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Swing Kings

CricViz analysis features in this week’s Telegraph newsletter, which summarises the biggest movers of the ball in Test cricket.

CricViz have an agreement in place to provide The Telegraph newspaper in the UK with advanced data analysis and visualisations, delivered to their team of award-winning journalists via our team of analysts.

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This week Ben Bloom uses CricViz data to identify Test cricket’s biggest swing bowlers in the last few years.

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Bloom writes: “CricViz data from all Tests since the start of 2017 show there are no two sides who rely more on — or are more accustomed to generating — swing than West Indies and England.”

“Of all bowlers to have delivered 1,000 balls in Tests during that time, West Indies quicks Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder have generated more swing than anyone else, each generating average movement of 1.28 degrees. By way of comparison, only eight other men have produced average swing in excess of one degree during that time – two of whom are England’s Sam Curran (1.2 degrees) and James Anderson (1.04 degrees).”

“But is cricket’s preoccupation with swing bowling too great?” asks Bloom. “Data from the last decade shows a significant drop in average swing in Tests, while average seam movement has risen during the same period.”

“From 2010 to 2016, average swing during Tests in England was 1.15 degrees, which decreased to 0.97 degrees from 2017 to 2019. Seam movement rose from 0.58 degrees (2010 to 2016) to 0.71 degrees (2017 to 2019).”

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“As for which provides a greater threat to batsmen, consider this: batting averages against balls that swung more than 0.97 degrees in the last three years (during Tests in England) was 22.6. Against balls that seamed more than 0.71 degrees it was just 15.6.”

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