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."

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine