I Read an interesting article http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/587871.html on Cricket Australia using Duke and SG Balls @ under-age level, so that their bowlers can get a hang of how to play in sub continent and England when they visit early next year.
I remember Sean Cary(from my research on Academy), he was non-residence recruit to Academy in 1994- he played for WA as a fast bowler, now he is Senior Operation manager for Cricket Australia. It is a wonderful thought to have such program. But, this change of ball also means less of Kookaburra sold in Australia, which will effect its maker and employment.
Hence my query is “Why can’t there be a “one” universal ball-manufacture for all cricket playing country??
This manufacturer than would make 2 type of separate balls for Test and ODIs, and perhaps dabble with a different ball for T20 format, perhaps a larger size!. This format(T20) seems to be more acceptable to all, as there is a greater increase of non-cricketing audience watching T20 all over the world. And right now, irrespective of condition(pitch and weather)given, runs are hard to come by in this format. Therefore if one can increase the size & weight of ball slightly by say, 10 grams and 1inch circumference, than we might see more runs off the bat. To find out whether it works, one can try this theory as an experiment at grade cricket level.
Solution on one ball used for one format: There are not many manufacture in sport industry of Int standard, therefore it would be a good idea for all of them to come up with a top notch quality and send it to ICC/MCC approval. The chosen one will manufacture balls for all format, and other manufacture can have liaison with the chosen one, planting their unit in non-based countries, which will not only increase employment, but also smooth flow of supplies!
Another option would be to …all unite together and come up with a formula to produce a universal ball, which would be approved by ICC/MCC.
Each manufacturer can have his base in his home country, and in this case, there would not be dearth of quality and quantity. The country having less cricket will be manufacturing and selling less balls, hence their business won’t be effected.
The question would be – how many International manufactures are there, and whether Test playing nation have capability to produce the required approved product?. Now, if this has to happen (one universal ball) then one thing is certain, bowling essence in terms of “type of balls used” will be dismissed, and then bowlers would have to rely heavily on surface(which, is fast getting universal sameness) and skill only.
This is a fair call for batsmen as some balance is thrown to them, considering(like bowlers) they cannot take advantage of weather and pitch!.
Here is a list of Test playing nation, and their domestic season.
|Test playing country||Domestic season|
|India||Sept – Jan|
|Sri Lanka||Jan -March|
|Pakistan||Oct – Dec|
|South Africa||Sept – March|
|New Zealand||Oct – Feb|
|Australia||Sept – March|
|England||April – Sept|
|West Indies||Jan – April (Oct)|
|Associate members||Test country’s domestic season|
Therefore i reckon ‘weather’ would be the key factor for these countries. Now that we are witnessing global weather change, it would be very difficult to predict how weather fluctuates in each country and month-wise, and its effect on surface and ball.
Leading to another query……..Cricket, also needs to have ‘universal pitch condition”.
Here I am not suggesting exact condition(which is never possible)…but a difference of 15-25% in each format is passable. And difference between each grounds in sub continent nation should not be more than 5-10% . Hence a difference of not more than 15-25% in each format should be benefit all. This only help cricketers to perform better at all-level, enabling a demand for cricket in global market.
Cricket uniqueness(of pitch condition and weather effectiveness) is good for audience, but for long run, its not benefiting players and cricket itself – unless you are only playing Test match through out year in all Test playing nation.
And countries like Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Namibia, Kenya, Singapore, UAE, Afghanistan, can have their teams participate in these countries at domestic level. This should help minnow play better and competitive cricket.