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January 23, 2009
The BCCI has asked SG, the ball manufacturers, for a clarification regarding the quality of balls supplied during the Ranji Trophy. It has been a trend, and a major concern, throughout the domestic competitions that the ball loses its shape regularly, and has to be changed often - sometimes as many as four to five times during the first session of a match.
The BCCI wants to know what the reasons behind the decline in the quality of balls are, and has given SG time to tell its side of the story. The ball is at its most vulnerable when it is fairly new, going out of shape - most often - upon hitting the concrete outside the boundaries.
Puneet Anand, managing director, SG, confirmed that they have received such communication from the BCCI. But he said he was confident BCCI was not looking at ending the association. "It has been 13-14 years since we started supplying balls. Feedback and improvement is a part of the process," Anand told DNA.
One of the reasons behind the frequent losing of shape could be underprepared balls because of a massive demand during the season. Unlike Kookaburra, SG balls are hand-made, and need time for drying. Another possible reason could be duplication, which players and officials don't rule out when speaking off the record. "Associations might have fallen short of supply as many balls might have been used for nets," Anand said. "They might have then gone to local markets to buy some more for stocking and duplication can creep in from there."
The SG balls are not being used in the on-going Duleep Trophy, the motive being helping players acclimatise to different balls - Kookaburra in this case.
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