The unsung hero of the cricket game – today we shine our spotlight on the cricket ball that has remained unchanged since inception.
The game of cricket that started back to 16th century south-east England, eventually becoming the country’s national sport by the 18th century. Fast forward to today, and this sport has been globalized to the point where it’s followed by around 2.5 billion people, making it the world’s second most popular sport after football – or soccer if you prefer.
Once you’ve read this article, not only will you have an even deeper appreciation for the game, but it’s always great to have a fair amount of knowledge on your favorite sport, even if you don’t necessarily play it. And if like us, you enjoy placing the occasional bet, australiancasinoclub.org online casino Australia has a great selection of operators with sports betting platforms.
One of the very basic requirements of the game is the cricket ball, which is a solid, hard ball that determines the score of any game. Even though its counterpart, the cricket bat has undergone a number of modifications over the years, the cricket ball remains the same way it was originally created, with the only changes being to its color.
A Little Bit of History
The very first manufactured cricket balls to roam the planet are said to have made their first appearance sometime between the late 18th and 19th centuries in Kent. We need to travel as far back as 1775, where Duke and Son received their Royal Patent from King George IV for the cricket ball. Their cricket ball was so perfect that this ball is the same six-seam ball that’s used today.
Up to the outbreak of WWII, Dukes balls were used all over the world, but the impending doom of the situation led to an Australian competitor known as Kookaburra taking on a contract from the Australian Cricket Board, kicking off the start of their own manufacturing facility. This meant that from the 40s onwards, Kookaburra cricket balls started gaining some serious traction across the globe.
All original cricket balls were red, however white and pink balls were also introduced over time as we’re about to see and are now considered standard in the various forms of cricket.
Red, White and Pink
Once we’re on the topic of color, red balls are the OGs in this situation and were the first ones to be created. Today, red balls are used during Test Matches as well as in competitive cricket matches. Up to 1977, red balls were used to play any cricket match, and were known for two reasons. Early in the innings the ball is still new and will swing and seam, once the ball gets older as the game progresses, they are known to offer a late, reverse swing instead. Today, red balls will only feature in the longest forms of cricket.
White balls, on the other hand, made their first appearance during the World Series Cricket of 1977, with their cloth covering featuring prominently during the One Day international matches. The increasing popularity of the white ball led to a direct increase in interest in limited-overs cricket games as a matter of fact.
Eventually, as a natural consequence of the concept of day to night matches, pink balls were introduced to international cricket, mostly because pink has a better visibility at night when compared to red ones. As of 2009, pink balls have been used and approved and are now considered standard in day-night games.
What’s a Cricket Ball Made Of?
If you had to slice a cricket ball down the middle, you’d find a core that’s made of cork covered in tightly woven string. All of this is sealed in a beautiful leather case, with white seams that are slightly raised on the outside. This seam runs across the center of the ball and represents a crucial part for players who use the seam to manipulate the ball’s velocity and trajectory when bowled. Depending on the sort of game it’s intended for, this ball can be red, white, or pink.
Seam, Swing and Spin
The way the ball is manufactured will have a direct result on its performance, with seam, swing and spin movements perfected to a tee by our favorite players. For instance, releasing the ball with the seam at an angle will cause the ball to swing and move sideways due to the aerodynamics between the ball’s surface and the central seam.
Alternatively, spinners will make use of the grip offered by the main seam to turn the ball quickly into their preferred direction. Apart from that, players also need to keep in mind for how long the ball’s been involved in the game, which adds additional considerations such as more pronounced spins or reverse swings.
Where Are Cricket Balls Made Today?
Modern cricket balls are manufactured by three major companies that include the original Dukes and Kookaburra, as well as SG which is a more recent addition. Duke cricket balls are made in England and are the official ball for games played in the UK and West Indies. Kookaburra balls are manufactured in Australia and are the official ball used in Australia and New Zealand, as well as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and South Africa. And lastly, SG balls, or Sansparelis Greenlands balls are made in India and are used for domestic games.
How to Care for a Cricket Ball
If you want to make the most out of your cricket ball, then proper care and maintenance is required for performance and longevity. In competitive cricket, the fielding team polishes every ball on one side using a soft cloth in order to aid its swing while maintaining its shine. Also, important to note that using any substance to alter the ball in any way is called ball tapering and is considered illegal.