View Full Version : SG or Kookaburra?

October 2, 2009, 02:55 AM
Thought this is an interesting debate:


A debate rages on whether Indian Domestic Cricket starting from Duleep Trophy should switch to the International Standard Kookaburra Ball. The international level Indians players are strongly supporting the stand. However, there are a lot of issues that must be dealt with before this switch is made.

Kookaburra or SG is the new contest for the Indian Cricket Fan to watch. International Players who seldom play domestic matches want Kookaburra Balls to be used in Duleep Trophy. Their argument is that a bowler must have international exposure and since a Kookaburra is widely accepted as standard outside the subcontinent, they strongly advocate using it in high-profile domestic tournaments. So far, so good. The intentions are noble and agreed, such a move will benefit the Budding Cricketers a much-needed shot of what real International Cricket is like. However, there are far many cons to this idea than the pros.

The SG Ball is preferred in Indian conditions since they are easier to work upon. Spinners find it easier to grip of its seam. Unlike grounds in foreign countries, the Indian outfields are hard. Thus a ball like Kookaburra which does not have a pronounced seam flattens in a matter of 20 overs of play. This renders the ball virtually useless for the players to optimize their skills. It offers little or no help to fast bowlers when it comes to swinging. Since its leather does not peel off, it becomes very difficult to reverse swing the ball, unless the bowlers come up with their own techniques like the England Bowlers did in 2005 Ashes. In a game which of late has become lopsided as a batsman-oriented game, employing a ball which makes the bowler’s task all the more difficult does not make sense.

A very important factor that prevents Kookaburra from becoming a part of Indian cricket is its cost. While a SG Ball comes for 800 bucks, a Kookaburra is almost 6 times pricier at Rs. 4500 a piece. In a situation where many associations don’t use SG because it cannot fit their budget, Kookaburra is not even a distant dream. So even if BCCI considers subsiding the balls or form an agreement and get Kookaburras manufactured in India, it will not be of great help if these balls are not used uniformly across all domestic tournaments.

October 2, 2009, 02:59 AM
My vote goes for SG. Subcontinental pitches are not bowler friendly, so if a ball tilt the balance in favor of bowlers a little here it should be used to make matches more sporting.

IMO, BCB also should make SG balls standard for Bangladeshi domestic leagues, so that our batsmen learn to handle seam and spin movement better.

October 2, 2009, 03:06 AM
Wasim Akram on the issue -

The BCCI is in favour of phasing out the SG ball in favour of the Kookaburra. Is this a wise move?

Absolutely not. The SG starts reversing early, the seam aids swing and spin. I don't understand this fuss about the Kookaburra just because it's cheaper. It has flaws: the seam absolutely disappears, it stops swinging. Your grip slips. Are there laws stating Kookaburra must be used? If not, why negate home advantage? Let every country use its own unique variety.


October 2, 2009, 03:30 AM
I was thinking along the same lines as Wasim Akram. Each country hosting should adopt their own brand according to their situations. There are standards for International Matches, and other manufacturers should try and create balls according to those standards too. To give one manufacturer the sole privilege is not right, especially when their balls wear out quicker in certain conditions than others.

October 2, 2009, 03:56 AM
In this matter, it's very interesting to read what was Bob Woolmer's view on different kind of balls -

Treating the ball (http://blogs.cricinfo.com/wicket_to_wicket/archives/2006/03/treating_the_ba.php)

At international level there are three basic balls used. In the UK the Duke ball, in Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and New Zealand the Kookaburra, and in India the SG ball.

I reckon the battle for the Test cricket ball would make an interesting story. Some of the domestic battles too would make interesting reading. Take away the political side, though, as it is important to understand what affect a ball has on the game• The Duke & SG balls are both handmade while the Kookaburra is machine-made.

• The subtle differences are the treatment of the leather surfaces and the height and quality of the seam.

• The Kookaburra is generally redder in colour and swings from the word go, and for the first 30 overs is quite difficult to play against on a helpful surface

• The Duke is a much darker red (enjoyed by the bowlers), does not swing from the start but as the lacquer used on the ball wears off, it swings conventionally.

• Please note that in the Duke ball in the subcontinent and Africa the external surfaces wear away very quickly and therefore it does not last long in the harder rougher conditions.

• The SG ball is redder in colour and almost identical to the Duke but hardly swings at all. Contrary to the words of many commentators, the SG ball is not easy to reverse swing and it offers no greater reverse than the Kookaburra balls.

• The Kookaburra keeps its shine longer but starts to soften after 35-40 overs and batting becomes a lot easier as it seems to get softer and loses the seam. Reverse swing is less than the Duke ball.

• This is only in the UK because, as I said earlier, the Duke ball cannot survive subcontinent conditions because of the way the leather is treated.

• SG retains its seam but can become fat in the hand. The spin bowler can get the grip and purchase he needs from the seam and therefore in India where the pitches turn predominantly they are preferred.

• The Duke ball is excellent for English conditions. Tt starts to shine up after the initial lacquer has worn off. In the swifter conditions it swings and the larger seams are needed for the slower conditions. It also reverses well as Simon Jones showed during the Ashes series in 2005.
Generally, and it is reflected by the countries using the balls, they reflect the bowlers requests. The bowlers prefer to use the Kookaburra which swings although every spinner will tell you he likes to grip the SG ball. In the UK the Duke ball is favourite.

October 2, 2009, 04:16 AM
Aakash Chopra's view on the matter-

Decoding the SG and Kookaburra (http://blogs.cricinfo.com/beyondtheblues/archives/2009/02/decoding_the_sg_and_kookaburra_1.php)

I'll start with the SG Test ball first, which has a more pronounced seam and which remains pronounced for almost the entire length of the innings. The pronounced seam helps the faster bowlers release the ball in an upright seam position, as it doesn't wobble much after the release, and it helps the spinners grip the ball better and also get purchase off the pitch because the seam enables the ball to grip the surface.

The SG Test ball doesn't swing much when it's new but as soon as one side (half) of the ball becomes shinier than the other, it starts swinging appreciably. The good thing for the bowlers is that the shine lasts longer and hence helps both the quicker bowlers as well as the slower ones. The quicker men get swing in the air and the slower bowlers get the essential drift.

Though the Kookaburra ball also has a pronounced seam, it fades away rather quickly. The new ball does all kinds of things in the air and off the surface but once the seam gets embedded in the surface (which happens too quickly for the bowlers' liking), it ceases to move quite as much. The lack of a pronounced seam not only makes it difficult for spinners to grip the ball but it also denies them purchase off the surface because the ball, instead of gripping the turf, just skids along.

Finger spinners are the worst hit in this case and hence have to put a lot of revolutions (we call it work) on the ball to get something off the track. Wrist spinners face no such problem as they don't rely on the seam to grip the surface to get the desired amount of spin. One can always put more work on the ball with the wrist as compared to the fingers.

Now, there's a particular way to bowl with different balls. The faster bowlers who release the ball instead of hitting the deck are fairly successful with the SG Test ball. Since the shine stays for longer and so does the pronounced seam, the ball swings and seams the whole day if one can release the ball with an upright seam on a regular basis.

On the contrary, the Kookaburra ball doesn't swing even half as much once it gets old. One must hit the surface hard to get something out of it. The typical swing bowlers are easy picking as the ball doesn't do much in the air or off the surface once it loses its shine.

October 2, 2009, 08:31 AM
Depend on what is your goal. If your goal is to produce some good fast bowlers (every team should have this goal) then go with the flow. Change some pitches. If your goal is to extract advantage from the surface and produce spinners who would spin out the opponents like the bedi group then keep the SCs in the local tourney.

October 2, 2009, 09:44 AM
I don't care much about Indian cricket, but these are interesting articles in that they provoke thoughts about what we should use in the NCL, DPL, etc. Given the nature of our surfaces, the successes of our slower bowlers, the fact that each nation can only specialize in particular aspects of the game and the favorable grip and turn that the SG offers to the spinners, perhaps it's time to drop the Kookabura (assuming the contents of good ol' Bobby boy's article still hold)?

October 2, 2009, 10:45 PM
I don't care much about Indian cricket, but these are interesting articles in that they provoke thoughts about what we should use in the NCL, DPL, etc. Given the nature of our surfaces, the successes of our slower bowlers, the fact that each nation can only specialize in particular aspects of the game and the favorable grip and turn that the SG offers to the spinners, perhaps it's time to drop the Kookabura (assuming the contents of good ol' Bobby boy's article still hold)?
That's my thinking too. In Test cricket, our bowling attack is dependent on finger spinners (Shakib and Enamul/Suhrawardi). We have couple of good seamers too (Mashrafe, Rasel, and may be also Dollar). It may give us a big advantage if we adapt SG ball for home Tests, against opponents who are rather comfortable against Kookaburra ball. For that reason, it also makes sense to use SG ball for NCL so that our players get used to it.

Also, from what I have read so far, my impression is that practicing with SG ball may prepare us better to face Duke ball in England in May, better than practicing with Kookaburra may do.

However, we should play all one-day and T20 matches with Kookaburra or similar balls, since that's the standard everywhere.

October 3, 2009, 12:08 AM
What about our domestic cricket? What ball do we use? Why?

October 3, 2009, 01:34 AM
What about our domestic cricket? What ball do we use? Why?
Not sure about that. For DPL super six, BCB generally buys Kookaburra balls; for regular league some cheaper (much cheaper) balls made in India or Pakistan.

October 3, 2009, 10:24 AM
Well, in 1st division it was very poor quality ball. I even saw to change the ball after 1.2 overs when batsman hit ball hardly and the shape of the ball had been changed with one strong hit. ;)
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comhttp://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/ /><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P><P><FONT color=black><FONT face=It was on 2001/02 season. Still they use that kind of ball?

One World
October 3, 2009, 12:27 PM