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Lawmaker MCC suggests cricket balls could be altered

Utsav Agarwal
602   //    14 Jul 2016, 21:51 IST
Cricket ball
The cricket ball looks set to be changed

Each year, batsmen need to change about 40 bats per year only to intimidate the bowlers, who can now have the option to modify the cricket balls. Cricket’s lawmaker, The Marylebone Cricket Club recently released a study which said that the drier willows that are used these days lead to the breaking of so many bats.

“There are increasing concerns for the safety of close fielders, bowlers and umpires,” said the report.  It further read: “The bats nowadays tend to be drier, so they can contain a higher volume of wood than the older bats. The disadvantage of this is that the bats will break more easily.”

The report said: “Top players tend to look for a narrower grain in the willow. In general, they are much more selective than they used to be and will get through a huge number of bats – up to 40 per year for some players.”

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Famous bat manufacturers like Kookaburra and Gunn and Moore have acknowledged that a bat gauge can be used as a sensible way of controlling the size and shape of the bats, according to the report. The report further read: “They generally felt that restricting the maximum edge depth to 30-35mm, and maximum overall depth to 60-65mm, would be acceptable. They felt that there would still be room for skilful bat development within these limits.”

The MCC suggests that many commercial considerations need to be taken into account too. This means that tournaments like the Indian Premier League organised by the BCCI will have a major say in this because it acts like a cash-cow for the board.

The report further said: “There are credible reasons for not making any changes that would alter the balance of the game.”

It further added: “There are obvious commercial benefits of the game being more attractive to as diverse an audience as possible. In certain tournaments, such as the Indian Premier League, the sixes are sponsored, making it financially beneficial to the sponsor, and therefore to the Board in receipt of the funds, that the sixes are hit more often.” It further added: “Any limit of the bat's power could have an effect on revenues.”

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With the modification of bats out of question, the MCC suggested that modifying the ball still remains a possibility. Ball manufacturers like Dukes, Tiflex and Kookaburra claim that they could provide more spin by increasing the core mass and by using heavier thread to make the seam much more prominent and improve grip.

They can provide more seam by altering the stitching by using heavier thread and polishing it to make the seam more prominent and increase endurance.

They can also provide more swing by making a small alteration to the size and shape of the core or they can also use a two-piece ball to add to the swing. A final decision can only be made after the consultation of scientists and the bat manufacturers.

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