How To Shine An Old Cricket Ball & Why It Helps Bowler?

One of the most common scenes on a cricket pitch is a player shining the ball by rubbing it against his pants. However, have you ever pondered why cricket players rub the ball against their clothes to polish it?

One of the most crucial parts of bowling in cricket is maintaining a healthy ball! When the fielding side well handles a ball, it has a higher chance of moving through the air and deviating laterally upon contact with the pitch.

The bowlers will typically take more wickets when they understand how to shine an old cricket ball. Cricket players shine the ball by rubbing it on their pants as one way to maintain it in good shape. 

How to shine an old cricket ball to help it swing?

Swing bowling is one of the most traditional cricket practices. However, a lot depends on the ball’s condition in addition to numerous other factors. Important wickets in a match can be secured with the aid of a well-kept ball, favourable conditions, and a bowler who can generate swing from it.

Shining a cricket ball helps the ball swing, which is why cricketers do it. The ball is only polished on one side due to normal wear and tear, leaving the other side rough. The cricket ball swings as a result of this variation in the ball surface.

Bowlers can shine an old cricket ball (typically after 35–40 overs), and they can also force it to reverse swing by consistently shining one side of the ball. The reason for reverse swing is that the ball has gotten worse on both sides.

However, the side of the ball that we have been shining and polishing during the match has only degraded a little bit compared to the side that has been left alone! The ball’s rougher side is now so worn down and rough that it moves through the air more quickly than its somewhat shinier side. As a result, the ball starts to swing toward the shiny side!

How Does Shining the Ball Help?

Swing bowling requires the use of a cricket ball to help with technique. The seam creates turbulence when the ball is shiny and new, which helps the ball swing. While one side of the ball experiences wear and tear, the side being maintained remains smooth throughout the game. 

The air begins to travel differentially along the surfaces when the two surfaces differ in smoothness. Because the shiny surface has less drag than the rough one, the ball swings conventionally in the direction of the rough side. 

Let’s advance the match by 25 overs at this point. As the ball attempts to shine on one surface, it absorbs body fluids and becomes heavier and heavier on the shiny side over time.

After a while, the ball begins to go away from the rough side and toward the shiny side. The swing is in reverse here. Compared to the traditional swing, it is deadlier since the ball can move quite powerfully and late, making it difficult to control at times. The first and most lethal practitioners of reverse swing were Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.

Even though it sounds simple, not everyone would find it that way. The bowler’s wrist, finger position, release, length, pace, and other variables are all very important; simply keeping the ball in the air is insufficient. One important consideration is the weather as well; gloomy conditions are better for hitting the ball.

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Shining the Ball: Who Gains an Advantage?

In particular, the fast and medium-quick pacers benefit by maintaining the ball sufficiently to keep one side sparkling.

A bowler who can release the ball with a straight seam is most suited for swing bowling. Swing bowlers are most suited for this kind of bowling since they often have a straight arm motion and a solid wrist position.

James Anderson comes to mind, as he can swing the ball both in and out. Because it provides the ball plenty of time to come into touch with air, it benefits bowlers who tend to bowl longer and more full-bodied deliveries, such as Mitchell Starc and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.

It also aids fast bowlers like Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, and Mohammad Shami who are well-trained to shine an old cricket ball 


The ball’s upkeep and shine need skill. Though not adequate, it is an essential prerequisite. This explains why some people have it while others don’t. But if done correctly, shine might benefit even those who lack technique when it comes to hitting a cricket ball. 

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