Kookaburra unveil world-first ball
Kookaburra's new specialised Twenty20 ball has been tested in a blind trial in the Northern Territory Strike competition
8 July 2018, 10:12 AM AEST
A world-first ball created specifically for Twenty20 cricket has been unveiled by Kookaburra, with the hopes it could be introduced to T20 leagues and international cricket before the 2020 men's World T20 in Australia.
The new 'Turf20' ball, which has been crafted to better withstand the powerful hitting of the game's shortest format, was used in a blind test in the Northern Territory Strike competition last weekend.
The trial was the latest step in the development of the new ball, which Kookaburra will continue testing over the next 18 months before offering it to cricket boards by late 2020.
The ball is designed to stay harder for longer, which Kookaburra believes will "promote balance between bat and ball". Currently, the same white ball is used for both ODIs and T20Is.
"As Twenty20 cricket evolved, Kookaburra thought there should be a way to create a ball specific to its needs rather than follow the traditional method of ball-making that is used in Test cricket," Kookaburra spokesman Shannon Gill said.
"A Test ball is designed to gradually deteriorate over 80 overs, this is an integral element to Test cricket. Twenty20 cricket has evolved quite differently; the ball is only needed for 20 overs and the action is more intense and explosive than Test cricket.
"This means gradual deterioration is not as big a factor, instead a ball that meets the demands of the power hitting game has been created."
The new Turf20 balls, branded with the markings of the current white ball, were deployed in the first round of the NT Strike competition last weekend.
"In follow-up feedback, the players responded they did not notice any difference to the way the ball played as far as bounce and speed, but there were comments on the improved hardness of the ball through the 20 overs," Gill said.
South Australia and Brisbane Heat batsman Alex Ross, who is playing for Desert Storm alongside Cameron Bancroft, said it made sense to consider a different ball for the shorter game.
"As long as it doesn't bounce differently or change the nature of the game, that way it can only be a positive," Ross said.
"I noticed later in my innings last week the ball was definitely harder and carried further – which is what you want in T20 cricket."