Kookaburra, the Australian Cricket equipment manufacturing company, have come up with a unique alternative for sweat or saliva to maintain the shine of a Cricket ball, a wax applicator, which, the company believes, can be ready to use within a month.
The group director of Kookaburra, Brett Elliott, had the following to say to the PA news agency.
“The most effective mitigating action to avoid risk would be to introduce a temporary ban on the traditional shining method. This could be immediately introduced, enabling cricket to resume as soon as it is safe. The research and development centre of Kookaburra in Australia has been working on a product to replace the traditional methods of polishing a ball that could be controlled and managed by the match umpire. We have developed a unique wax formula for polishing a cricket ball.”
He explained, “The pocket size sponge applicator would enable umpires or players to apply a thin layer of wax which could then be rubbed and polished in a traditional manner to enhance the shine on the ball. This could be available within a month, however has it yet to be tested in a match conditions as the ability to complete real trial matches at the moment is inhibited.”
About the fact that whether this was for a long term measure, he said, “It may not be something we need to make forever, it’s designed to get cricket back and give administrators time to make decisions. Nobody was calling out for this 12 months ago so maybe it is more of an interim measure.”
The Kookaburra Chief said that among the company’s thinking has been a desire to preserve the existing balance between the game’s various disciplines.
“It’s important that a change to the method of ball polishing does not provide favour to one bowling discipline over another; the beauty of cricket is that it encourages teams to use a range of bowling skills and it would be a shame to lose any of them. The ultimate objective and challenge faced by manufacturers and administrators is to ensure the balance between bat and ball is preserved.”
There was another long term issue that the Kookaburra Chief took up, using a Cricket ball made from entirely artificial materials. Earlier, this issue was primarily raised by animal rights group and vegan activists but has now entered the current pandemic conversation.
“Kookaburra has been working for several years on the development of a synthetic ball to avoid the use of leather. This ball would not require traditional polishing,” he added.
The three brands of Cricket balls used in International Cricket are Dukes, Sanspareils Greenlands (SG), and Kookaburra. For Test matches, England, Ireland and the West Indies opt for the service of Dukes for red Cricket balls, whereas India opt for SG, a Meerut based Cricket equipment manufacturer for the same. The rest of the Test playing nations opt for red Kookaburra Cricket balls. Kookaburra, though is the sole manufacturer of white balls in International Cricket. Elliott confirmed that the new product would be available for use by any International Cricket boards on either red or white balls.
As guardians of the laws, the Marylebone Cricket Club is bound to be eager in such developments, while the International Cricket Council have a number of steps it could take before signing off. The first step would be a report from its medical committee advising against the use of sweat and saliva would be first, followed by consideration by the cricket committee and finally, International chief executives will be given the responsibility of giving the green signal to the idea.