Cricket, the gentlemen’s game, has evolved a lot over the years since its inception. And the game has seen many innovations throughout its history.
From batters playing unorthodox shots to bowlers trying different bowling variations, cricket enthusiasts have seen it all.
Kevin Pieterson showed the world his outrageous ‘switch hit’, while Suryakumar Yadav is now making everyone go gaga over his innovative shots. Zaheer Khan confused the batters with his ‘knuckle ball’, while Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq invented the ‘doosra’ to give a new dimension to spin bowling.
And then there is a Pakistani bowler who introduced a lethal weapon for pace bowlers — the reverse swing.
In this article, I will delve into the invention of reverse swing bowling in cricket.
What is Reverse Swing Bowling?
Reverse swing bowling is similar to bowling an outswinger to a right-handed batsman. The ball moves towards the batter instead of moving away, which catches them off-guard.
If you want to learn how to bowl a reverse swing delivery, then refer to the article below.
Now, no one exactly knows who invented this delivery, but many claim that Pakistan’s medium pacer Sarfraz Nawaz introduced the magical delivery — the reverse swing.
As you know, Pakistan is famous for producing world-class fast bowlers, but Sarfraz was a little different. He wasn’t an express fast bowler; he used to bowl medium pace. However, he could swing the ball in both directions.
But swinging the ball came with a limitation. The ball tends to swing when it’s new, most probably in the first session. After that, the bowlers find it difficult to swing the ball as it becomes old with wear and tear.
This happens mostly in Asian conditions, where there’s little help for seam bowlers. But Nawaz’s introduction of the reverse swing changed the dynamics of the game.
Even though Nawaz introduced the reverse swing to the world, some reports suggest he learned the art of the reverse swing from his fellow bowler, Salim Mir, in Lahore. When Nawaz found out that an old ball can swing towards the shiny side instead of moving away, he started troubling the batters in the late 1970s.
Later, he went on to pass this technique on to former Pakistani captain Imran Khan. Khan, in turn, taught the art of the reverse swing to Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who then took it to a new dimension by bowling in-swinging yorkers.
The Pakistani pacer’s success prompted other teams to take note of this technique, and many pacers started using this lethal skill.
The invention of reverse swing bowling in cricket brought a thrilling aspect to the game. The Pakistani bowlers gave a lethal weapon to every fast bowler to use against the batters.
With time, many bowlers across the world mastered the art of reverse swing bowling, giving the batters a hard time. Zaheer Khan, Shane Bond, Dale Steyn, and James Anderson are some of the best reverse swing bowlers in the modern era.