Hardly a cricket match goes by without commentators mentioning the affect the atmospheric conditions will have on the ball.
However, according to study undertaken by New Zealand and British scientists, humidity has no impact on swing bowling.
The study, published in the Procedia Engineering journal, used computer modelling, precision weighing and laser-scanning was used to test how the ball reacted in different conditions.
AUT PhD student Danielle MacDonald and Sheffield Hallam University's David James and John Hart said humidity had no significant effect on swing, and suggested the anecdotal association between humidity is due to other factors associated with humid days.
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"It is hypothesized that cloud cover can lead to a general stillness in the air and low levels of air turbulence above the cricket pitch. This is because cloud cover reduces the effect of sunlight heating the ground and this tends to reduce the convection currents within the air. Theoretically, low levels of air turbulence are good for swing bowling as the bowler will be more able to create an asymmetry within the boundary layer of air flow around the ball," the study concluded.
"However, until the theory of cloud cover can be confirmed through rigorous experiment it remains no more than a loosely formed idea."
The authors of the study said they had spoken to various world class crickets, including England former international all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who were said to back the findings that humidity did not cause the ball to swing.
"It is apparent that contrary to what is debated in the scientific literature, these players believe that cloud cover is the atmospheric condition of primary concern, not humidity," the report said. Players are convinced that the ball swings more on cloudy, overcast days and whilst the humidity levels on these days may tend to be higher than normal, humidity is not the key factor."
- HERALD ONLINE