Quality seam attack or quality swing attack or straightforward honest express pace attack?
In conditions that suit it, swing bowling. In flat conditions, express pace attack, assuming good accuracy. If the control is lacking, then the seam attack. Swing bowling the most destructive and hardest to face when on song and can demolish sides within a session, but also most likely to be hit around and can quickly become a liability if the conditions aren't suited.
Pace attack can take conditions out of the picture and can run through sides much like swing bowling but can be hit around if accuracy isn't there (being accurate is harder obviously if you're really fast). Seam bowling offers more consistent wicket taking and economy rates than either of the two options but will run through sides probably less often.
If I was a captain, and I had a choice, I would pick the express bowlers in places like India, swing bowlers in places like England or New Zealand. Seam bowlers would be useful in all places, depending on their accuracy.
I have noticed that many FTB's are good at playing seam and pace, but lose it to swing/reverse swing.
Seam, I reckon the best seam bowlers need conditions less than either of the other two
Have seen plenty of express quicks slow down when the conditions get tough
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A quick bowler or overall attack that has a solid combination of pace & swing would be preferable for most teams for sure.
You can't really split it. Depends on the conditons & the overall strength of the attack. If as you have for eg Brett Lee between Ashes 2001 to Ashes 2005, who was basically a 145 kmph bowler who was gun barelll straight who hardly ever swung the ball. He was a very poor test bowler in most conditions during that period - even if he had a helpul bouncy deck.
Australia where able to carry him since they had the likes of McGrath/Gillespie/Warne to compensate for his ineffectiveness. So in such an attack the 90 mph bowler could be risked if he the 90 mph didn't have pace+swing.
But then you have Matthew Hoggard before 2006. Who was your 130 kmph swing bowler, who basically was only effective on greentops. On flat decks before 2006 he was useless given he lacked real pace & couldn't reverse swing the ball.
So overall when chosing the 145 kmph (quality pace bowler/attack) or 130 kmph (swing bowler/attack) you have to take the strenghts of your bowling attack & match conditions before you choose either. Its not that simple as one or attack the other.
Ambrose, Lillee, Hadlee, Mcgrath (seam) vs
Marshall, Waqar, Akram, Imran (swing) vs
Holding, Tyson, Thompson, Hall (express)
My vote goes with the swing attack. Generally can takes wickets ne where irrespective of the wicket. Woe be onto the batsmen when conditions are conduscive to swing.
Its hard to label most of the great bowlers as simply swing or seam or express. Waqar for example while known mostly as a swing bowler qulaifies as express as well (esp in his youth).
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Swing the hardest to face IMO
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Seam occurs the latest, so most difficult to adjust. Swing happens a matter of haf to one foot, so can be noticed early. Seam is a matter of inches but occurs after pitching. Swing can be predicted by grip, shine of the ball and action of the bowler, while unless off cut or le cut applied off the grip or you are a Srinath, seam is random and cannot predict. Express pace will be difficult to many, but will not be a big factor against really good batsmen.
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This question is somewhat irrelevant as any quality bowler will almost certainly be able to do more than one. Express pace was probably the most valuable 50 years ago but is probably the least valuable now with protective equipment. I think we have seen a few examples recently where dropping under 130 kph has really hurt a bowler (Shaun Pollock) so there looks to be a minimum speed below which you cannot drop.. Swing and seam are condition dependent.
There are other things to take into consideration as well. Accuracy is probably the most important quality for a bowler. Factors such as being able to asses batsman's weaknesses and being able to get into their head. I really don't think you can easily categorize bowlers into those three categories.
Very rare to have an attack comprised solely of one type of fast bowler. The very best bowlers can bowl with a mixture of all three.
The common characteristic the majority of successful and dangerous pace bowlers possess is always the ability to extract bounce from the surface. Looking back over the past 30 years some of the very best bowlers in McGrath, Pollock, Ambrose, Holding, Garner, Akram etc all had varying methods of taking wickets, and yet they shared the common ability to ensure a ball pitched on a good length could rise enough to worry the batsman into indecisiveness playing forward or back. Add the ability to do something special with the ball, and it doesn't matter if you can swing or seam the delivery if you already have doubt in the mind of the batsmen.
Here is the thing,
Pace if accurate and used properly, can blow away an opposition regardless of the conditions. We have seen Waqar, Shoaib, Lee, Tait, Steyn (he can also do that with swing though) do that..
On the other hand, swing or seam, if the conditions are conducive is extremely difficult too. When there is help from the pitch, even Irfan Pathan gets a hatrick and bowls like an Akram.
But if the conditions are not conducive, then it becomes a lot easier to face the same swing/seam bowler. However, a bowler just wiht sheer pace can still be threatening on a flat pitch. Doesn't happen always, but it is possible.
Personally, I think consistent quality line and length is what is needed.
That doesn't seem to be any of the options explicitly though, so I'll pick swing, assuming they have the conditions.
If you bowl a quality line and length and then swing the ball both ways as well, the batsmen is going to be in all sorts of trouble.
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