Cricket Australia has decided to axe the English Dukes cricket ball from the Sheffield Shield tournament this summer and will go back to using the Kookaburra ball for the entire season.
This is seen as partly as an attempt to bring spinners back into the game.
The Dukes ball had been used since the 2016-17 season in Shield matches held after Christmas in order to help players prepare for English conditions, where the heavily-lacqured Dukes ball is used.
However, players in domestic games have been complaining that the Dukes ball gave the quick bowlers extra help and which in turn meant less opportunity for spinners in the tournament.
“The introduction of the Dukes ball has been a worthwhile exercise, particularly in the lead up to overseas Ashes series where the Dukes is used so well by our English opponents,” Peter Roach, Cricket Australia’s head of cricket operations, was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“We have been happy with how the ball has performed when used in Australian conditions over the past four seasons.
“We do, however, feel that reverting to one ball for 2020-21 will provide the consistent examination of our players over a full season that CA and the states are presently seeking. The Kookaburra is the ball used for international cricket in Australia and many parts of the world and we see benefits this season of maximising our use of it,” he added.
He said that Cricket Australia have noted that spinners in the Sheffield Shield have less role to play in recent seasons, most notably in games when the Dukes ball is in use.
“We need spinners bowling in first-class cricket and we need our batters facing spin. We hope that the change to one ball with have a positive benefit here,” Roach said.
“We see a definite opportunity to reintroduce the Dukes ball at some stage in the future.”
However, Dilip Jajodia, the owner of Dukes ball manufacturer British Cricket Balls, hopes that Cricket Australia would soon return to Dukes.
“Having the opportunity to show the quality of our ball in Australia’s premier domestic cricket competition has been a privilege,” Jajodia was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We understand CA’s decision and are buoyed by the potential for the Dukes to return in future seasons,” he added.