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Why Are Right-Arm Seamers Going Around the Wicket?

CricViz analysis features in the Telegraph’s exploration of this modern tactical trend.

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.

This week, Tim Wigmore examined the recent shift towards right-arm seamers coming round the wicket when bowling to left-handers in Test cricket.

As Wigmore writes: “From 2005 to 2007, just 13 per cent of deliveries from right-arm quicks to left-handers were from around the wicket. Since the start of 2018, 52 per cent of deliveries from right-armers to lefties have been from around the wicket.”

“Indeed, 2018 is believed to be the first year in the history of Test cricket that a majority of balls from right-arm quicks to left-handers were from around the wicket.”

Using CricViz numbers, the piece examines how and why this phenomenon took place. The lower averages available for right-armers coming from that angle are the chief temptation, seemingly.

As Wigmore goes on to say, “Traditionally going around the wicket to left-handers has been an option that teams have reverted to with the older ball, as it was for Flintoff attacking Gilchrist with reverse swing. But bowlers are increasingly using the line of attack to left-handers with the new ball; since 2015, new-ball bowlers Roach and Broad have bowled more than 70 per cent of deliveries to left-handers from around the wicket.”

He concludes by saying that “But as more bowlers observe the effectiveness of going round the wicket — and more analysts document it —  the trajectory seems clear. Left-handers should brace themselves for being attacked from around the wicket more often. Their challenge now, as it has been for batsmen throughout cricket history, is how to respond to a bowling innovation”.

Both the West Indies and England attacks will be looking to deploy the tactic as the second Test begins in Manchester this week. To read the Telegraph article in full, head to https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/.

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