Posted on July 12, 2013
Cricket balls, whats really inside and what drives the price?
I often get asked about cricket balls. Whats the best? Whats the cheapest? Why and which cricket balls break cricket bats? etc etc etc and many times ive been unable to answer people simply because of a lack of knowledge. So i decided to do a bit of exploring to see what i could find out. I looked on youtube. That was a waste of time. It had very little information on how cricket balls are essentially put together. I checked on Wikipedia for the ICC regulations of how cricket balls should be made and also came up empty handed. So eventually i just decided that seen as its so hard to figure out whats inside a cricket ball and how they are made i will just cut a couple of them open and see for myself.
Here is what a good cricket ball looks like on the inside.
Youtube will have many many videos showing cricket balls being made but i couldnt find any detail to show exactly what goes into all the different layers of cricket balls. That may be partly because some of the cricket balls i cut open only had 3 layers to them. ( rubber, string and leather ) but many people will agree that the Kookaburra Turf cricket ball may well be the Benchmark all other cricket balls are modelled after. The Kookaburra Turf ball is used by 85% of all international test matches worldwide so that speaks volumes for the quality and reputation of the cricket ball.
The kookaburra Turf cricket ball has a small ( slightly smaller than a golf ball cork / rubber core. Then has 5 layers of cork / string quilted.The leather is not just any old leather. Its Hand selected Australian first grade alum tanned steer hide and is tough as nails.
The problem with this ball is it retails for well over $100 USD and lets be honest, none of us can afford to throw around 5 or 10 of these at our local club practices. So what i will be trying to do in the blog is not to say which cricket balls are the best, but rather educate the everyday club cricketer so they can better understand whats happening on the inside of a cricket ball and perhaps also understand why so many modern balls are classified as bat breakers or perhaps lose shape, shine or hardness to quickly.
So what we see here from the graddige county ( ladies & mens ) cricket ball is a medium / large cork based nucleas. Probably 90% cork and 10% rubber ( guestamate ) This gives a ball a harder core as apposed to a rubber based nucleas. It then has 1 moderately thick layer of cork outside of that which will help keep the shape of the ball. The graddige county ball seems to have a good amount of string wrapping and the the plastic inner cap in this case looks to be 4 quarters rather than two halves which we find on some more expensive balls. My thought is the 4 quarters are cheaper and dont keep the balls shape very well as normal on cheaper balls we find the 4 quarters system instead of the two halves. The leather once again looks to be a decent quality and is quite flexible and the outer spray didnt show any sign of cracking or peeling. Rather it was flexible and seemed durable.
This is the graddige top spin white cricket ball. Immediately you will see a very black nucleas in this cricket ball. What that means is that the ball will be softer than a cork centre ball but may also mean it can lose its shape quicker. I found balls that have softer core's like the Graddige top spin or the Boom Boom 130 ball are really good balls for using in the nets. The reason for this is simple. Softer balls dont break cricket bats like harder , less flexible balls do. My complaint about the ball would be the total lack of string inside the ball. If we look at the benchmark high end balls they all have a good amount of string wrapping in them which would aid in the balls flexibility and in this case would think that the rubber core in this case might break down from continues use. Luckily this is a cheaper ball at $8 and is therefore easily replaceable. On the outside of that we find the inner plastic cap which was really well secured to the leather and i wasnt able to take it apart from the leather. My thinking is that means breaking this ball may be tougher as internals of a cricket ball all sticking together well may help the ball keep its chape. As for the leather i think a similar leather and protective coating has been used as on the Graddige county and the leather seemed tough yet supple and the coating never cracked or peeled off at all.
This is the graddige top spin red cricket ball as you would expect is exactly the same as the white ball. There did see to be a difference in the coating which protects the leather. Immediately you will see a very black nucleas in this cricket ball. What that means is that the ball will be softer than a cork centre ball but may also mean it can lose its shape quicker. I found balls that have softer core's like the Graddige top spin or the Boom Boom 130 ball are really good balls for using in the nets. The reason for this is simple. Softer balls dont break cricket bats like harder , less flexible balls do. My complaint about the ball would be the total lack of string inside the ball. If we look at the benchmark high end balls they all have a good amount of string wrapping in them which would aid in the balls flexibility and in this case would think that the rubber core in this case might break down from continues use. Luckily this is a cheaper ball at $8 and is therefore easily replaceable. On the outside of that we find the inner plastic cap which was really well secured to the leather and i wasnt able to take it apart from the leather. My thinking is that means breaking this ball may be tougher as internals of a cricket ball all sticking together well may help the ball keep its chape. As for the leather i think a similar leather and protective coating has been used as on the Graddige county and the leather seemed tough yet supple and the coating unfortunately in this case was prone to cracking slightly.
The Graddige special test cricket ball at first glance looks to a be a good quality cricket ball. The interior parts of the ball are just what you would like to see in a cricket ball. Cork & rubber small core nucleas. That surrounded by 5 layers of cork and string. Then the inner plastic cap to keep it all together with the leather on the top of that. The Graddige special test even has 70 stitches which is a good amount. My only criticism would be the protective coating on the leather. Its seemed very brittle and cracked really easily. It also gave the ball a very hard exterior feel to it. Now we could flip that around and say perhaps the ball has a harder exterior shell because this is a cricket ball designed for the North American market who play on carperted slabs of concrete who need something a little more durable. As i know the person personally who designed and manufacture these balls this is very possibly the case. This hard outer layer will take a little longer to wear down. I feel buying this ball is worth the risk and would appreciate you giving us your feedback on this ball once you have tried it in a few matches. This ball has good build quality and should easily last 40 or 50 overs.
This is the Graddige player red cricket ball. I actually quite like this ball. As im trying to find a decent alternative for use in the nets it could be a ball like this that does the business. Its at a good price range.$10 and has a pretty decent construction. Not perfect but a good mix of quality build construction and also well priced. The nucleas is larger but has a good mix of cork and rubber mixture. Then add a good amount of string and cork layers of which there are 2. The you have the quarter plastic caps ( would be better as two halves though ) and then the nice rich dark red leather. I would be happy to test this ball out in my next net session with hopes for the best. Where the worry comes in is the protective spray covering the leather. This layer seemed to be very brittle and not only cracked when bending the leather its also peeled off very easily. Now once again it remains to be seen how this will behave on the cricket field. i would love to hear from anyone reading this article that has used one of these balls and would love to find out what you opinion of it is. I feel this is a good ball, worth the price and think you should give it a chance.
So this graddige club red cricket ball and i have found to be a good net ball. This is the same contruction as my normal net ball which is the Boom Boom 130 ball. Basically nothing but a large nucleas made of nothing but Rubber and cork. The high percentage of rubber means the ball is softer and doesnt break your high priced cricket bat. The negative of the balls is if you are a hardcore bowler then this may not be good for you. It will likely lose shine, not swing much and have some uneven bounce. Its important that people know these things when they buy cheaper cricket balls. Chances are this type of ball will only last a couple net sessions before the seam splits and probably wont keep a shine after the first session.
This is the Graddige hat-trick cricket ball. This is essentailly a very similar ball to the above mentioned club cricket ball. The main difference is the extra cork layer and string on the outside of the core nucleas. This layer will give the ball extra strength and stability. If the last ball was a good net ball for batsman then this one may be a good net ball for the bowlers. The extra layer of cork and string will help the ball keep ist shape and the slightly smaller core will mean the centre of gravity will be more stable as well. Balls with the largest core made from rubber and cork may have more rubber on one side of the ball meaning the ball is " off balance " and obtaining swing or keeping the seam upright will be that much more difficult. The Protective layer on this bat seemed pretty good as well. It didnt seem to crack or peel like some of the other balls and had a good sticth count of 69-70
So this is the Graddige county cricket ball. This is essentially the same ball as the Hat trick except the layers of cork around the nucleas. IN the hat trick that cricket ball had just one layer of cork and string around the nucleas. In this Graddige county offering it has 2 layers of cork and string around the nucleas. And im not sure if you noticed but its the same price. My though here is you need to do one thing. order a couple of each ball and see which one seems to work better for your needs. Whether its just a couple friends in the nets or a hardcore practice with the whole team. Some bowlers may like the 2 layer better. My recommendation is this is the kind of ball you want for practices. if its a match ball you are looking for then its a 5 layer cork ball you should be using. Whether its T20, 40 over or 50 over.
Thanks very much for reading this Part 2 of my massacre of 34 different cricket balls. Its so far been really interesting and have certainly learnt alot about what goes into making a cricket ball. IN the next 2 parts we look at some more expensive balls so that should be interesting as well..
Thanks again, if you have any questions about cricket gear in general eg. how do grains affect cricket bats, whats the difference between different handles etc. please feel free to ask it on my forum and i will see if i can get it answered for you. there is also a wealth of information there already for you to look through.
Forum, click below