Swing bowling is a technique used for bowling in the sport of cricket. Practitioners are known as swing bowlers. Swing bowling is generally classed as a subtype of fast bowling.
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The aim of swing bowling is to cause the ball to move in the air (or 'swing') whilst delivering mainly fast-paced balls to the batsman, in the hope that the change in the ball's flight path will deceive the batsman and cause them to play the ball incorrectly. Swing bowling is not to be confused with spin bowling, which involves bowling slow-pace balls which change direction primarily after making contact with the ground.
Swing bowling involves the use of a newer ball which is only slightly worn. The bowling side will continually polish one side of the ball by applying saliva and sweat to it as well as rubbing it against their clothing to shine it, whilst leaving the opposite side unshined. The speed of airflow over the rough and smooth sides of the ball will cause the ball to move in flight towards the rough side and away from the shiny side. Swing bowlers will often use a subtly altered grip on the ball to accentuate this effect.
The two main forms of swing are inswing, where the ball begins wider of the batsman and travels into the batsman's body, angling towards the stumps, and outswing, where the ball begins in line with the stumps but moves so that it is slightly wider of the stumps by the time it reaches the batsman. As the shiny side will also become worn over the course of play, swing bowling is usually effective when the ball is newer, with the older ball being more useful for spin bowling or other forms of fast bowling. However, there are other types of swing, such as reverse swing, which involve using a much more worn ball.
As swing bowling is heavily dependent on the condition of the ball, many ball tampering controversies have been related to it, where teams have tried to illegally alter the wear of the ball using materials such as sandpaper to produce additional swing.