Different coloured cricket balls used for different types of matches are displayed on the ground ahead of the first multi-day match to use pink cricket balls at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata on June 18, 2016.(AFP)
Different coloured cricket balls used for different types of matches are displayed on the ground ahead of the first multi-day match to use pink cricket balls at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata on June 18, 2016.(AFP)

From red to white and now pink: The evolution of the humble cricket ball

Nothing dictates the course of a match, especially of the longer version, than the humble round thing weighing five ounces.
By Shantanu Srivastava | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON AUG 23, 2016 03:23 PM IST

“It’s red, round and weighs about five ounces,” Shaun Pollock once told Ricky Ponting after beating the Aussie’s outside edge.

We won’t get into Ponting’s classic riposte, but would instead focus on what Pollock said. To a casual cricket observer, the South African all-rounder’s cheeky remark serves as the simplest definition of a cricket ball.

Nothing dictates the course of a match, especially of the longer version, than the humble round thing weighing between 5 ½ oz to 5 ¾ oz (about 156-163 grams). Over the years, cricket balls have been central to the game’s evolution. Changing laws, ground conditions and formats have always demanded changes in the balls, and while the basics have remained intact, cricket balls have been witness to, as well as catalyst for, the evolution of the game in general.

As India begins its trial with the pink ball in the Duleep Trophy which began on Tuesday, we take a look at the changing nature of the ‘cherry’:

Read | Pink ball in Duleep trophy a crucial experiment for Test cricket

The structure

No matter what the colour, all cricket balls have the same internal composition. (Getty Images)
No matter what the colour, all cricket balls have the same internal composition. (Getty Images)

All cricket balls—red, white or pink—have the constant, basic composition. The core is made up of cork, which lends weight and bounce to the ball. It is layered with tightly wound strings, and covered by a leather case with a slightly raised, sewn seam.

In a top-quality ball, suitable for the highest levels of competition, the covering is constructed of four pieces of leather shaped similar to the peel of a quartered orange, but one hemisphere is rotated by 90 degrees with respect to the other.

The “equator” of the ball is stitched with string to form the ball’s prominent seam, with six rows of stitches. The remaining two joints between the leather pieces are stitched internally. Lower-quality balls with a two-piece covering are also popular for practice and lower-level competition due to their lower cost.

The manufacturers

There are three main manufacturers of cricket balls used in international matches: Kookaburra, Dukes and SG.

The manufacturer of the red (or pink) balls used for Tests varies depending on location: India uses SG, England and the West Indies use Dukes, and all other countries use Kookaburra.

The red ones

Red balls are the earliest type of cricket balls used to play competitive cricket. Still used in day matches, they swing and seam early in the innings. Once old, they offer late, reverse swing. The swing and seam movements, however, depend greatly on pitch and ground conditions as well as the expertise of the bowler.

The durability and visibility demands of a day-night Test match led to the creation of the pink ball. (Getty Images)
The durability and visibility demands of a day-night Test match led to the creation of the pink ball. (Getty Images)

White revolution

White balls were first introduced in World Series Cricket (WSC)—the breakaway league started by Karry Packer in 1977 in Australia. The WSC was the harbinger of a lot of ‘firsts’: it was the first professional cricket league, it introduced coloured clothing, floodlights, and of course, white balls.

Though an ODI World Cup was played barely two years before the WSC, the shorter format managed to grab attention only after the use of white balls and coloured clothing. Today, even ‘day’ ODIs use white ball. Visibility remains the primary—and most obvious—reason for not using a red ball to play day-night ODIs.

In ODIs, two new balls are used from either end, which means that a ball is effectively 25 overs old in a 50-over innings. It means more swing and movement in ‘day’ matches, and also more scoring opportunities as the newish ball comes quickly on the bat.

Pink is in

In 2009, the MCC made a recommendation to experiment with pink balls and since then it has been used by the ECB and CA as well.

Brett Elliot, the Kookaburra managing director, said in June last year that the pink ball is ready for Test cricket. In November 2015, Australia hosted New Zealand for the first-ever D/N Test. The Test, played at the Adelaide Oval, also marked the international debut of pink balls. Australia won the Test in three days and by three wickets.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
File image of players gathering ahead of a PSL match(PCB)
File image of players gathering ahead of a PSL match(PCB)

PCB's medical chief submits resignation to chairman Mani after PSL postponement

PTI
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 08:28 PM IST
A spokesman for the board confirmed that Dr Saleem has sent his resignation to the PCB chairman but no decision has been taken on its acceptance.
Close
Sri Lanka's captain Dimuth Karunaratne(AP)
Sri Lanka's captain Dimuth Karunaratne(AP)

Dimuth Karunaratne returns as Sri Lanka name Test squad for West Indies series

ANI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 08:24 PM IST
Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Roshen Silva, Vishwa Fernando, and Lasith Embuldeniya will leave for the Caribbean on Saturday night to take part in the Test series, which starts from March 21.
Close
India's captain Virat Kohli, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant and Mohammed Siraj hold the trophy.(REUTERS)
India's captain Virat Kohli, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant and Mohammed Siraj hold the trophy.(REUTERS)

Lock, stock and three spinning barrels as India crush England 3-1

PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 08:02 PM IST
  • New world No.1 India put England out of their misery on Day 3 of the final Test to win the series 3-1 and qualify for the World Test Championship.
Close
Virat Kohli and Steve Waugh.(PTI/File)
Virat Kohli and Steve Waugh.(PTI/File)

Kohli surpasses Waugh after England series win, matches Ponting's record

UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 07:36 PM IST
India vs England: India defeated England by an innings and 25 runs in the 4th Test at the Motera in Ahmedabad to claim the four-match Test series 3-1. This was Kohli's 10th straight Test series win at home.
Close
Ravichandran Ashwin with wife Prithi(Instagram/R Ashwin)
Ravichandran Ashwin with wife Prithi(Instagram/R Ashwin)

Now break the bubble & come home, tweets Ashwin's wife Prithi after India's win

PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 07:20 PM IST
On Saturday, Preethi took to Twitter to post a picture of her husband Ravichandran Ashwin with the Player of the Series trophy after India’s victory in the fourth Test against England in Ahmedabad.
Close
File image of India women's cricket team players(PTI)
File image of India women's cricket team players(PTI)

India women's WC preparation to finally begin with home series against SA

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 05:56 PM IST
It can be safely said that the Indians have fallen behind in their World Cup preparation compared to the likes of England, New Zealand and Australia, who have played more regularly amid the pandemic.
Close
Indian captain Virat Kohli celebrates.(PTI)
Indian captain Virat Kohli celebrates.(PTI)

Virat Kohli names India's 'most bankable player over the years'

UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 05:43 PM IST
India vs England: Ashwin continued in the same vein of form in the series against England as he picked 32 wickets in 4 Tests in the series, and also contributed with a sensational hundred in his homeground in the 2nd Test in Chennai.
Close
IPL Trophy(IPL / Twitter)
IPL Trophy(IPL / Twitter)

IPL 2021 to begin on April 9, says BCCI source

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 05:28 PM IST
"We have provisionally decided that IPL will start on April 9 and end on May 30," a senior BCCI source told PTI.
Close
India's captain Virat Kohli, center, hugs to congratulate teammate Ravichandran Ashwin, right, on dismissing England's Zak Crawley(AP)
India's captain Virat Kohli, center, hugs to congratulate teammate Ravichandran Ashwin, right, on dismissing England's Zak Crawley(AP)

Ravichandran Ashwin creates unique record with 32 wickets in England series

UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 06:55 PM IST
  • Ashwin, who picked up his 30th five wicket haul in England’s second innings to once again play a crucial role in India’s thumping win by innings and 25 runs in the fourth Test, finished the four-match series with 32 scalps to his name.
Close
Members of the Indian cricket team pose with the Anthony de Mello trophy after beating England by an innings and 25 runs on Saturday(BCCI)
Members of the Indian cricket team pose with the Anthony de Mello trophy after beating England by an innings and 25 runs on Saturday(BCCI)

India vs England, 4th Test, Day 3: Action through images

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 05:02 PM IST
Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin once again made a mockery of an eternally confused English batting line-up as India cantered into the inaugural World Test Championship final with a resounding innings and 25 run victory on the third afternoon of the fourth and final Test here on Saturday.
Close
File photo of Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri.(Reuters)
File photo of Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri.(Reuters)

'Never thought of Test Championship': Ravi Shastri after India's 3-1 series win

UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 06:55 PM IST
India will face New Zealand in the final of the ICC World Test Championship at Lord's between June 18 and June 22. After the match, head coach Ravi Shastri said that he was not focused on the WTC.
Close
Axar Patel.(BCCI)
Axar Patel.(BCCI)

Axar picks most wickets by Indian in debut series involving 4 matches

UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 04:28 PM IST
India vs England: With five wickets in the 2nd innings of the 4th Test in Ahmedabad, Axar took his total tally of wickets to 27.
Close
Sunil Gavaskar(ICC/Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar(ICC/Twitter)

Cricketing fraternity lauds Gavaskar on 50th anniversary of Test debut

PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 04:06 PM IST
  • Here’s how the cricketing fraternity wished Sunil Gavaskar on the 50th anniversary of his Test debut
Close
India cricket team celebrate.(BCCI/Twitter)
India cricket team celebrate.(BCCI/Twitter)

India to face New Zealand in World Test Championship final at Lord's

PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 03:55 PM IST
Now, India will face Kane Williamson's New Zealand in the WTC final which will take place at Lord's between June 18-June 22.
Close
India beat England in 4th Test to win series 3-1 and qualify for World Test Championship final(PTI)
India beat England in 4th Test to win series 3-1 and qualify for World Test Championship final(PTI)

India outclass England by inn & 25 runs to win series 3-1, qualify for WTC final

PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 03:49 PM IST
India vs England: Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin starred with the ball again while Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar were outstanding with the bat for the hosts in the fourth Test. India win fourth Test in Ahmedabad to take series 3-1 and qualify for the World Test Championship final.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP