The swing (dip’n’curve) of spinning balls

This year, I want to get back to playing cricket. I haven’t played in anger for 9 years (when I was 13), and was [if I do say so myself] a decent leggie and was being pushed for trials with Middlesex Colts. My new school didn’t take sport seriously, and as such I got lazy and turned into a spotty and rebelious teenager.

Anyway – all that baffle and waffle was a precursor to my main point; how does a spinning ball dip and curve? We all know, or pretend to understand, how a conventional seam-up swinging ball works. Shiny-side nearest the batsman for an outswinger, and opposite for the indipper. This all makes sense – the rough side (the left side for an outswinger) prevents the ideal aerodynamics, and the air-flow is more obstructed on that side of the ball than the other (shiny) side.

But spinners hold the seam across the palm/knuckles – the seam is horizontal instead of vertical, if you like – so how can the ball dip in towards the pads (for a leggie) and curvee away from the bat (for an offie)? One thought I’ve just had is quite often, decent leggies like Warne tend to slant the seam towards the slips at a diagonal (meaning it’ll turn and kick on – on flat wickets it’s likely to bounce a lot)…so this would give the ball more chance, through the air, of swinging. It’s a phenomenon I encountered when I bowled (luckily! I’d aim for middle-n-off, the ball would dip towards leg and would often end up bowling them middle stump, so long as it turned enough), but I’ve never had it explained

Sorry to go all technical and anorakish, but let’s face it – if you’re reading this, you’re bound to be a real cricket nut like me :)

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