ECB sticks with 2018 Dukes ball for Ashes | Daily News

ECB sticks with 2018 Dukes ball for Ashes

The Dukes ball is favoured by England’s bowlers who found the 2018 design particularly productive.
The Dukes ball is favoured by England’s bowlers who found the 2018 design particularly productive.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that this year’s Tests will be played using a more bowler-friendly ball, one different to the county cricket model, with manufacturer Dukes asked to produce a new batch to the same specifications used in 2018.

It will be a popular decision with Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and the rest of England’s fast bowlers since the 2018 ball had a more pronounced seam. It might not go down quite so well with their batsmen, or Australia’s, since last season was one of the most difficult for Test batting since the turn of the century.

The ECB had asked Dukes to produce a new ball with a tighter seam for county cricket this year, to make life a little easier for batsmen who had been struggling on early season pitches.

There have been some sizeable totals in the championship so far, but Ashley Giles, the ECB’s director of cricket, said he was worried that using the same ball in Test cricket would make life a little too comfortable for the batsmen. “It’s about having a fair contest,” Giles said. “My concern was this ball would make conditions too batter-friendly on Test pitches in mid-summer.”

Giles said he had already discussed the switch with Anderson and Broad, as well as Cricket Australia. The Test ball is actually more similar to the one the Australians have been using in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons, and the ECB will make it available to the tourists for use in practice and their warm-up matches ahead of the Ashes.

The ECB had tried to keep a stash of last year’s balls for use this season. “We weren’t ringing around the country asking for 18 balls,” said Giles, “We have got some, but nowhere near enough.” The balls cost £60 each and 600 of them are required for the series.


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