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How to choose the right Cricket ball.
What type of Cricket ball you use depends greatly on, Budget, Type of cricket played, League or friendly, Brand preference and Past experiences.
If you play in League cricket, the chances are the ball will be stipulated by the league committee. They will have done a deal with a local or national supplier in exchange for sponsorship. The ball isn't always the most suitable for the standard of Cricket played and quite often loses its shape very early. The trouble with these deals is both the league and the supplier are trying to take a share of the income. To keep the price within budget, for the clubs, often an inferior ball is supplied to the one that would best suit.
There are many brands on the market:-
- Gunn and Moore
- Plus many smaller brands and own label suppliers.
Dukes and Kookaburra are generally used in the UK for international Cricket matches. The Dukes Special County 'A' was used in the 2009 Ashes series against Australia. The Kookaburra Turf ball is used in most International one day games. Kookaburra are the number one Cricket ball manufacturer worldwide, with 85% usage.
If you play indoor cricket a different ball will need to be used. Not all manufacturers, produce an indoor ball, as it is a much smaller market. The most popular are the Readers and Kookaburra ball. They are generally lighter than the outdoor ball, weighing around 114g.
Cricket balls are available in Red, White and Pink. Red balls are used for almost all forms of the game. White balls are used in day / night games or games where floodlights are generally used. Pink balls were developed to produce a ball that was easier to see, for players and spectators. Although Australia have used them in competitions they have still not been embraced by the wider cricketing community.
Ball prices range from £4 for training balls up to £70 for balls that are used on the International stage.
The differences in the quality of ball isn't always obvious. The quality of the hide cover and the quality and quantity of stitches define how expensive a ball will be. The most expensive balls use 'Selected First Grade Tanned steer Hide' where the cheaper balls generally use 'A hide cover'. This can range in quality within the batch of balls, within the same product. The stitching used is of varying quality too. The better balls use a finer stitch and there are around 80 per circumference On the cheaper balls a thicker stitching is used and the quantity of stitches can go down to as few as 55.
All quality Cricket balls are constructed using a 4 piece construction. One side of the ball would have the join of the hide at 90 degrees to the other side of the ball.
The centre of the ball also varies across the ranges and suppliers. The Kookaburra Turf ball uses '5 layers of core and worsted yarn over a cork and rubber nucleus' but, their cheaper Red Dragon ball uses ' 3 layer quilted centre'. Some less reputable suppliers, out source the manufacturing of their balls, they are not able to guarantee the quality of the core.
Have you ever wondered how cricket balls are made? I often look at the ball and think how long it must take to produce, well here is a great video showing how Readers traditionally made their cricket balls.
Or watch the video below.
The official law on balls, state the following sizes:-
Mens Cricket. 5 ½ ounces to 5 ¾ ounces. It should also measure between 22.4cm and 22.9cm in circumference.
Women’s Cricket 4 15/16 ounces to 5 1/16 ounces. It should measure between 21cm and 22.5cm in circumference.
Junior Cricket (u13) 4 11/16 ounces to 5 1/16 ounces. It should measure between 20.5cm and 22.5cm in circumference.
These sizes and weights are only applied to a new cricket ball.
Most players tend to stick with the ball they have always used. A friend of mine insists on using the Readers Gold ball. I asked why, he says he always has. I suggested using a Kookaburra Super League but, he wouldn't change. I suppose, as a bowler he feels comfortable with the ball he knows whereas batsmen would have less of a problem changing supplier.
What ball does your club use and why?
Stuart is a Qualified ECB level 2 Coach and has just completed his Club coach award (awaiting the results). He play cricket and coaches as well. His Cricket equipment is all Kookaburra and his bat of choice is Salix.