Seam bowling

Seam bowling is a bowling technique in cricket whereby the ball is deliberately bowled on to its seam, to cause a random deviation. Practitioners are known as seam bowlers or seamers.

Seam bowling is generally classed as a subtype of fast bowling, although the bowling speeds at which seam can be a factor include medium-pace bowling. Although there are specialist seamers that make deliberate use of off cutter and leg cutter at the expense of bowling slower than regular fast bowlers, most bowlers employ the seam to some effect and so the terms "seamer" and "fast bowler" are largely synonymous.


A cricket ball is not a perfect sphere. The seam of the ball is the circular stitching which joins the two halves of the cricket ball. Hence, the seam joining the pieces of leather is circumferential and the stitching is noticeably raised. If the ball is bowled in such a way that the seam hits the pitch when it bounces, this irregularity can cause the ball to deviate sideways in its path. It may move in any direction, or just go straight. The batsman has to see how the ball moves after pitching to select his shot.

In order to achieve this effect, a seam bowler usually delivers the ball with the seam held upright, with rotation about a horizontal axis.[1] This keeps the seam aligned vertically as it travels towards the batsman, making it likely that the ball will bounce with the seam on the pitch. Consistently hitting the seam is not as easy as it sounds. The seam has to be held upright between the index finger and the middle finger at the time of the delivery of the ball and, most importantly, the wrist has to be dead straight when the ball is delivered. The seam and wrist position of Australia's Glenn McGrath are arguably a perfect example.

The direction and degree of deviation from a straight path are dependent on the small-scale alignment of the seam and any irregularities in the pitch surface. This means that deviation caused by seam is chaotic and unpredictable.

However, it is also possible, by holding the seam at an angle and rolling the fingers over the surface of the ball, to produce a deliberate off cutter in which the ball veers away from the off side when it bounces on the pitch, or leg cutter in which it veers away from a right-handed batsman. Former Australian bowler Dennis Lillee employed a leg cutter of this sort to considerable effect; however, deliveries of this kind will be slower than if the bowler simply bowls with the seam upright, hoping for movement one way or the other. Some bowlers deliberately use cutters more for their surprise slowness than the deviation off the pitch.

Often the deviation caused by seam is not large enough to cause a batsman significant problems with playing the ball. Occasionally, however, the ball can deviate far enough to hit the edge of the cricket bat instead of the middle, producing a catch for nearby fielders. Swing bowling is a way of getting greater deviation, but is harder to control.

Australian fast-medium bowler Glenn McGrath has used his seaming ability to great effect in his career. The ball 'seams' at its best at the start of a team's innings, when the ball is new. A pitch which has cracks in it may assist a seam bowler as well. The genuine 'Yorker' may be used by seam bowlers, but bounces ('pitches') so close to the batsman's feet that it has no opportunity to deviate from its original line.

Another good example of seam bowling technique are the fast bowlers Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. Close-up camera work of the following descriptions can be viewed for example at:.[2] Both Walsh and Ambrose used a forward wrist flick that imparted back-spin to the ball as it left the hand. However, significantly, their choice of finger position causes the ball to exhibit precession (similar to a gyroscope), with the seam remaining broadly upright but oscillating repeatedly between a 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock position (if viewed from the bottom of the seam). This effectively destroys seam induced swing (as the ball is constantly changing between outswing and inswing seam positions through the air). Thus, the ball travels straight onto the pitch (in theory allowing the bowler to be more accurate). However, when the seam of the ball contacts the pitch at the 5 o'clock position, the result is movement to the left (away to the right-handed batsman), when the seam of the ball contacts the pitch at the 7 o'clock position, the result is movement to the right (in to the right-handed batsman). It can be seen that only rarely would the ball be at the purely 6 o'clock position to continue completely straight after pitching. This aligns with the unpredictable nature of seam bowling, but appears primarily driven by the technique of the bowler, rather than irregularities in the pitch surface.

See also


  1. ^ "Swing and seam – the basic grip". BBC. 2005-09-06. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  2. ^ "100th Test Match at Lords, England Vs West Indies in 2000, A thriller". Retrieved 19 October 2013.
1954 English cricket season

1954 was the 55th season of County Championship cricket in England. Pakistan toured England for the first time and drew the series of four Test matches. Surrey won the County Championship for the third successive year.

1985 English cricket season

The 1985 English cricket season was the 86th in which the County Championship had been an official competition. England recovered The Ashes against an Australian team that had lost several players to a "rebel tour" of South Africa. The Britannic Assurance County Championship was won by Middlesex.

Aavishkar Salvi

Aavishkar Madhav Salvi (Marathi: आविष्कार साळवी) pronunciation (born 20 October 1981 in Bombay) is an Indian cricketer. He is a right-arm medium-pace bowler and right-handed batsman. In first class cricket, he plays for Mumbai.

With a bowling style similar to Glenn McGrath's, employment of similar line and length and top-notch seam-bowling brought Salvi up from relative obscurity, as backup seamer for his club, to the national team in less than a year, and several Ranji Trophy appearances for his club. He has great strength for a bowler of his height and a commendable run-up.

Alamgir Sheriyar

Alamgir Sheriyar (born 15 November 1973 in Birmingham, Warwickshire) is a former English first-class cricketer. His last professional club was Leicestershire.

Sheriyar has had an impressive career taking over 600 wickets with his fast medium seam bowling. His career was spent mainly at Kent and Worcestershire but in 2006 Sheriyar returned to Grace Road, where he started his career.

Alamgir wasn't given many chances during the 2006 season and was told his contract wouldn't be renewed and has not played professional cricket since 2006.

Alan Ramage

Alan Ramage (born 29 November 1957) is an English former first-class cricketer, who played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Northern Transvaal and the Minor Counties.

A right arm fast bowler, he took 44 wickets at 37.47 in first-class cricket, with a best of 5 for 65 and scored 219 runs, batting left-handed, at 16.84 with a top score of 52. He began his cricket as a batsman, and was picked to represent England Under 15s at the age of twelve, but developed his fast bowling as he matured. In thirty seven one day matches, he took 31 wickets at 39.90, and scored 184 runs at 18.40, with a highest score of 32 not out.

Ramage first played for Yorkshire, in the John Player League in 1975. He played seven one day games before making his first-class debut for his native county against Cambridge University in June 1979. He made sporadic appearances until his twenty third and final first-class match, against Nottinghamshire in July 1983. He bowled hostile spells, but never cemented a permanent place in a strong Yorkshire seam bowling attack, which also included Chris Old, Graham Stevenson and Arnie Sidebottom.

He played for Northern Transvaal against Natal in a one-day game in December 1982, having joined the Berea Park Club in Pretoria, South Africa, as their overseas professional, and for the Minor Counties in two Benson & Hedges Cup matches in 1984.

Ramage combined with cricket career with appearances for Middlesbrough F.C. between 1975 and 1980. He made his debut as an 18-year-old substitute at Villa Park under the management of Jack Charlton, and made a total of seventy seven appearances for the first team. He was transferred to Derby County in 1980.He now runs a successful energy inspector business.

Bowling machine

In cricket a bowling machine is a device which enables a batsman to practice (usually in the nets) and to hone specific skills through repetition of the ball being bowled at a certain length, line and speed. It can also be used when there is no-one available to bowl, or no one of the desired style or standard.

There are a number of different types of bowling machine available to cricket coaches, each quite different in the ways they achieve the required delivery, though most allow the use of remote control, so that a coach can be closer to a batsman when the stroke is played.

David Dodds (cricketer)

David Henry Dodd (born 13 November 1981) is a former English cricketer. Dodd was a right-handed batsman who bowled left-arm Seam bowling. He was born in Manchester.

Dodd represented the Derbyshire Cricket Board in three List A matches. These came against the Gloucestershire Cricket Board and Derbyshire in the 2000 NatWest Trophy and against Cambridgeshire in the 2001 Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy.

Donald Smith (cricketer, born 1923)

Donald Victor Smith (born 14 June 1923) is an English former cricketer, who played in three Tests for England in 1957. He was born in Broadwater, Sussex, England. The cricket writer, Colin Bateman, commented that "Sri Lanka's historic first victory over England early in 1993 will have given at least one English Test player a certain amount of satisfaction. Don Smith, a steady left-handed opener capable of some useful seam bowling, became Sri Lanka's national coach in the late 1980s".

Fast bowling

Fast bowling is one of two main approaches to bowling in the sport of cricket, the other being spin bowling. Practitioners of pace bowling are usually known as fast bowlers, quicks, or pacemen. They can also be referred to as a seam bowler or a 'fast bowler who can swing it' to reflect the predominant characteristic of their deliveries. Strictly speaking, a pure swing bowler does not need to have a high degree of pace, though dedicated medium-pace swing bowlers are rarely seen at Test level these days.

The aim of fast bowling is to deliver the ball in such a fashion as to cause the batsman to make a mistake. The bowler achieves this by making the hard cricket ball deviate from a predictable, linear trajectory at a speed that limits the time the batsman has to compensate for it. For deviation caused by the ball's stitching (the seam), the ball bounces off the pitch and deflects either away from the batsman's body, or inwards towards them. Swing bowlers on the other hand also use the seam of the ball but in a different way. To 'bowl swing' is to induce a curved trajectory of the cricket ball through the air. Swing bowlers use a combination of seam orientation, body position at the point of release, asymmetric ball polishing, and variations in delivery speed to affect an aerodynamic influence on the ball. The ability of a bowler to induce lateral deviation or 'sideways movement' obviously make it difficult for the batsman to address the flight of the ball accurately. Beyond this ability to create an unpredictable path of ball trajectory, the fastest bowlers can be equally potent by simply delivering a ball at such a rate that a batsman simply fails to react either correctly, or at all. A typical fast delivery has a speed in the range of 137–153 km/h (85–95 mph).

Jamie Hewitt (cricketer)

James Peter Hewitt (born 1976), known as Jamie Hewitt, is a former English professional cricketer. He played county cricket for Middlesex County Cricket Club and Kent County Cricket Club between 1995 and 2003 and later played minor counties cricket, as a seam bowling all-rounder. He was born in Southwark in London in 1976 and was educated at Richmond upon Thames College, Kingston College and City of Westminster College.

Keith Pont

Keith Rupert Pont (born 16 January 1953) is a former first-class cricketer who played for Essex from 1970 to 1986. He was born at Wanstead in London.

A 6 foot 2 inch seam bowling all rounder, he scored 6558 runs in 198 first-class games, with a best of 125* against Glamorgan among his 7 centuries, and took 96 wickets with a best of 5 for 17. He scored another 2894 runs and claimed 146 wickets in 249 one-day games. His brother, Ian Pont, also played for the county. He went on to become director of development at the England and Wales Cricket Board until 2005, and has since worked in sports goods marketing.

Les Taylor (cricketer)

Leslie Brian Taylor, born 25 October 1953, at Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, England, is an English former cricketer who played in two Tests against Australia in 1985. His first-class cricket was played for Leicestershire and in South Africa for Natal.

The cricket writer Colin Bateman wrote: "His seam bowling was not pretty but it was hostile and effective, while his flailing batting was pure entertainment". His career was interrupted by a series of injuries.

Martin Snedden

Martin Colin Snedden (born 23 November 1958) is a former New Zealand cricketer, who played 25 cricket tests, and 93 One Day Internationals, between 1980 and 1990.

He was a member of New Zealand's seam bowling attack, alongside Richard Hadlee and Ewen Chatfield, throughout its golden age in the 1980s.

Maurice Tate

Maurice William Tate (30 May 1895 – 18 May 1956) was an English cricketer of the 1920s and 1930s and the leader of England's Test bowling attack for a long time during this period. He was also the first Sussex cricketer to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket.The son of Sussex off spinner Fred Tate and nicknamed "Chubby", Maurice began his career for Sussex as a hard-hitting batsman and spin bowler with one match in 1912. He played a few matches in 1913 and 1914, but established himself as a batsman in 1919 by scoring over a thousand runs for the first of eleven consecutive seasons. In the following two years, Tate's batting developed further with a double hundred against Northamptonshire in 1921 representing his highest first-class score. However, his bowling remained secondary throughout this period.In 1922 Tate had, aided by some very poor batting sides, enjoyed more success as a bowler than in previous years. However, in a famous incident at practice with his captain Arthur Gilligan, he bowled a faster ball, and it scattered the stumps.

This led to the famous quote "Maurice, you must change your style of bowling immediately". From then on Tate developed as a tireless fast-medium bowler and the founder of modern seam bowling. Though not exceptionally fast through the air, Tate gave the illusion of gaining speed off the pitch. His easy, rhythmic action and solid build allowed him to do a great amount of bowling – his bowling of 9567 deliveries in 1925 is unparalleled among bowlers of medium pace or above, this when he was still opening the batting for Sussex in many matches.

From 1923 to 1925, Tate had great success, not only in county cricket, but also in Test matches. In each of those years he took over 200 wickets, but his batting did not suffer even though Sussex were very weak in this department and though bowling support from Gilligan largely disappeared after 1924 due to a serious injury.

In 1924, on his Test debut, he and Gilligan dismissed South Africa for 30 in just 12.3 overs in the first innings of the First Test, played at Edgbaston. He took 4/12 with Gilligan taking 6/7. Moreover, when he toured Australia in 1924-5, on pitches which had proved too much for all English bowlers since Sydney Barnes and Frank Foster in 1911/1912, Tate took 38 wickets (average 23.18) and got through over 600 balls in three of the five Tests with almost no useful bowling support. It is still the record number of wickets by an Englishman in an Ashes series in Australia.

In the following six years, Tate's grand all-round service to Sussex and England continued, with his batting reaching a peak in 1927, when he hit five centuries for Sussex. In 1929, Tate hit his only Test century against South Africa, but from 1930, whilst he remained a force as a bowler, his batting declined severely and he began to go in very late in the order. The storm created by Don Bradman that year did not pass Tate. From that time, with exceptionally fast bowlers such as Harold Larwood and Bill Voce available, Tate was no longer an essential member of the England side, though he was still a match-winner for Sussex with 164 wickets in 1932. On his third tour of Australia, he did not play a Test match, and even with Larwood unavailable in 1934, Tate (though still bowling superbly for Sussex) was not chosen for any Test.

In 1936, Tate's bowling waned, except for 7 for 19 against Hampshire, he was much more expensive than before, and after 1937, when he had been in and out of the first eleven, Sussex chose not to retain Tate any longer, but he continued to be a keen observer of the game until his death.

Tate continues to hold the record for the most wickets in a season outside England (116 in 1926-7 in India/Ceylon, average 13.78; he also scored 1,193 runs in that season and is the only man to do a 'double' outside England). He achieved the exceptional double of 1,000 runs and 200 wickets in a season three years running (1923, 1924 and 1925). His career total of 2,784 wickets (average 18.16) is the 11th highest ever, and with 21,717 runs (average 25.01) he is one of only nine people ever to get a career double of 20,000 runs and 2,000 wickets. He took three hat tricks in his career. He was Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1924. Also Tate was one of the fastest scorer in Test cricket history.

Peter Borrill

Peter David Borrill (born 4 July 1951) is an English former first-class cricketer, who played two matches for Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 1971. A right arm fast medium bowler, he made his debut against Oxford University and took 2 for 27 and 2 for 6, in a comfortable innings win for the Tykes. This performance won him a place in the County Championship game against Sussex at the County Cricket Ground, Hove, where he removed Roger Prideaux at a cost of just two runs in the second innings of a drawn game. Despite this promising start, the strength of Yorkshire's seam bowling attack precluded further appearances, and his first-class career was over before the age of 20. His five first-class wickets had cost 12.20 each.He played three games for the Second XI in 1970, four more in 1971 and reappeared for one match in 1972. His further playing career was with Leeds C.C., although he had spells as a professional with Darlington in 1973, and also played for Hanging Heaton in 1982. He later played with Old Modernians in the Leeds League.

Peter Sainsbury

Peter James Sainsbury (13 June 1934 – 12 July 2014) was an English first-class cricketer who played for Hampshire from 1954 to 1976 and the Marylebone Cricket Club from 1955 to 1960.Born in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, Sainsbury was a right-handed middle-order batsman and a slow left-arm bowler. He was a regular in Hampshire's team for 22 seasons from 1955 to 1976. That period coincided with the county's most successful time in first-class cricket: Hampshire won the County Championship for the first time in 1961 and did it again in 1973. Sainsbury was the only player who featured in both teams, and he was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the 1974 edition of the almanack.

After a few games for Hampshire and the first-class Combined Services team in 1954, Sainsbury was a big success in his first full season in 1955, taking 102 wickets and scoring 586 runs. He was picked for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) "A" tour to Pakistan in 1955-56 and played in two of the four representative matches. But in an era when England's spin bowling options included Tony Lock, Fred Titmus, Ray Illingworth and Derek Underwood, this was as close as he came to Test cricket.

In fact, Hampshire's successes over the next 20 years were built largely on seam bowling, first with Derek Shackleton and later, at the end of Sainsbury's career, with Andy Roberts, and Sainsbury took 100 wickets in a season only once more: 16 years later, in 1971. With no great spin, he was often used defensively as a bowler, but he took 50 or more wickets in 16 seasons. He was also successful in one-day cricket, one of the first slow bowlers to be used successfully in a form of cricket that was dominated in its early days by seam bowling. Indeed, in 1965 he became the first man to take seven wickets in a one-day match when he claimed 7-30 against Norfolk in the first round of the Gillette Cup.

His batting developed usefully. No stylist, he could tailor his game to the needs of the side, providing obduracy or attack as required. For a side that for many years relied very heavily on the runmaking of just two or three players, Sainsbury's runs, usually made at No 6 in the batting order, gave Hampshire solidity. He scored more than 1,000 runs in a season six times and in 1971 was within 50 runs of the all-rounder's double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets.

A superb fieldsman close to the wicket, Sainsbury was near the top of the fielding statistics for many seasons in the late 1950s and 1960s. In all first-class cricket, Sainsbury played in 618 matches, scored 20,176 runs, took 1,316 wickets, and held 617 catches. He retired from first-class cricket in 1976.


Seam may refer to:

Seam (sewing), the line where two or more layers of fabric are held together by stitches.

Seam (geology), a stratum of coal or mineral that is economically viable; a bed or a distinct layer of vein of rock in other layers of rock

Seam (metallurgy)

Seam (band), an indie rock band from Chicago, Illinois

Seam (unit), various obsolete units of measurement

Seam bowling, in cricket, refers to bowling with the main seam upright

Seam carving, an image resizing algorithm

Can seamer, a machine used to seal a lid to a can body, such as in paint or food cans

Quarter seam, a thread on the surface of a cricket ball

JBoss Seam, a Java application framework by JBoss

Seam route, a passing route in footballSEAM may refer to:

The ICAO airport code for Chachoan Airport in Ambato, Ecuador

Sun Enterprise Authentication Mechanism, an implementation of Kerberos protocol for the Solaris operating system

Spin bowling

Spin bowling is a bowling technique in cricket and the bowler is referred to as a spinner.

Steve Barwick

Stephen Royston Barwick (born 6 September 1960) is a former Welsh cricketer. Barwick was a right-handed batsman who began his career a right-arm medium-fast bowler, before adding variation in the form of changes of pace and off cutters, with his restyled bowling being termed by fellow professionals like Andrew Caddick as the "slowest seam bowling around". Playing for Glamorgan for 18 seasons, he took 768 wickets in all formats of the game.

Married to Margaret Barwick, father to Michael, Kathryn and Jessica.

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