New Delhi: With complaints about the quality of SG balls being used in domestic cricket on the rise, the Indian board has started looking at alternatives, recently testing hand-stitched Dukes balls made in England.
“We have tested Dukes balls at the NCA and Mumbai. The ball is good. But these are just preliminary tests and we have to test them in the longest format too,” said MV Sridhar, the BCCI general manager for cricket operations.
There have been several complaints in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, with the balls either losing shape or having split seams very early. In fact, during the India-South Africa Test series too, Indian bowlers were critical about the quality of SG balls.
India spinner R Ashwin had then said that, “There are definitely a lot of balls that are going out of shape. The arm ball… especially for a spinner, when you’re trying to bowl an arm ball, the seam is not sitting high at all. So at this point of time, I seem to be enjoying the Kookaburra a lot more.”
Some three months back, the BCCI had returned hundreds of balls to its supplier, Sanspareils Greenlands Pvt. Ltd (SG). The company supplies around 600 boxes of 12 balls each to the BCCI every year for domestic and international matches.
Apart from SG Test, British Dukes and Australian Kookaburra are the other options available to the BCCI.
But hand-stitched Dukes balls are an expensive affair and cost around R4200 per piece as compared to SG Test which is available for R1100. However, Dukes are still cheaper than machine-made red Kookaburra balls that cost in excess of R8000 per piece.
“It’s not about SG or Kookaburra or their price, what we are looking for is durability. We will test it in some local tournaments. Only then can we take a decision on Dukes,” said Sridhar.
SG has accepted that there is an issue with the quality of some of its balls supplied to the BCCI. “There have been issues that have come to our notice. We are working on it. There are some new processes we are experimenting. The results have been very positive. Soon, we will share it with the BCCI and top-ranking bowlers. Once we get the clearance from them, we will implement it,” SG director, Paras Anand, had told HT recently.