November 30, 2008

Balls of fury

Jamie Alter

Division One Premier League teams in Sri Lanka are at odds with their country's governing body over the supply of cricket balls. Members of certain clubs have, according to the Sunday Times, complained that Pakistan-made Grays balls have been provided this year instead of the usual Kookaburra make. The Grays ball apparently has a slightly protruded seam, which gives new-ball bowlers an undue advantage of producing generous swing.

“This time the Premier League Tournament is going to be used as the yardstick to pick the final lineup for the Provincial Tournament which is going to be branded as our main tournament," said an irate member of one club. "However, when bowlers with less skills have taken a lot of wickets not owing to their own skills, but the bad quality of the ball, there may be lopsided selections. That might be a very dangerous situation.”

Another player raised the issue of injury, citing the number of injuries when fielders stop the ball or go for catches. For their part, the SLC said they had not received any complaints and that the Grays ball had been provided to the national team, without any disapproval. Sidath Wettimuny, now an administrator, said that if Pakistan use the Grays ball for Tests then the SLC could do the same in club cricket.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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