WTC Finals is just around the corner, many of us might wonder why different types of balls are being used in different countries and in different formats of cricket. Talking about the countries and their choice of balls, it goes back to the major two factors. The pitch surface and the weather condition dominating the country.
Different conditions in Cricket Match:
It is found that the overcast conditions usually help a ball to have a bit of extra and late swing in the air because of the moisture whereas hot and sunny weather might lower the chances of swing. The pitch surface is the more dominant factor for a ball to swing or spin.
A flat deck might be a batting paradise whereas a pitch covered in the grass would suit the ball to swing and seam of the pitch handsomely. A cracked surface is considered a spin-friendly wicket. Subcontinent countries like India and Bangladesh produce majorly the cracked ones since they are considered spin-dominated countries.
Whereas countries like England and New Zealand prefer a green wicket that suits the swing which is highly considered as their expertise. Pitches have a lot to offer to the local bowlers which is the reason behind the huge amount of their success in their own backyard. Hence, cricket matches away from home are considered tough against the home ones.
Different Types of Cricket balls:
The cricket balls also have a huge impact on the game. White balls are used in ODIs and T20Is since these games are usually played at night and the visibility of white balls is better than their red counterparts. The Tests are played by the red balls which are designed to swing and seam more compared to their counterparts which add up to the challenge for the batters to cope with it.
Kookaburra turf white ball is the standard ball issued by the ICC to play the limited over format all over the world irrespective of the countries where the game is being played. But when it comes to the Tests it is a totally different story. Every country demands its own choice of balls that suit its home conditions.
The standard size of balls say that the weight of the balls should be between 155.9g to 163g and the circumference must be between 22.4cm to 22.9cm according to the guidelines provided by the ICC. The T20Is use a heavier ball of 162g to 163g than the other formats use. Tests are played with balls weighing 155.9g to 160g whereas ODIs are played with 155.9g to 163g balls.
The size, weight, stitching process, and seam position of the ball are the attributes that define a ball. Majorly three types of balls rule world cricket which are the SGs, the Kookaburras, and the Dukes. The SG ball is played exclusively in India. The Dukes ball is used in England and West Indies whereas the remaining test-playing nations play with the kookaburra balls.
The origin of the SG ball goes back to Pakistan. Today the manufacturing is shifted to Meerut, India. It is considered better for a spin and gets old earlier than its counterparts. It seems better of the pitch when it is new but its condition worsens after 40 to 50 overs of the game. Its color is the darkest red of all. Its upright seam is quite pronounced which is better to grip and helps in the reverse swing as well.
Talking about the kookaburra balls which are originated from Australia. They are the largest ones of all and are considered the most balanced ones as they offer spin and swing both. They are used by most nations all over the world. The kookaburra ball is a four-piece construction done by the machines. They swing for at least 30 to 50 overs.
The smallest ones are the Dukes’ balls also known as the English balls. Famous for their longevity they are considered the harshest ones for the batters. They have the ability to swing for long hours with a bit of extra bounce.
Their size is small and originated from east London in the 1760s. They are handcrafted where all the six stitches hold the ball together. Whereas in the case of kookaburras only four of the stitches hold the ball and the remaining two are for the decoration. Therefore, the Dukes’ ball has a better life than their other counterparts.
Impact of Dukes ball in WTC finals:
Talking about the WTC final which is going to be played in Southampton, England. The Dukes’ ball which would be used will definitely offer the swing and seam of the pitch. The overcast conditions of England would add up to the bowlers’ benefits. The grass spread on the pitches wouldn’t be of a surprise for the batters to play for the extra swing. India would cautiously vary the wizardly spells of the left-arm seamer Trent Boult to set the batsman up for the inswinging deliveries.
Not to forget the threats of Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. They would be a deadly duo with Kyle Jamison’s extra bounce. Indian batsmen should be ready to hit some short balls directed towards their chin. Kiwi Batters have to be more cautious of the late swing that the Dukes’ ball possesses, especially of M Shami’s spells. I Sharma’s inswinging deliveries and J Bumrah’s hit the deck deliveries would also have to be extra watchful of.
India would hope for a clear sky and a sunny day for their deadly spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja to produce some magical spells to India’s benefits. On the contrary, Kiwis will hope for beautiful overcast conditions. The fans would hope nothing short of a poised and competitive game.