Cricket Australia have made the decision of reverting back to the usage of Kookaburra Cricket balls for the 2020/21 Sheffield Shield season, instead of the Dukes ball to encourage more spin bowling on home pitches, as announced by the board on Thursday.
The Britain based Dukes Cricket ball was introduced to the Sheffield Shield in 2016/17 to help prepare Australia’s batsmen for the ball used on English pitches in the leadup to the 2019 Ashes, in which’s Tim Paine’s Australian side retained the urn on English soil for the first time in 18 years after both teams drew 2-2 in the five-Test match series.
The decision was made following complaints from Australian Cricketers that spin bowling is being driven out of the domestic game, in large part because of unreceptive, drop-in pitches at most major venues. Australia, the top ranked Test side, will be facing India this year. They would want to be more successful playing away in the subcontinent, where pitches are more conducive to spin.
CA’s Head of Cricket Operations Peter Roach said it was the right time to revert back to exclusive use of the Kookaburra for the first class competition. He said in a statement, “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. We have noted that spin bowlers in the Sheffield Shield have been playing less of a role 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.”
Dilip Jajodia, the owner of Dukes ball manufacturer British Cricket Balls, said the firm understood CA’s decision, saying, “We are buoyed by the potential for the Dukes to return in future seasons.”