tense prior to receiving a ball start to think too hard about what kind of delivery the bowler is about to bowl. Will it be a bouncer? Will it be a full delivery? If a bowler has bowled a number of outswingers in a row, will the next ball be the same or will it swing in towards the pads? Thoughts like this are not helpful. Instead of thinking and worrying about what the next ball is going to be, it’s much more effective to get in your stance, take a deep breath, and focus on reacting to the ball that the bowler delivers.

While I’m at the crease, I try to forget about batting in between deliveries. Instead of thinking about what the next ball is going to be, I will walk away from the crease a little and hum a tune to myself or something like that. Many professional players follow a similar approach, and this allows them to remain calm, relaxed and focused during their time at the wicket. You can also use some deep breathing techniques to get back into your zone if you feel yourself getting a little stressed out.

As well as the approaches briefly mentioned above, there are a number of other things you can do to make sure you’re relaxed while batting. I’ve written about my favourite stress relieving techniques in one of my other posts that you can read by clicking here! If you’re a batsman who is struggling to focus or suffers from crippling nervousness before you bat, I’d strongly recommend reading that post, you’ll probably find something that can help you out.

Try to Pick Up Some Early Clues from the Bowler

When the bowler is stood at the end of their run up, and also as they are running in to bowl, there will be opportunities for you to pick up some clues that will let you know which way they are trying to swing the ball. If you have good eyesight, you’ll find this a lot easier!

The first thing you have to be aware of is that the fielding side will be trying to polish one side of the cricket ball, and leaving the other side to get scuffed up and damaged. This contrast in the conditions of the two sides of the ball helps the ball to swing. The key thing to remember here is that when the ball is relatively new, it will swing in the direction of the scuffed/dull side of the ball. Therefore, if you’re watching the bowler approach the crease and you notice that the dull side of the ball is on the left hand side of the bowlers hand, the ball will swing towards the left. If you’re a right handed batsman, this would mean that the ball would be swinging in towards your pads. Information like this could be vital if you want to play a good innings. Any clues we can give ourselves as to which way the ball will swing are a huge help.  

As the ball gets older (usually 30+ overs old) the ball could start to reverse swing. This means that the ball will start to swing in the direction of the shiny side of the ball! So, if this you notice that the ball is starting to reverse swing, you should be ready to change your approach and look for the location of the shiny side instead.

Another useful thing to look for is the seam position. If you see that the bowler has tilted the seam in their hand so that it is pointing towards the slip cordon, it is likely that they’re trying to swing the ball away from you. If the seam is tilted towards your body or towards leg slip, then it’s likely they are trying to swing the ball into your pads. If you notice that the bowler is holding the ball in the cross seam grip (click here if you’re not sure what that is), then prepare for the ball to come directly towards you without swinging at all! Many swing bowlers will use the straight delivery as a variation if the batsman is expecting the ball to move in the air.

If you notice any of the things that I’ve mentioned above, then that is a great start. However, you still need to watch the ball closely and react to it as it moves towards you. By doing this, you can pick up the amount of swing that is occurring as well as the length the bowler is bowling. It also allows you to react to any unexpected things like late movement or the ball failing to swing. When you combine the clues you receive from the bowlers action with an ability to watch the ball all the way on to your bat, you will be in a good position to play great cricket shots.

Don’t Get Caught on the Crease

When batting against swing bowling, it’s important that we get our footwork right. Good footwork puts our body in the best position to play the ball, so it is vital that our footwork is even more precise when the ball is moving in the air.

At a basic level, you should be trying to ensure that when the bowler bowls you a delivery, you either get fully forward by striding down the pitch with your front foot, or get fully back by pushing backwards off your front foot and retreating into your crease. If you receive a full ball, you should be coming forward, and if the ball is short you should be pushing back, standing tall and playing it off the back foot. If you do neither of these things and your feet don’t move at all, this is referred to as being ‘caught on the crease’. In my opinion you should avoid this at all costs.

Moving your feet positively forwards or backwards really helps you to bat against the swinging ball. If you receive a full swinging delivery, then by striding forward with your front foot you are bringing yourself closer to the pitch of the ball. This gives the ball less chance to swing as you are meeting the ball earlier in its flight. Smothering the swing in this way is what top batsmen should always be aiming to do. If the ball is full, get your front foot as close to the ball as possible. When you receive a shorter delivery, moving back in your crease gives you the maximum amount of time possible to assess the line of the ball and to wait for any swing to occur.

When a batsman gets caught on the crease, they do not move their feet or the head towards the line of the ball. This means that they are more likely to prod at the ball with the bat, and play well outside the line of their body. If the ball is swinging around and you are jabbing at it without moving your feet, then this is a recipe for disaster! In the nets, focus on getting as far forward as possible to full deliveries, and right back in your crease to the shorter balls.

photo showing how to push all the way forwards or backwards when batting
When Batting Against The Swinging Ball You Should Aim To Get All The Way Forward Or Push All The Way Back

Bat Outside Your Crease if Possible

Batting outside of your crease is a simple, effective way of making a swing bowler’s deliveries less dangerous. For those of you that aren’t sure what I mean when I say ‘batting out of your crease’, I mean that you should change your starting position so that you’re around 20 – 40 centimetres closer to the bowler. The diagram below should illustrate this change pretty well!

diagram showing a batsman batting outside the crease
Batting Outside Your Crease Brings You Closer To The Bowler & Can Help To Negate The Swing

By changing your batting position in this way, you are decreasing the distance between yourself and the bowler. This means that the ball will have less distance in which it can swing before it reaches you, which is a great thing for you as a batsman. Also, if a bowler regularly bowls deliveries that hit a good length, then moving yourself down the wicket a little before they bowl can turn these deliveries into half volleys that are much easier for you to drive back past the bowler or through the covers. Batting outside the crease means we can intercept the ball and hit it much earlier than we would have done if we stayed in our normal position!

To put it simply, batting outside your crease is another great way of smothering the swing, and it can also disrupt a bowler’s rhythm as well as their ability to bowl a good length. Of course, there are things you’ll have to watch out for if you do choose to bat outside of your crease! A few of these are as follows:

  1. Since you are standing outside your crease, a fielder or the wicket keeper could run you out if you’re not careful – After each delivery, you should make sure that you return to your crease and ground your bat so this won’t be possible. Some batsmen will forget that they’re not batting within the crease anymore and a crafty fielder could definitely take advantage of this!
  2. Don’t bat outside of your crease if the bowling is too fast for you to deal with – If you’re facing a very quick bowler that intimidates you, batting outside of the crease may not be the best option for you as you’ll be giving yourself even less time to react to the ball! If you’re very confident about batting outside your crease against the quickest bowlers, then you should give it a go, but in my experience this tactic works best when it’s used against bowlers who don’t have extreme pace.
  3. Don’t bat too far outside your crease –  You don’t need to move your position much for this tactic to be effective. Usually a shift of about half a metre is the maximum any batsman will move.

Batting outside your crease will also put more doubt in the mind of the umpire when it comes to giving you out LBW – which is always a bonus! If a batsman is stood further away from the stumps, the umpire will find it a lot harder to be confident that the ball would have gone on to hit the wickets if it hits them.

I’d strongly recommend getting comfortable with batting like this in the nets before you try it in an actual game. Once you’re comfortable batting a bit closer to the bowler during practice, feel free to do it during real matches!

Play the Ball Late With Soft Hands

This is one of the most useful tips for playing against the swinging ball!

Playing the ball late means that you are waiting for the ball to come to you and playing it underneath your eyes, rather than thrusting your bat out in front of your body and making contact with the ball early. If you can play the ball late, this means that you have given yourself the maximum amount of time to watch the ball and pick up the required information, which will allow you to adjust your shot to accommodate how much swing the bowler is getting. A batsman who plays their shot too early is more likely to rely on guesswork, and as a result you’ll usually see these batsmen playing a lot more false shots. Playing the ball early is a great way to get out if you’re playing against a swinging ball.

This image shows the difference between playing the ball late and playing the ball early
These Two Images Illustrate The Difference Between Playing The Ball Late and Playing It Early

If you want to practice playing the ball late, I’d recommend trying two things:

  1. Get a coach or a family member/friend to stand at the side of you while you’re batting. Far enough away so that they won’t be hit by the ball, but close enough that they can see you clearly. When your coach is in this position, ask them to watch you bat and let you know how late you’re playing the ball after each shot. With this kind of constant feedback, you can see when you’re going at the ball too early and teach yourself to delay your shot slightly.
  2. As you’re batting in practice, try to make sure that the ball hits the ground under your eyes and doesn’t roll too far away from you when you’re playing defensively. If you’re hitting the ball late, it shouldn’t travel too far from your body. Sachin Tendulkar would teach himself to play late by not allowing the ball to hit the sides of the net when he was playing defensively in practice. If you can demonstrate this level of control while playing defensively, you will be putting yourself in a good position to succeed.

Now for the ‘soft hands’ part. This basically means that you shouldn’t be throwing your hands forcefully out towards the ball. Instead, when the ball is swinging around you should let your hands remain relaxed and allow the ball to come to you. I like to think of it as letting the ball hit your bat, rather than striking the ball forcefully with your bat.

By playing like this it will mean that if you do edge the ball, it is less likely to carry to the slip fielders or the wicket keeper. Batsmen who regularly play solid, forceful shots at deliveries that are swinging around will find that they edge the ball a lot. Also, playing with soft hands will allow you to withdraw your hands out of the way much easier if the ball swings late. Batsmen who go at the ball harder will find it harder to pull out of a shot!

Know Where Your Off Stump Is & Leave as Many Balls as Possible

A key aspect of playing swing bowling well is being able to leave the ball confidently – and to do this you’ll need to have a good feel for where your off stump is. Leaving the ball is great and will help you out for a number of reasons. Here are a few of them:

  1. Every ball you leave means the ball is slowly getting older –As the ball gets older, it is less likely to swing! Therefore, if you can leave as many balls as possible while the ball is new and swinging around, you’ll make your innings easier in the long run.
  2. Leaving the ball can force the bowler to make changes – No bowler likes their deliveries being left alone. Leaving the ball can force them to bowl in an area that is easier for you to deal with
  3. Every ball you leave helps you to ‘get in’ – When I’m advising people about batting, I often say that every ball you stay at the crease, batting gets easier. Leaving the ball well helps you stay at the crease longer, and watching how the ball behaves as you are leaving it helps you to get comfortable with the pace and bounce of the pitch and how much the ball is swinging.

If you’re sure about the location of your off stump, then you’ll know which deliveries you can leave alone, and which deliveries you need to play a shot at. The deliveries you’ll definitely need to play a shot at are the ones that threaten the stumps or the pads!

One of the main ways that batsmen learn to judge balls that are around or just outside the off stump is by getting their head into line with the off stump, and they do this by taking a certain ‘guard’. If you’re not sure what taking guard means, it basically refers to where you stand once you get into your batting stance. More specifically, it refers to where you place your feet. For example, batsmen who choose to take an off stump guard will align the front of their shoes with the off stump. Batsmen who take a leg stump guard will put the front of their shoes in line with the leg stump, and so on!

When batting, in my view you should take a guard that helps you to get your head over the line of off stump. If you want to know how to do this, I’ve written a post that will give you all the info on different types of guards. You can read it by clicking here! By getting your head onto the line of the off stump, you can easily judge which deliveries will threaten the off stump and which ones are possible to leave alone!

Be Smart About Your Shot Selection

If you’re facing a bowler that is swinging the ball viciously then there are some shots that are particularly dangerous that you may want to avoid! If you avoid playing these shots while the ball is moving around, it can force the bowler to bowl the ball in areas that are more favourable for you, where you can play shots that have much less risk involved.

Let’s look at an example. The main dangerous shot when bowlers are regularly swinging the ball is the cover drive, and this is especially true when the ball pitches on a good length rather than a very full length. Because the cover drive involves playing the ball outside the line of your body with a vertical bat, if the ball swings slightly more than you expect then it can easily fly off the edge of the bat to the keeper/slips. There is not much margin for error when you’re playing this kind of shot against a swinging delivery – which is why I think it’s generally one to avoid!

By avoiding playing shots like the cover drive or the square drive at balls that are well outside the line of the off stump, we can frustrate the bowlers. If they realise they cannot tempt us into a shot by bowling this wide line, it is likely they will adjust their line and bowl the ball closer to the line of your body. This is your chance to strike! Playing shots at deliveries that are on the line of your body carries much less risk than playing at deliveries outside the line of off stump. If they bowl a ball targeting your pads, you can whip the ball through the leg side or play it straight down the ground.

To sum up this section: by being smart about what shots we play against certain deliveries, we can slowly force the bowlers to bowl deliveries that we can deal with much easier. A little discipline goes a long way! Trust your defence, wait for the bad ball and you should be able to negotiate the swinging ball successfully.

Try Not to Chase the Ball as it Moves

Most batsmen want to feel bat on ball early in their innings, and this can lead to them following the ball with their bat as it flies past them. When the ball is swinging around, chasing the ball with the bat is a recipe for disaster. At this stage some of you may be wondering exactly what I mean when I say ‘chasing the ball’, so I’ll give you an example!

First, imagine an outswing delivery that pitches just outside a right handed batsman’s off stump. The batsman quickly picks up the original line of the ball and prepares to play their shot on an off stump line. However, as the batsman is moving into position to play the shot, the ball begins to swing away from them late in its flight. When some batsmen notice this happening, they will instinctively move their bat sideways and follow or ‘chase’ the movement of the ball. This is being demonstrated in the photo below on the right. This act of quickly shifting the bat sideways is often referred to as ‘the curtain rail’ as it involves a quick horizontal movement of the bat. This is because the action is similar to the one required to throw open a pair of curtains!

Photo showing how to avoid chasing the swinging ball
When Batsmen Are Beaten By Outswing, They May Chase The Ball By Extending Their Hands Like I’m Showing In The Picture On The Right. Instead, They Should Simply Play The Original Line As Is Shown On The Left And Not Be Dragged Wide

Batsmen who regularly chase the ball in the way I explained above will run into problems when they are facing skilled swing bowlers. A swing bowler like Jimmy Anderson will regularly angle the ball in towards you then swing it away late. Batsmen who choose to chase after these deliveries are massively susceptible to edging the ball through to the wicket keeper or the slip fielders.

Instead, a batsman should look to hold the bat on the original line of the ball, and not follow the ball as it swings away. So, for example, if the ball travels towards you on an off stump line and then swings away late, you should play and hold your shot on the original line of off stump. Hopefully this will mean that the ball comfortably misses the edge of your bat as well as the stumps. Admittedly, there is some luck involved here, because if the ball doesn’t swing a lot it may still hit the edge of your bat, but this is the chance we have to take as batsmen. Sometimes, when we get out in this way, we have to hold our hands up to the bowler and say well bowled!

Some batsmen like Marcus Trescothick developed another little technique which helped them to avoid chasing the ball. Basically, he taught himself to withdraw his bat whenever he saw the ball start to swing late. For example, if Trescothick played a defensive shot on an off stump line and saw the ball start to swing away from him late, he would quickly withdraw the bat away to the leg side to make sure the ball avoided taking the edge. This approach requires an incredible amount of mental discipline, but with time and practice you can teach yourself to play in this way.

Try Not to Overbalance

A lot of batsmen run into trouble when facing swing bowlers because their foot movement puts them in a poor position to deal with certain deliveries. In this section we’ll look at why overbalancing at the crease is not helpful. I’ll also show you some things that may help you to avoid these issues.

Certain batsmen are prone to moving their front foot too far across to the off side during their trigger movement before the ball reaches them. This creates a multitude of problems. Firstly, planting your front foot across to the off side makes you a huge candidate for LBW. This is because your front leg will be covering the stumps, and to hit a ball that is swinging in towards the stumps you will have to manoeuvre the bat around your front pad. This is risky business, especially if the bowler is bowling at good speed!

In addition to this problem, moving your foot well outside the line of off stump before the ball is bowled means your head will travel that way too. With your head outside the line of off stump, it is likely that you’ll be very unbalanced, and a straight ball or a ball that swings in towards your pads will require you to get your body in a position similar to the one below in order to play the ball. This is a dreadful position to be in while batting! Ideally, we should always have our head in line with the ball, but this early movement of the front foot across to the off side makes this almost impossible to do.

photo showing a batsman overbalancing during a cricket shot
Stepping Across To The Off Side Early Can Make You End Up In This Position If You Receive A Straight Ball.

Lastly, moving your front foot across to the off side early can make you more susceptible to being ‘squared up’ by deliveries that swing away late. For example, if you’ve moved your foot across and you receive a ball on an off stump line, you’ll have to play around your front pad to hit it. This is an awkward movement to make, and as a result a lot of batsmen end up getting ‘squared up’, with their back foot coming around and ending up level with their front foot. When this happens, the batsman will have their chest facing towards the bowler. If the ball swings away late and a batsman is in this position, it could lead to them chasing the ball with the bat, or ‘curtain railing’ as I explained in the previous section! This is a regular form of dismissal for many professional batsmen.  

One way of avoiding this is by opening your stance slightly. This means that when you’re in your batting stance, you should move your front foot back a little towards the leg side. This shift in foot position is shown in the photo below. By moving your front foot backwards towards the leg side, this will mean that any trigger movement that takes you towards the off side won’t take you as far across. This will lead to you being in a slightly better position when the ball reaches you.

Diagram showing the shift required to go from a closed stance to an open stance
By Moving Your Front Foot Towards The Leg Side Slightly, You Can Open Up Your Stance A Little. This May Help To Stop You Overbalancing

Another way of avoiding it is by changing your trigger movement entirely so that your front foot doesn’t move too far across to the off side. If you can change your trigger so your front foot remains pretty central, then your head should remain right where it needs to be instead of overbalancing, and you can bring your bat through without your front leg becoming an obstruction.

Practice a Lot Against the Swinging Ball – With Your Club and at Home!

The best way to improve your batting against swing bowling is to get regular batting practice against the swinging ball! The more you face these kinds of deliveries in practice, the better prepared you will be to deal with them during a real match. Practice will help you to develop a technique that combats the swinging ball, and it will also help you to identify your scoring areas and your game plan for how you are going to score runs against these bowlers.

If you want to enhance your skills against swing, I’d recommend getting at least one hour of batting practice a week against swing bowlers. If you have the time and the resources available then you can work on your batting for much longer than this, but I’d say 1 hour per week is the minimum. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways you can practice against the swinging ball. Here are a few:

  1. Bat in the nets against swing bowlers – this is the most preferable mode of practice if you want to teach yourself to bat against swing bowling. Facing deliveries from real bowlers is great because it allows you to watch the bowler throughout their run up and try to pick up some of the cues I mentioned earlier in the post. You can’t do this with a bowling machine! I like to set myself targets in these kinds of practice sessions. For example, try to play defensively for 20 balls, and then try to play in a more attacking manner for the next 20.
  2. Bat in the nets against a bowling machine or throw downs – The next best method of practice is to bat against a bowling machine that has a swing setting. This is a great way of practicing because you can set the bowling machine to bowl different types of swing and to bowl different lengths. If you have a specific weakness, you can set the bowling machine to test you in that area. As well as bowling machines, you can get coaches to use a sidearm thrower and give you throw downs.
  3. Use a tape ball – If you have a tennis ball and wrap one half of it in tape, this can provide you with some interesting practice sessions that you can do at home or with your club. When the tape is wrapped around one side of the ball, this causes the tennis ball to swing through the air. This is something that doesn’t happen if you’re just using a tennis ball in the normal way! If you’re practicing your batting and you have limited equipment available, this is a great way to simulate swing bowling.

Whatever method you use to practice against swing bowling, try to incorporate all of the tips that I’ve mentioned in this post into your session. For example, you should always be making sure that you’re playing the ball as late as possible and that you’re moving your feet confidently and accurately. You should also have good knowledge of where your off stump is and make sure you’re watching the ball all the way from the bowler’s hand until it reaches you.

Lastly, try to get as much practice against both types of swing as possible (outswing and inswing). It is pointless just practicing against one of them, as both types of bowlers exist!

If you’re still looking for more inspiration and ways to practice your batting at home, I’d recommend checking out one of my other posts by clicking here!

Accept That You Are Going to Play & Miss at Some Deliveries

In my opinion, an important part of batting against swing bowling is accepting that sometimes you are going to play false shots and look foolish! Even for the best batsmen in the world it can be incredibly hard to bat against the swinging ball, and that’s why so many top class professional batsmen struggle when they come to play in countries like England.

I remember the first time Virat Kohli played in England. Expectations were high because Kohli is an incredible batsman, but Jimmy Anderson had the ball swinging a lot and Kohli found himself going at the ball too early and with hard hands. Therefore, Virat struggled on that tour! He’s not the only batsman that Jimmy Anderson has given headaches over the years with accurate swing bowling, but the fact it can give a player like Kohli problems is testament to how difficult batting against swing is!

Therefore, if the ball is swinging and you play and miss at a few deliveries – don’t be disheartened! It happens to us all, and no one plays it perfectly every time. If a ball beats you, you need to mentally move on to the next delivery before it is bowled. Some batsmen (especially early in their innings) can allow themselves to dwell on deliveries that they’ve played and missed at, and this can affect their decision making going forward. If possible, after playing and missing you should away from the wicket a little, re-focus your mind, and then concentrate fully on reacting to and playing the next delivery. Even if you do play and miss, remember you’re still at the crease and the bowler has not managed to get you out!

Gather as Much Information About Opposing Bowlers as Possible

It’s much easier to bat against a bowler if you’ve played against them before, or if you have any knowledge of how they bowl and what type of deliveries they’re likely to bowl. Some bowlers are only able to swing the ball in one direction, and some may be able to swing the ball both ways. But, if you’ve never faced a bowler before, you’ll have no idea what they’re capable of – and this presents a problem.

For this reason, I’d recommend trying to gather as much information about the bowlers on the opposing team as possible. The main ways that you can achieve this are listed below:

  1. Play against the bowler more than once – if you’ve played against a certain bowler previously, you’ll have good knowledge about their bowling because you’ve experienced it before. You’ll have picked up how fast they can bowl and whether they can get the ball to swing or not. There’s simply no knowledge like first hand knowledge!
  2. Ask your team mates or coaches about opposing bowlers – if you haven’t played against a bowler before, there’s still a chance your team mates may have, or that your coaches may have seen them before! Ask them and see if they can share any info with you
  3. Ask batsmen that have been in the middle already – if you’re not an opening batsman, then your team mates out in the middle will face the bowlers before you do. If any of them get dismissed, or you end up in the middle with them, ask them what the opposing bowlers are like and whether they swing the ball or not. The info they share could be vital if you want to get through those tough first few deliveries!

Gathering information about opposing bowlers and opposing players is easier as you begin to move through the different levels of cricket. When you’re an amateur player, there is probably not going to be much video analysis of opposing bowlers available, but as you get closer to the professional game, there will be plenty of video you can look at to find out about your opposition!


There are many methods you can try in order to learn how to bat more effectively against swing bowling, and I think I have covered a large majority of them here. Like with most batting skills, the most important thing is practice. The more you prepare for something, the better you will be able to embrace the challenge, so make sure you’re getting at least 1 hour of practice against swing bowling per week!

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