Pronounced seam, darker red, harder core: The ball for India-England Test series

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The pronounced seam helps the both the fast bowler and the spinner in two ways. Firstly the higher seam gives the bowler a better grip with his fingers. And especially for the spinner, the better grip gives him ability to impart more spin on the ball. For both the quickie and spinner, when the ball with the pronounced seam hits the pitch, it will deviate more because the higher the seam, the more friction created by the ball on the surface. If you think about ball hitting the pitch with no friction created there would be no deviation. Like bowling on glass where you get no friction and the ball just skids off straight.” — Michael Holding

An uthi hui (pronounced) seam, a darker shade of crimson and a harder core to forestall the ball from changing into gentle early within the innings on Indian outfields. The official match ball used for the Test series in opposition to England will probably be a bit totally different in nature.

It will present ‘extra bounce’ and retain its hardness until the sixtieth over, in response to official ball suppliers Sanspareils Greenlands (SG).

The ball has been criticised previously throughout Test matches in India, even by captain Virat Kolhi and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Getting scuffed up early and dropping hardness inside the first 10 overs have been a few of the points raised by the gamers.

“An important change is the seam. It is more pronounced now. The spinners especially wanted a seam which they can grip and thereby get more revolutions on the ball,” Paras Anand, the advertising and marketing director of SG, stated.

Following suggestions from Indian gamers, together with the bowlers, the producers have improved the consistency of the hand-made ball to make it as near the end of a machine-made product.

Give me (darker) crimson

The India cricketers additionally had a color choice, a darker crimson.

SG modified the dye and ‘went back’ to the color the gamers have been used to when most of them first performed home cricket.

“They (Indian cricketers) were happier with the darker shade of red. Over a period of time, you don’t realise and you don’t see the change. So, what they felt was that the colour used to be a darker shade of red. We have gone back to that dark shade. That request came from the Indian team. I feel it is more psychological. But they believed if you use a darker colour, you get a good result. Not just one bowler, a group of bowlers has said that and they felt that the darker the leather, the more helpful it is for the bowlers. Someone gives feedback and you listen. Nobody was in favour of a lighter colour,” Anand says.

Former India pacer RP Singh stated there was no science to bowlers opting for a darker shade although there’s a sample. “There is a general feeling among fast bowlers that darker the ball the more it swings. There is no science to it,” he stated. A outstanding seam helps in gripping the ball higher. “With a less prominent seam, it is tougher to swing the ball and you have to bang it harder, which means you have to strain much more.”

SG has been the official provider for first-class cricket in India since 1993 and the suggestions from cricketers has prompted them to take a more in-depth take a look at their manufacturing course of.

Ravichandran Ashwin in motion throughout India’s Test series in opposition to Australia final month. (AP)

Ashwin was vocal concerning the change in nature of the SG ball previously.

“When I started playing Test cricket, the SG ball used to be top notch, and you could bowl with it even after the 70th or 80th over. The seam used to be standing up strong and straight. But it is not the same anymore,” Ashwin had informed the official broadcaster in the course of the residence series in opposition to West Indies in 2018.

In addition to the seam being extra pronounced, the Meerut-based producers have additionally tried to deal with the gamers’ concern concerning the ball getting gentle early in an innings. Extra hardness within the core, which is manufactured from cork, and shut high quality checks of the leather-based utilized in every batch has made the newest model long-lasting, the corporate says.

“Hardness will stay longer, say 50 to 60 overs. There will be something for the bowlers. The extra bounce too will help bowlers,” Anand claims.

During the house series in opposition to West Indies, Kohli had referred to as for the Dukes ball for use for Test cricket world wide, together with in India. “To have the ball scuffed up in five overs is not something that we have seen before. The quality of the ball used to be quite high before and I don’t understand the reason why it’s gone down,” Kohli had stated throughout that series.

He had expressed concern that the ‘soft ball’ was bringing down the impression of bowlers by 20 per cent in unforgiving Indian situations.

‘Kaizen’, the Japanese enterprise philosophy of fixed enchancment, is on the coronary heart of the method of ball growth, Anand says.

After speaking to the gamers in 2019, SG has been fine-tuning the manufacturing course of for 18 months and the newest model will probably be near 100 per cent constant in all elements and is one “players will like”, Anand provides.

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Post-2018 evolution

Former India pacer Irfan Pathan observed the evolution of the SG ball when India performed South Africa at residence in 2019.

“I felt the seam was a little more prominent and the ball was much harder when I was doing commentary for the India vs South Africa series. I remember in the Pune game, the way the fast bowlers were bowling, it seemed like they were not bowling with an SG ball, but with a Kookaburra ball. The ball has become of better quality and lasts longer. I think because the seam is a lot more upright, you will see the fast bowlers getting a lot of help as well,” Pathan stated.

Anand talks concerning the strict high quality management in the course of the course of of creating the ball.

“Before every batch is approved for production, the hardness of core and strength of the thread which is being used for stitching is matched to specifications. We have tried to ensure variation is as minimal as possible. It is all about training the people who stitch it (seam). They are very skilled but they just had to give that little bit extra. We have ensured stringent quality checks for a batch (500 to 1,000 balls each), be it the leather, the dye, the core. Everything is checked, batch-wise. There is so much consistency, it seems like it is machine made.”

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