- Cricket ball
A cricket ball is a hard, solid leather ball used to play cricket. Constructed of cork and leather, a cricket ball is heavily regulated by cricket law at first class level. The manipulation of a cricket ball, through employment of its various physical properties, is the staple component of bowling and dismissing batsmen – movement in the air, and off the ground, is influenced by the condition of the ball and the efforts of the bowler, while working on the cricket ball to obtain an optimum condition is a key role of the fielding side. The cricket ball is the principal manner through which the batsman scores runs, by manipulating the ball into a position where it would be safe to take a run, or by directing the ball through the boundary.
In Test cricket and most domestic games that spread over a multitude of days, the cricket ball is traditionally coloured red. In many one day cricket matches, the ball is coloured white. Training balls of white, red and pink are also common, and wind balls and tennis balls in a cricket motif can be used for training or unofficial cricket matches. During cricket matches, the quality of the ball changes to a point where it is no longer usable, and during this decline its properties alter and thus influence the match. Altering the state of the cricket ball outside the permitted manners designated in the rules of cricket is prohibited during a match, and 'ball tampering' has resulted in numerous controversies.
Cricket balls, weighing between 155.9 and 163.0 grams, are known for their hardness and for the risk of injury involved when using them. The danger of cricket balls was a key motivator for the introduction of protective equipment. Injuries are often recorded in cricket matches due to the ball, and a small number of fatalities have been recorded or attributed to cricket balls.
Cricket ball is made from a core of cork, which is layered with tightly wound string, 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 a total of six rows of stitches. The remaining two joins between the leather pieces are stitched internally. Lower-quality balls with a 2-piece covering are also popular for practice and lower-level competition due to their lower purchase cost.
For men's cricket, the ball must weigh between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (155.9 and 163.0 g) and measure between 8 13/16 and 9 in (224 and 229 mm) in circumference. Balls used in women's and youth matches are slightly smaller.
Cricket balls are traditionally dyed red, and red balls are used in Test cricket and First-class cricket. White balls were introduced when one-day matches began being played at night under floodlights, as they are more visible at night. Professional one-day matches are now played with white balls, even when they are not played at night. Other colours have occasionally been experimented with, such as yellow and orange for improved night visibility, but the colouring process has so far rendered such balls unsuitable for professional play because they wear differently to standard balls. A pink ball was used for the first time in an international match in July 2009 when the England Woman's team defeated Australia at Wormsley . The white ball has been found to swing a lot more during the first half of the innings than the red ball and also deteriorates more quickly, although manufacturers claim that white and red balls are manufactured using the same methods and materials.
Cricket balls are expensive. As of 2007, the ball used in first class cricket in England has a recommended retail price of 70 pounds sterling. In test match cricket this ball is used for a minimum of 80 overs (theoretically five hours and twenty minutes of play). In professional one day cricket, at least two new balls are used for each match. Amateur cricketers often have to use old balls, or cheap substitutes, in which case the changes in the condition of the ball may not be experienced in the same manner as that which occurs during an innings of professional cricket.
All ODI matches are played with Kookaburra balls but Test Matches in India are played with SG cricket balls. And when England hosts a International test match, they use "Duke cricket balls" whereas in all other Test Matches, Kookaburra balls come in.
In October 2011 new changes of introduced in ODI format to use two white balls in an inning - one from either end. This also removes the mandatory change of ball after 34th over. The first series with this new format was played between India and England in October 2011 when England toured India.
Dangers of cricket balls
Cricket balls are notoriously hard and potentially lethal, hence today's batsmen and close fielders often wear protective headgear. Indian Cricketer, Raman Lamba died when a cricket ball hit his head in a club match in Dhaka. Lamba was fielding at forward short-leg without wearing a helmet, the ball struck by batsman Mehrab Hossain hit him hard on his head and rebounded to wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud during a club match in Bangladesh. Other cricketers known to have died as a result of on-field injuries in a first-class fixture hit while batting: George Summers of Nottinghamshire on the head at Lord's in 1870, Abdul Aziz, the Karachi wicket-keeper, over the heart in the 1958-59 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final and Ian Folley of Lancashire, playing for Whitehaven in 1993.
Frederick, Prince of Wales is often said to have died of complications after being hit by a cricket ball, although in reality this is not true — although he was hit in the head by one, the real cause of his death was a burst abscess in a lung. Glamorgan player Roger Davis was almost killed by a ball in 1971 when he was hit on the head while fielding. The Indian batsman Nariman Contractor had to retire from the game after being hit by a ball on the head in the West Indies.
A cricket umpire died in 2009 in South Wales after being hit on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder.
Numerous injuries are reported to health institutions, worldwide, in relation to cricket ball injuries including ocular (with some players having lost eyes), cranial (head), dental (teeth), digital (fingers and toes) and testicular.
- Gollapudi, Nagraj. 'It's illegal, isn't it?' . 25 August 2008. http://content-rsa.cricinfo.com/england/content/story/366225.html?CMP=NLC-DLY (accessed August 26, 2008).
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