Cooley: Reverse swing is a skill

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Troy Cooley

Bowling coach Troy Cooley insists there is little mystery behind Simon Jones' ability to bowl reverse swing - just plenty of skill © Getty Images

England bowling coach Troy Cooley insists there is no ‘mystery’ to bowling reverse swing as Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff look to exploit the conditions in India during the forthcoming tour.

Lancashire all-rounder Flintoff and Glamorgan seamer Jones were the scourges of the Australian batsmen last summer as England memorably reclaimed the Ashes.

The duo are the best exponents of the phenomenon of reverse swing in world cricket and while others can shape the old ball back into the right-hander, England’s experts swing it both ways prodigiously.

“It’s not a mystery, it’s a skill,” Cooley explained.

“First you have to get the seam in a vertical position. Once you’ve got the seam in the optimum position, it’s the condition of the ball which determines which way it will go - that and environmental conditions.

Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff has mastered the art of reverse swing

“They (Jones and Flintoff) bowl it at the right speed, too, about 85 miles per hour.

“That’s when the ball ‘trips’ and goes the other way. If the ball gets really rough, you can bring the speed down below 80.”

Cooley accompanies Jones to Dennis Lillee’s pace academy in Chennai prior to the nine-week tour on a quest to build fitness, acclimatise and practise.

Even India’s auspicious collection of batting talent, content on home surfaces, will be tested by England’s frontline attack, which has more teeth with Jones fit.

And their Australian coach Greg Chappell is wary of the tourists despite their Test series defeat in Pakistan before Christmas.

“I would have preferred if England had done a bit better, softened Pakistan up for us and not got the wake-up call that they got,” Chappell said.

“They will be better prepared to come to India than they were for Pakistan. I wouldn’t read too much into that tour. I still think they’re a good side - they showed that against Australia.

“But for a poor session or two on the final day of the first Test the Pakistan tour could have been very different.”

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