Kookaburra manufacturers, on Sunday (July 8), unveiled a ball exclusively designed for T20s, with the aim of introducing it across T20 leagues and international cricket in two years’ time.
The ‘Turf20’ ball is expected to remain harder for longer periods, which in turn could provide value for shots for the batsmen. On the other hand, the prouder seam could also assist bowlers. The ball was specifically designed to ensure it wouldn’t deteriorate over a period of time, with even bounce on offer. Presently, the same Kookaburra white ball is used in both the shorter versions of the game.On their part, Kookaburra manufactures reckon the ball would “promote balance between bat and ball”.
The ball was tested by employing an air cannon and wind tunnel. Last weekend, the manufacturers also conducted a trial of the new ball in a “blind test” in the Northern Territory Strike tournament. Kookaburra is set to test the ball over the next 18 months before launching it in 2020.
“As Twenty20 cricket evolved, Kookaburra thought there should be a way to create a ball specific to its needs rather than follow the traditional method of ball-making that is used in Test cricket,” Kookaburra spokesman Shannon Gill said.
“A Test ball is designed to gradually deteriorate over 80 overs, this is an integral element to Test cricket. Twenty20 cricket has evolved quite differently; the ball is only needed for 20 overs and the action is more intense and explosive than Test cricket. This means gradual deterioration is not as big a factor, instead a ball that meets the demands of the power hitting game has been created,” he added.
Gill also observed that the feedback received from the players, who played with the ‘Turf20’ ball in the NT Strike competition, was generally positive. “In follow-up feedback, the players responded they did not notice any difference to the way the ball played as far as bounce and speed, but there were comments on the improved hardness of the ball through the 20 overs,” he noted.
Alex Ross, the South Australia and Brisbane Heat batsman, who is playing for Desert Storm in the NT Strike league, endorsed the qualities of the ball for T20 cricket. “As long as it doesn’t bounce differently or change the nature of the game, that way it can only be a positive. I noticed later in my innings last week the ball was definitely harder and carried further – which is what you want in T20 cricket.”
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