Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Can the weather affect the behaviour of a cricket ball? © Getty Images

Can weather affect the behaviour of a cricket ball?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

One for the sports fans among you. The common belief that cricket balls are affected by different weather conditions is questionable.

Asked by: Maurice George, Ormskirk, Lancashire


Many cricket players, fans and commentators believe that certain atmospheric conditions, in particular high humidity or cloud cover, contribute to a cricket ball’s ‘swing’, where the ball veers sideways as it approaches the batter.

Swing occurs when there is a different airflow on either side of the ball, which can result from a number of factors, including an asymmetry in the roughness of the ball (players encourage this by polishing one side and not the other), the alignment of the ball’s seam relative to the ball’s path, and the bowler’s action.

Humid, overcast conditions are also often said to play a role by affecting the density of the air, but studies have repeatedly failed to find any relationship between the weather and increased swing, suggesting that any effect is negligible.

Read more:


Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts.


Sponsored content