New balls! Sheffield Shield pill gets an overdue upgrade
CRICKET Australia will trial a refined Kookaburra red ball in the Sheffield Shield.
The subtle difference will be in the lining of the leather, and is designed to keep the ball firmer for longer during play.
The change comes in response to feedback from players and coaches, who generally feel the Kookaburra ball could maintain its firm seam for longer periods to maximise the potential for swing and movement.
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Kookaburra has been working on the upgrade for more than three years, and it's been trialled in lower grades with "encouraging results", according to Cricket Australia.
"We were set a small challenge by CA and its playing group and our research and development team had a number of existing concepts that could potentially meet this challenge," Kookaburra managing director Brett Elliott said.
"The new leather lining concept is something we've worked on internally for a number of years and we're now happy to partner further with CA on it to see if there's benefit to the game."
The upgraded ball will be used in rounds five and six of the Shield and then Cricket Australia and Kookaburra will seek more feedback.
The Dukes ball will be used again from round seven onwards, as has been done in past seasons.