Gough honing reverse arts

No sooner had England finished their first net session in Pakistan yesterday than two of the bowlers on whom the tour and the team's state of mind could depend told it like it was. "If the ball doesn't reverse swing it will be a long winter," said Darren Gough. Alongside, his fellow Yorkshireman Craig White, a man of fewer words, nodded sagely.

No sooner had England finished their first net session in Pakistan yesterday than two of the bowlers on whom the tour and the team's state of mind could depend told it like it was. "If the ball doesn't reverse swing it will be a long winter," said Darren Gough. Alongside, his fellow Yorkshireman Craig White, a man of fewer words, nodded sagely.

Gough and White are two of the few English players who have learned the art of reverse swinging the ball. When the team last came to this country 13 years ago it was unknown, at least to anybody outside the subcontinent.

Now, it is a key weapon in the armoury. Without it, England have as much chance of bowling out Pakistan twice in a Test match, or restricting them to a manageable score in the one-dayers, as they have of finding a green seamer somewhere in this country. Which is no chance at all.

At its simplest, reverse swing is the ability to persuade an old ball to move through the air, preferably late in its flight, in the opposite direction to what the traditional position of the shiny side would imply.

Gough, by watching Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, and White, by repeated experimentation, have become proficient, if not quite masterful at the craft.

"This winter is about the new ball and whoever bowls with the old ball," Gough said. "With the new ball for 12 or 15 overs you've always got a chance, and then the older ball for reverse swing."

The pair also have a conundrum over the white ball which will be used in the one-day matches during the first part of the tour. Traditionally, they have managed to reverse swing this when it is 35 overs old.

However, batsmen, almost by coincidence, have started regularly to ask for a change of ball at that stage in the proceedings, claiming they cannot see the scuffed white spheroid before them.

If the exchange is granted by the umpires it is invariably for a younger, less dirty ball which does not reverse swing. "I don't blame the batsmen," Gough said. "It's a good tactic."

Gough and White are probably the two fastest men in the England side. White said: "I have a low, slingy action like Waqar, and I think that probably helps the reverse. We're going to need it because the pitches here haven't any grass."

There will be some rivalry between the two Yorkshireman for who bowls the quickest. Gough, while refuting the suggestion that he had a constant fascination with the speedometer, pointed out that he had bowled the first to 10th-fastest balls in England last year. "I'd rather Craig bowl quicker than me than anybody else," he said. "If he bowled one at 95mph nobody would be happier than me."

They were both taken with the facilities at the Karachi Gymkhana Ground. The nets were slightly more moist than the dry, hard pitches in the middle but let nobody think it is third-world stuff. "They're better than most nets in England," Gough said. "Actually, they're better than most English pitches."

Arts and Entertainment
books
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
people
Voices
Nigel Farage arrives for a hustings event at The Oddfellows Hall in Ramsgate on Tuesday
voicesA defection that shows who has the most to fear from the rise of Ukip
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Life and Style
Brave step: A live collection from Alexander McQueen whose internet show crashed because of high demand
fashionAs the collections start, Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution