CA to trial Dukes balls in Shield
Balls used for England-based Ashes series to be implemented for second half of next summer
30 March 2016, 11:30 AM AEST
Australia's bid for a long-awaited Ashes success in the UK will lead to the use of Dukes cricket balls in the second half of next season's Sheffield Shield.
Used for international cricket in the UK, the Dukes ball will feature in all Shield matches from rounds six to 10 as well as the final.
Quick Single: Shield final scorecard
During the first half of the season players will continue using the locally-made Kookaburra as they prepare for Test matches in Australian conditions where it is the ball of choice.
Australia haven't won an away Ashes series since 2001, managing just four victories from 20 Tests during the past four series on foreign soil.
"In recent times Australian teams travelling to England haven't adjusted well to local conditions and the swinging Dukes ball," said Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager of Team Performance.
"We have been on record saying that we will look at ways to address this deficiency and believe giving players greater experience with the Dukes ball is one way of doing just that.
"Some people might think changing a brand of cricket ball is a minor consideration, but as we have seen from past Ashes campaigns in England, it can be a significant factor.
"During the first half of the Sheffield Shield season we will continue using Kookaburra balls, as they are used for all international cricket here in Australia. Once our home Test matches are finished we will switch to Dukes balls for Sheffield Shield cricket as we begin focusing on winter tours, including the Ashes in 2019.
"We have had agreement from all State Associations about this change which recognises Australian cricket's combined determination to win an away Ashes series."
CA has previously used the Dukes ball in the national second XI competition, the Toyota Futures League for two seasons (2012-13 and 2013-14) and in recent National U17 and U19 National Championships.
Last August, former Test captain Ricky Ponting called on CA to make the change they have now adopted following Australia's Ashes capitulation at Trent Bridge, where they were bowled out for 60 on day one.
"One thing I am going to recommend as soon as I get home is that we actually change the balls we use in Australia," Ponting told ESPN Cricinfo. "I think we should be using Dukes balls in Australia now.
"I think it's been highlighted enough times that we struggle when the ball swings and seams. You go back two, three years ago when I was playing Shield cricket, (the) Hobart (pitch) got heavily criticised for doing too much but I batted there, but you could still make runs.
"Ed Cowan's making runs almost every time he batted on that wicket. You just have to change your game and work out how you're going to get runs in those conditions."