Either it’s a national or International match, the quality of a ball is cardinal during Cricket. This predominant factor allows a pacemaker to be outstanding in their swing and sway expertise. Hence today, we will talk as much as possible about Cricket balls, what goes into the manufacturing process, the components and differences between various types of Cricket balls.
What leather goes into making Cricket balls?
We all know, Cricket balls are sewed and stitched together with a leather exterior. In terms of leather, Cowhides are considered the best leather to manufactures these balls. Cowhide is generally the unbleached skin or hair extracted from cattle, be it Ox, buffalo, or cow. After extraction, it is processed into leather, which is used in making a cricket ball.
Cowhide is one of the cheapest leathers, which makes it a favorable element in making Cricket balls.
What are the components of leather Cricket Balls?
Like human skin, leather cricket balls have many layers seamed together to keep them intact, just enough to provide it the required bounce and full speed power.
If you ever cut open a cricket ball, the first layer is the cowhide leather layer. The second one is twine, which a thread or string twisted together. After that comes a cork, the outer part of a bark tree. Although light, cork is a very tough material. Eventually comes the bounce factor, Cork rubber.
You can see seaming lines and threading done on the outer edge to keep all of those materials above in harmony. The cork and leather used in the core inner part and the topmost outer layer sustain the longevity of the Cricket ball.
What goes into the manufacturing process?
The basic steps into manufacturing a Cricket ball are:
- And Finally Polishing
The Red Cricket ball was the first to be manufactured in the history of cricket balls. In terms of ingredients, it’s the same for women and men cricket balls. However, there is a disparity in the weight. Women’s cricket balls are lighter in comparison.
First and Second Steps: Pressing and Cutting
The primary step is the seasoning of the leather to give it color and excellent presentation.
- Cleansing of leather
A professional will clean the cowhide of any blemishes and scratches are set apart. Only the purest material goes further in the process.
After the cleansing step, the color comes into play. According to the match; the ball is either dyed white or red. A white ball is used in one day and T20 matches; and for test matches, the pacer swings a red ball in the field.
- Cutting leather sheets
Post shading, leather is cut into desired pieces that can be either four or two depending on the leather used.
The process further moves into strengthening the material and enhancing its flexibility through stretching, squeezing, bending to avoid stiffness.
Third Step: Stitching
This step is kind of the rough stitch, although it is equivalent to good strength. Two or more leather pieces are stitched together with thick thread for a firm assemble, which is also the subsequent step.
Fourth Step: Assembling
It is one of the manual steps in the manufacturing process. With the help of manual tools, the cork ball and the leather pieces are binds together with even sturdy threads.
The operators add around 60-80 artful, beautiful stitches that assemble the ball but with an appealing finish before the leather ball moves to polish.
Fifth Step: Polishing
Now for the final looks, the leather ball is:
- Firstly, pressed to give the round shape.
- For Branding and any other requirements; a heat-sealed gold foil is stamped.
- Finally, the leather ball is polished with lacquer for swing and shine.
Weight and Dimension
Like most things in a Cricket match, a ball’s form is also regulated and should be made in specific standards for men’s and women’s cricket. For women, the leather cricket balls are much lighter, 115.9 to 121.9 gm, while for men, they are between 155.9 and 163gm.
Best Leather Cricket Balls
Some of the best leather balls that are out there in the market are:
1. SG Cricket Balls
The most prized category is the SG Tournament, the four-piece, waterproof leather ball comes with shape retention and scuff resistance. It has a rigid stitch work and comes in red color. SG Tournament is a little expensive in comparison to their other creations.
2. Duke Cricket Balls
Mainly used in the Test matches by England, West Indies, and Ireland, the Duke’s Cricket ball only use the best-imported leather for the Cricket leather balls. The ball manufacturing process alone is top-notch, with layers of stitching and multiple seams to add more swing.
These leather Cricket ball retain their shape and shine and are pretty durable.
3. Kookaburra Cricket Balls
Kookaburra has tapped into the market of the best leather balls with creations like the Kookaburra Pace ball and Kookaburra Super Test.
A competitive sport like Cricket always demands the best leather balls that can retain their shape, shine and stand the test of time. These leather cricket balls are more than just merely a tool in the sport. They made history and kept us entertained.