The cricket ball is a solid, hard ball used in cricket matches. It is made of cork with a leather cover stitched on top. There are specific rules for the manufacture of cricket balls at first-class level. There are two types of cricket balls: red and pink. Red balls are used in all cricket matches, while pink balls are used for day-night Test cricket.
- Red cricket ball
There are two types of cricket balls. The red one is used in all test matches, while the white one is mostly used in ODIs and over-40’s tournaments. Choosing the right one is crucial for the game. Red cricket balls are the most common, but teams can also choose other colors for specific matches.
Originally, the only types of cricket balls were red, white, and orange. Later, the color of the ball was made pink, and green and black seams were added to the ball. The pink color was introduced as an alternative to the red ball when Australian players started playing Day-Night matches. Optic yellow and bright orange balls were also considered as alternatives, but these balls were not effective in patchy outfields.
The red cricket ball is lighter than the white ball, making it more useful in daytime matches. However, its single layer of wax makes it prone to wear and tear. It also takes on a brown color when exposed to yellow-white floodlights. Nevertheless, it blends better with the pitch when played under dark conditions. In day matches, red cricket balls are more visible and will help the batsmen to score more runs.
- Pink cricket ball
A pink cricket ball is much more visible under floodlights and is therefore more suitable for day-night Test cricket. The red ball is hard to detect in the dark, making it difficult for players to judge its speed in such situations. The pink ball is also heavier and harder to field, which means a fielder needs to exert extra effort to throw it out of the boundary. The introduction of the pink cricket ball is intended to help the sport gain popularity again.
The first day-night Test was played in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. The pink ball proved to be more visible and improved spectator interest. Since this match was a success, Cricket Australia decided to organise more day-night Tests. In total, nine day-night Tests were played in Australia.
The pink ball is less likely to fade than the red ball, making it more visible in dark conditions. The red cricket ball is unsuitable for day-night Test cricket due to its red color, which becomes less visible after sunset. The pink cricket ball has been introduced to ODI and test matches and is gradually making its way into a wider range of formats. The pink ball is also softer than the red ball, so it swings more during the initial overs and has a higher seam moment.
- Kookaburra cricket ball
Kookaburra cricket balls are made in Australia and have been used in international cricket games since the beginning of the sport. They are made of natural leather that comes in an off-white shade. Unlike the original red ball, Kookaburra covers the leather with a pure white finish so that the ball remains bright and visible in many games. However, the main problem with white balls is that they tend to scratch easily and pick up dirt. That is why two new balls are used for every inning and at each end of the game.
The Kookaburra cricket ball is handmade in Australia using the finest materials. It is the oldest cricket ball that is still used in international cricket games. It was originally made for the 1956 Olympics and uses first grade alum tanned steer hide. These cricket balls are designed to be durable and spinner-friendly.
The pink cricket ball has been in use for nine years and was used in a charity match in 2006. The Marylebone Cricket Club, the custodian of the Laws of Cricket, asked manufacturers to produce a pink ball to be used during the day and night games. Kookaburra was the first to answer this challenge. They were able to find a shade that was suitable for the first game. Since then, the company has continued to develop the perfect shade.
The Kookaburra cricket ball is hand-stitched. Its stitching on the outer side is not as strong as that on the inner side. Its stitching on the outside is made of more threads. In comparison to the Kookaburra cricket ball, the threads on the SG ball are closer together.
Multiple Rules for Replacing a Cricket Ball
Cricket balls will not last forever and they will need to be replaced at various points in the game. As a result, it is important for umpires to be aware of the rules for replacing a cricket ball. This is to maintain a balance between the bowling and batting sides, and ensure that fielding teams are given a fair chance of competing.
The first rule regarding replacing a cricket ball is that you need to be aware of the condition of the cricket ball. If it has significant discolouration or is damaged beyond repair, the umpires are required to change it. However, the ball does not have to be out of shape.
Whenever it is necessary to change a cricket ball, the umpires must confirm the weight and size of the replacement ball. The ball cannot weigh more than 5.75 ounces and should be between 8.81 inches and 22 cm in circumference. The umpires must also inform the batsman and the scorer about the replacement.
Replacement of a cricket ball may be necessary for a variety of reasons. For instance, a ball may have become damaged after the first innings or it could be due to extensive wear. This may lead to leather splitting or a ball losing its shape. When this happens, the third umpire will bring out a variety of previously used balls and will choose a ball in similar condition.