Often referred to as “The Gentlemen’s Game,” cricket is played around the world. Being a popular sport, cricket has a huge fan following across the globe, with many cricketers enjoys the status of a celebrity. Not just cricket is a vibrant sport, but it is exciting to watch. Over the past couple of decades, the game of cricket has evolved a lot. Not only the test matches have been able to uphold their charm, but various other formats of the game like 50 overs tournaments, 20 leagues, and cricket clubs are entertaining the crowd in almost all continents. The two things that summarize the game of cricket are “bat and ball,” and the latter is the most important because cricket without a ball is not possible. Ball in cricket is the centerpiece of the game.
Like the game has evolved over the past few decades, the cricket ball has also witnessed some transformation. Today, cricket balls are made in a huge variety, color, and sizes, depending on the game’s format. Every cricket ball is made with a purpose and offers specific benefits. People generally have a misconception that the price of a cricket ball is due to the quality, but in reality, it is not. Hundreds of cricket balls are made every day for different formats of the game. Thus selecting the right cricket ball is also very important because, as stated above, cricket balls are made in variety, color, and sizes for a different format.
Here is a quick guide to help you choose the right cricket ball as per the cricket format you play. No matter whether you are an expert or not. Knowledge about the cricket ball will help you choose the right one for the format you play. The first thing you have to do before approaching a sports equipment store to buy a cricket ball is to ask yourself some questions:
- Do you want to buy the cricket ball for gully cricket or local tournament or recreational matches?
- Do you want to buy the cricket ball for league matches?
- Do you want to buy a cricket ball for training sessions or personal practice?
Types of Cricket Ball To Choose From
Cricket balls come in all shapes and sizes and are manufactured for different purposes. The type of cricket ball is directly related to the material used in its manufacturing.
- The red cork cricket ball is common in International and national Test Matches.
- White cork cricket balls are frequently seen in 50 overs matches or limited over cricket matches.
- Pink cricket balls are recently introduced in Day-Night test matches because of better visibility under the lights.
- Soft training cricket balls are widely used for juniors and small children to enhance hand-eye coordination.
- Tennis cricket balls are also very commonly used for playing cricket. Tennis ball cricket has a separate fan base and is mostly played in South Asia.
Material Used In The Cricket Ball
a. The core of the ball
Layers of folded cork strips and stiff wound strings are used to make the cricket ball’s inner core. These are the two most significant element which decides the shape and bounce of the ball. You might have seen matches where the ball was bouncing too much, and the bowler was testing the pull shots of the batsmen. These two elements play an essential role in the fortune of the game.
b. Outer Part of the Ball
The exterior of almost all cricket balls is made up of fine quality leather. The leather can be cut into 4 or 2 pieces depending on the type of ball being made. Once the ball is made, it is seasoned, dyed, and tanned before going for the final assembling, which involves stitching and polishing. 4 piece cricket balls are mostly used in Test cricket matches.
The seam of the cricket ball is another outer part, which is quite impressive. It is created by stitching two leather halves or four halves depending on the type of cricket ball manufactured. Like the layers of folded cork strips and stiff wound strings, the seam plays a significant role in deciding the fate of the game.
Stitching around the seam is another sign of the quality of the cricket ball. Cricket ball for test matches generally has 78 to 82 stitches, while cricket balls used in training and practice sessions have 55 stitches. The final step that decides the quality of the cricket ball is the finishing, which involves polish. Quality cricket balls have a very fine layer of polish, whereas cheap balls are covered with a thicker layer of polish.
Size and Weight of Cricket Ball
The cricket ball’s size and weight must not differ from the regulations imposed by the International Cricket Council. Size and weight also play a significant role in the game because these two factors decide the balance of the ball. A well-balanced ball is more stable and safe while playing.
- For men’s cricket, the weight should be between 155.9 grams or 5 1/2 ounces & 163 gram / 5 ¾ ounces.
- The size for men’s cricket should be between 813/16 in/22.4 cm & 9 in/22.9 cm in the perimeter.
- For Women’s cricket, the weight should be from 415/16 ounces/140g to 55/16 ounces 151g.
- For Women’s cricket, the size (circumference) from 8 1/4 in/21.0 cm to 87/8 in/22.5 cm.
- For junior cricket (under 13), the weight should be from 411/16 ounces/133g to 51/16 ounces 144g.
- For junior cricket (under 13), the size should be from 81/16 in/20.5 cm to 811/16 in/22.0cm.
Leading Cricket Ball Brands To Choose From
- Kookaburra is the leading cricket ball manufacturer in the world.
- Dukes is also a reputed and renowned cricket ball manufacturer.
- SG is a popular Indian brand in cricket ball manufacturing.
Other popular cricket ball brands are Moore, Gunn, Slazenger, and CA cricket balls.
Other Factors To Look Into When Buying a Cricket Ball Are As Follows
Budget: The more you can spend is directly related to the quality of the ball you can buy. Premium quality international level cricket balls can last for more than 100 overs and maintains the shape and bounce.
Purpose of the Cricket Ball: Synthetic balls are ideal for kids. For aspiring cricketers, a leather cricket ball is recommended. Cheap and hard balls should always be avoided because they break bats and be a reason for injuries.