Those who follow cricket would know that different kinds of balls are used for different games. Each ball has a different nature and tends to behave differently. There are three main manufactures who produce cricket balls (red, white and pink), namely Duke Ball, SG Ball, and Kookaburra Ball. Dukes are generally used in England and West Indies while India uses SG cricket balls. Kookaburra balls are the mostly used in Oceania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and all the three Asian countries excluding India. It is the dukes ball which will be used in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final which is all set to take place in English. However, what is the difference between the Dukes ball and the other balls? Today let’s have a look at the Duke Grade I Ball with which the ICC WTC Final will be played and how it is different from SG and Kookaboora.
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Duke and SG cricket balls are hand-stitched whereas the Kookaburra is half hand-stitched and half machine-stitched. The hand-stitch gives a good seam and the threads are closer to each other which makes it lasts longer than Kookaburra. the Kookaburra on the other hand is machine made. The latter also has a less prominent seam, which makes it move a lot less after the first 15–20 overs compared to the harder-wearing seams of the other two. The Dukes is a tad darker and has more lacquer on its surface than the SG, which makes it swing more
The duke ball is held by six rows which go back and forth across which helps in holding the ball together and getting a better grip for a longer period of time. It keeps the shape of the ball intact. The SG Ball uses a thicker thread to stitch the seam and it is much closer than the other balls. However, Kookaburra, has a two hand-stitched threads holding the two halves of the ball together. The outer row is stitched to have a good grip for the bowlers to hold.
The nature of the pitch and conditions are an underrated factor with respect to the usage of cricket balls. England generally has overcast conditions and green pitches which help in retaining the seam and shape of the ball. India, on the other hand, has rough conditions, and pitches tend to crack open. So, an SG ball is well suited since the thick thread keeps the ball intact for a longer period. A Dukes ball thus suits best in English conditions.