I could not understand the difference between these two. What is the difference between swing bowling and seam bowling? How does both differ? Can a swing bowler do seam bowling too?

5 Answers 5


Both of these styles of bowling are performed by bowlers who are medium pace or fast bowlers. A swing bowler tries to deceive the batter by getting sideways movement through the air (known as 'swing' in cricket). By contrast, a seam bowler tries to get sideways movement off the pitch by landing the ball right on the seam so that it may deviate one way or the other if it hits an imperfection (such as a crack or lump) on the pitch.

Generally speaking, a swing bowler will try and 'pitch the ball up' landing the ball closer to the batter. This is because it allows more time in the air for swing to occur, and makes the batter more likely to play a straight bat shot (such as a drive) that might cause them to misplay the ball and get out if they don't pick up the swing. On the other hand, a seamer will generally pitch the ball a little shorter in order to hit the pitch harder (i.e. have a more vertical impact) in order to get more out of any deviation off the pitch.

There are certainly some bowlers who can be classed as predominantly swing bowlers and others who are mostly seam bowlers, but most medium and fast bowlers with try and utilise both techniques at different times, depending on the conditions, the batter and the state of the ball at the time.

  • I think swing bowling also requires the weather conditions to be aiding the bowler.In a way seam bowlers are more effective than swing bowlers all over the world. This is my personal opinion. Cheers
    – kartshan
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 4:49
  • 1
    The bowlers known for swing bowling is Dale Steyn and for seam bowling Morne Morkwel (at present) and i like to mention one more bowling style that is Fast very Fast bowling which was re-invented by Mitchel Johnson
    – suhas
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 6:07

Simply put, swing bowling involves making the ball to move while it is travelling in the air and seam bowling is more about movement off the pitch.

To understand seam bowling, imagine a medium pacer who comes in and tries bowling a off or leg spin delivery. Only that he/she is not "spinning" the ball. The irregularity on the cricket ball due to the presence of the threaded seam will do it for the bowler. Hence the name "seam" bowling.


The movement of the ball in the air is called swing bowling. It can be assisted by weather conditions, if wind is flowing perpendicular to the pitch then in that case swing bowling is quite dangerous

While Seam bowling is the movement of the ball after pitching on the ground (in or out)mostly depend upon the pitch condition ,but wind also play an important role as if wind is flowing parallel to the pitch it will vary the bounce of the ball.


Seam bowling = Movement as a result of deviation due to pitching on the seam on the ball

Swing bowling = Movement as a result of difference in air pressure on heavier and lighter side of the ball, has got nothing to do with seam

Good swing bowlers: Well most people get some sort of swing but to be a paradigm of swing bowling consider Hoggard, Pathan, Rana Naved ...

Examples of seamers who generally find it hard to swing - Harmison, Zaheer, Razzaq, Ntini etc

Most bowlers are a combination of both.

In the past the great swingers were waqar, morrison, kapil

the great seamers were walsh etc.


Source:- http://qr.ae/7XAqgb

Well I get the answer of the question when I was in class 11th. First:- The principle is applicable if their is smooth or turbulent flow on both sides of the ball i.e. similar viscosity. There is 2 principle regarding the swinging of the ball. If the ball is thrown at low speed both sides of the ball have smooth flow. If the ball is thrown with high speed, both sides of the ball have turbulent flow. There are also speed ranges in which flow may be turbulent or smooth. These speeds are given by Reynolds number. A medium pacer uses this middle critical region of speed, where the flow may be smooth or turbulent, to swing the ball. The rough side of the ball has turbulent flow whereas the smooth side of the ball has smooth flow in this critical range of speed. Hence, air on the rough side fails to catch up with the air on the smooth side creating a low pressure region on the rough side. This tends to deviate the ball on the rough side in normal swing. Reverse swing can only occur when both sides of the ball has turbulent flow.

This is only possible at high speeds. Pakistani bowlers did research to achieve these high speeds only and nothing else. Wasim Akram even advised Irfan Pathan to achieve high speeds back as always after the T20 world cup. Bernoulli principle comes into effect at these high speeds and it makes air speed low on the rough side and fast on the smooth side. Faster speed on the smooth side leads to air being vanished more quickly on the smooth side creating a low pressure region as explained by Bernoulli principle. Hence, the reverse swing.

Second:- There is a famous principle in Physics discovered by Daniel Bernoulli :

Bernoulli's Principle states that for an ideal fluid (low speed air is a good approximation), with no work being performed on the fluid, an increase in velocity occurs simultaneously with decrease in pressure or a change in the fluid's gravitational potential energy. It is named after the Dutch/Swiss mathematician/scientist Daniel Bernoulli, though it was previously understood by Leonhard Euler and others.(wikipedia) It explains how aircraft wings keep an aircraft flying high up in the sky, when common sense tells us that an object heavier than ten elephants put together, should drop down like a stone. But how does it help a pace bowler playing cricket? It helps pace bowlers who know the art of swing bowling. A ball bowled (thrown down the length of a cricket pitch) at high speed "swings", i.e. moves left or right, making it difficult for the batsman to read its trajectory. To understand this, let us look at the cricket ball :

The newball is smooth on all sides to begin with, but after a few overs are bowled, the surface becomes rough, thanks to the beating it receives from the batsman and the bowler who slams the ball down on the rough earth. The swing bowler takes advantage of this condition of the ball by applying saliva and rubbing only one side vigorously on a piece of cloth (usually his trouser). What results is a ball with a surface that is smooth on one side of the seam and rough on the other.

When such a ball is bowled at a high velocity with the seam vertical and in the same plane as the moving ball, it moves right if the smoother surface is on the right and to the left if the smoother surface is on the left, as seen by the bowler.

The reason is as follows. The rough side slows down the air due to friction whereas the smoother side allows the air to pass by at a greater speed. According to Bernoulli's principle, greater the air speed, lesser the pressure. So there is a pressure differential that pushes the ball in the direction of the smoother side.

John Lever, an English bowler, once used vaseline from his forehead to shine the ball, giving him an unfair advantage over the batsman. He was caught by the Indian umpire Reuben who reported the incident to the English captain Tony Greig. The Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi complained to the cricketing authorities but the Indian board buried the whole matter in an effort to please the English board.

Conclusion:- The more the ball become old, the more it become rough and the chance of occurring of Bernoulli's Principle become more. that`s the reason behind your question

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