Cricket balls, whats inside. Part 3.

Cricket balls, whats inside. Part 3.

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.

img-0233.jpg

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.

Enjoy.

 

Graddige Cavalier Test cricket ball

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This cricket ball seems to have an average centre. People say the problem with having a large cork core like this one rather than the small core with cork / string layers is that is possble for the ball to be unbalanced. An unbalanced ball will not swing like its supposed to and can also have uneven bounce. This ball however is $18 and has a good quality contruction with 2 layers of cork and a good amount of srting as well..I would say that its worth a try with this ball to see how it behaves in nets and also in matches.The coating however which protects the leather was quite brittle and cracked quite easily. A 50/50 ball in my opinion.

 

Gray Nicolls League cricket ball

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Right off the bat i was quite impressed with this ball as far as quality and construction is concerned. But as i dig into it that first impression fades away quite quickly.My only initial complaint was that the small centre core seemed quite hard and i cant pin point exactly what the core is made of. It doesnt seem to be cork or rubber. It may be some sort of wood…Outside of the core it does have a good amount of string and also 4 or 5 layers of cork as you would expect from a good quality cricket ball. The plastic inner caps in this case is a form of cardboard on this ball which im thinking is probably not a good thing. The pastic would be far more durable and flexible where as the cardboard seemed to break easily. The saving grace on this ball seems to be the leather. It has very little protective spray / coating which i think means it will be easy to keep this ball nice and shiny ( for the swing bowlers ) but may suffer in wet conditions. buy this ball at your own risk.

Gray nicolls warrior cricket ball

img-0274.jpg

This looks to be a very high quality ball. One of the best ive examined so far in the test. It checks all the right boxes you would expect from a high quality cricket ball. I recommend this ball for all cricket matches. It has a good rubber / cork core, 5 5 external layers of cork with a good amount of string and alos a high quality leather. The one downside to this ball was once again the lack of a protective layer on the leather. BUT thats good for people who like to take care of the ball them selves and get a good shine on it. It may hoever suffer in wetter conditions.

 

Gray Nicolls Test special cricket ball

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This gray nicolls test special ball seems a little over priced for what you are getting. As you can see from the image there is no string at all, a key component of cricket ball manufacture. It also has a very high cork concentration in the core and a low rubber concentration. My though is if you could name one ball as a bat breaker, this may be it. ( but thats just an opinion. )To make this ball better i would have more rubber in the core and also some string. I would probably expect to see this quality of ball for sale for $8, not $16.

 

Gunn & Moore County star cricket ball

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This cricket ball is quite interesting and i will tell you why. This ball has all the making of a very high quality cricket ball. it check all the check boxes you would expect of a $20+ cricket ball. Small cork core nucleaus, plenty of string, even the 5 layers or cork. The reason i dont like it is because its to hard and when pinging this ball on a bat, it sounds hollw, hard and comes off the bat like a stale piece of bread. I dont recoemmend this ball at all, not even for net practices.

SG Tournament cricket ball

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When i picked up this SG tournament cricket ball one thing came to mind. It felt very different to some of the balls i was inspecting ( like the CA balls ) but also felt very similar to other balls i was inspection. Like the Gunn and moore, Gray nicolls and also the slazenger balls. The core nucleaus seemed extremely hard. I wonder who is making balls for GM and GN. it could possible be SG. The 5 cork layers also seemed very dry and brittle as well to me. Overall though the construction looked to be a pretty good quality and i think this ball could be given a chance to see if it works for you and your club for matches. It checks all the right boxes as well. Small core nucleus , 5 layer cork and ample string in the construction.

 

SG test cricket ball

img-0279.jpg

This is an expensive cricket ball, But i like everything about it. It checks all the boxes and just has a good feel about it. Its pings nicely on a cricket bat and quality is very very good. The one major difference with this ball over the others which you can easily see in the picture is the black rubber core. It has a very small % of cork. This should give the ball a softer feel than if its sold cork. I think in this case its a good thing. I do recommend peoipke try this ball and see if the rubber core helps with the ball performance over longer periods. it will be stronger than just cork and i would be happy to try this ball out in matches. Good luck with your ball purchases.

 

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The great cricket ball massacre, part 2. cricket balls. whats inside?

The great cricket ball massacre, part 2. cricket balls. whats inside?

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 I’ve 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.

inside of a cricket ball image

Youtube will have many many videos showing cricket balls being made but i couldn’t 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 modeled 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.

Enjoy.

Graddige county ( ladies & mens ) cricket ball

county cricket ball image

So what we see here from the graddige county ( ladies & mens ) cricket ball is a medium / large cork based nucleus. Probably 90% cork and 10% rubber ( guestamate ) This gives a ball a harder core as apposed to a rubber based nucleus. 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 don’t 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 didn’t show any sign of cracking or peeling. Rather it was flexible and seemed durable.

Graddige top spin white cricket ball

 

cricket ball top spin image

This is the graddige top spin white cricket ball. Immediately you will see a very black nucleus 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 don’t 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 cricket 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 wasn’t 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 shape. 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.

Graddige top spin red cricket ball

 

cricket ball top spin red image

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 nucleus 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 don’t 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 wasn’t 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 shape. 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.

Graddige special test cricket ball

cricket ball special test red image

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 nucleus. 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 carpeted 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.

Graddige player red cricket ball

 

cricket ball player red image

This is the Graddige player red cricket ball. I actually quite like this ball. As i’m 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 nucleus 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.

Graddige club red cricket ball

 

cricket ball club red image

So this graddige club red cricket ball and i have found to be a good net ball. This is the same construction as my normal net ball which is the Boom Boom 130 ball. Basically nothing but a large nucleus made of nothing but Rubber and cork. The high percentage of rubber means the ball is softer and doesn’t 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.

Graddige hat-trick cricket ball

 

cricket ball hat trick red image

This is the Graddige hat-trick cricket ball. This is essentially 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 nucleus. 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 isn’t 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 didn’t seem to crack or peel like some of the other balls and had a good stitch count of 69-70

Graddige county cricket ball

 

cricket ball county red image

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 nucleus. IN the hat trick that cricket ball had just one layer of cork and string around the nucleus. In this Graddige county offering it has 2 layers of cork and string around the nucleus. And i’m 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 a lot 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 so much for reading this blog. We hope you found it helpful. Please leave your comments below.

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If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy this one as well. Cricket Ball Massacre part 1

2013 wicket keeper gloves. Kookaburra and SS cricket..

2013 New Wicket keeper gloves review featuring kookaburra cricket and SS TON.

Gloves in this review.

Kookaburra 650 wicket keeper gloves

Kookaburra 750 wicket keeper gloves

Kookaburra Players wicket keeper gloves

Kookaburra 800 wicket keeper gloves

Kookaburra 1000 wicket keeper gloves

SS TON Player edition wicket keeper gloves

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So im going to score these gloves on a few different levels and all levels out of a simple 3 points. Zero being the lowest and 3 being the best.Im going to leave looks and fit out of the equations as thats subjective and different for every person.

1: grip ( how grippy is the rubber in the catching areas )

2: Palm Protection ( what is under the surface and realistically is it adequate )

3: Finger tip protection ( caps and padding on the fingertips )

4: Wrist protection ( whats the padding like on the wrists )

5: flexibility ( soft and supple, or do they need to be played in over a few games etc )

6: Quality ( is it made from old crappy materials or state of the art lightweight material )

7: weight ( how much does it weigh, lighter is better )

 

Kookaburra 650 wicket keeper gloves 2013.

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1: grip : ( 3 ) good level of grip but found all the gloves to have the same grip level regardless of grip pattern e.g. octopus suction cup, hexagon cups etc.

2: Palm Protection : ( 3 ) all gloves had similar gel padding and couldn’t tell any difference between the lot

3: Finger tip protection : ( 3 ) pretty decent cups

4: Wrist protection : ( 1 ) very soft low density foam. I would say the protection level would be ok for low club level or school level cricket.

5: flexibility : ( 2 ) gonna take some wearing in to soften these gloves up.

6: Quality : ( 2 ) i cant find any faults for club level these would be perfect or even indoor cricket. Whilst its not the most expensive product on the market it is value for money.

7: weight : ( 2 ) 10.4 oz. A relatively light weight glove.

Score : 16 / 21

Price : $45.99

An overall very good score for a low level glove. Solid construction and good material. I can only hope these stay together for a season. if they do these would be a great buy for a high school or club.

 

Kookaburra 750 wicket keeper gloves 2013.

img-0091.jpg

1: grip : ( 3 ) good level of grip but found all the gloves to have the same grip level regardless of grip pattern e.g. octopus suction cup, hexagon cups etc.

2: Palm Protection : ( 3 ) all gloves had similar gel padding and couldn’t tell any difference between the lot

3: Finger tip protection : ( 3 ) pretty decent cups

4: Wrist protection : ( 2 ) wrist protection was a little better but still quite soft.

5: flexibility : ( 2 ) gonna take some wearing in to soften these gloves up.

6: Quality : ( 2 ) i cant find any faults with these and they would be perfect for high school or club level cricket. Whilst its not the most expensive product on the market it is value for money.

7: weight : ( 2 ) 10.5 oz. A relatively light weight glove.

Score : 17 / 21

Price : $64.99

These would be great for club use or even high school. Good solid construction…decent light weigh materials will at least last a season or two im sure.

 

Kookaburra Players wicket keeper gloves 2013.

img-6365.jpg

1: grip : ( 3 ) good level of grip but found all the gloves to have the same grip level regardless of grip pattern e.g. octopus suction cup, hexagon cups etc.

2: Palm Protection : ( 3 ) all gloves had similar gel padding and couldn’t tell any difference between the lot

3: Finger tip protection : ( 3 ) pretty decent cups

4: Wrist protection : ( 2 ) wrist protection was a little better but still quite soft.

5: flexibility : ( 3 ) good to go.

6: Quality : ( 3 ) The best money can buy from kookaburra.

7: weight : ( 2 ) 10.4 oz. A relatively light weight glove.

Score : 19 / 21

Price : $194.99

As good as money can buy. These are really good gloves and if i was a keeper these are probably the gloves i would be using.

 

Kookaburra 800 wicket keeper gloves 2013.

img-6363.jpg

1: grip : ( 3 ) good level of grip but found all the gloves to have the same grip level regardless of grip pattern e.g. octopus suction cup, hexagon cups etc.

2: Palm Protection : ( 3 ) all gloves had similar gel padding and couldn’t tell any difference between the lot

3: Finger tip protection : ( 3 ) pretty decent cups

4: Wrist protection : ( 2 ) wrist protection was a little better but still quite soft.

5: flexibility : ( 2.5 ) almost good to go….

6: Quality : ( 3 ) Very good, high quality leathers.

7: weight : ( 2 ) 10.6 oz. A relatively light weight glove.

Score : 18.5 / 21

Price : $94.99

If you cant afford the players gloves then get these…you cant go wrong.

Kookaburra 1000 wicket keeper gloves 2013.

img-6364.jpg

1: grip : ( 3 ) good level of grip but found all the gloves to have the same grip level regardless of grip pattern e.g. octopus suction cup, hexagon cups etc.

2: Palm Protection : ( 3 ) all gloves had similar gel padding and couldn’t tell any difference between the lot

3: Finger tip protection : ( 3 ) pretty decent cups

4: Wrist protection : ( 2 ) a slight different design on the wrist protection, instead of a soft sponge pouch they have gone for a high density thin foam. not sure which i prefer.

5: flexibility : ( 2 ) will take some time to soften up

6: Quality : ( 3 ) Very good, high quality leathers.

7: weight : ( 1 ) 11.5 oz. a little heavy, but we are only talking 1 oz.

Score : 17 / 21

Price : $124.99

The heaviest out of the lot so far and a little stiff. I would still take the 800’s over these kookaburra 1000’s keeper gloves.

SS TON Player edition wicket keeper gloves 2013

img-6331.jpg

1: grip : ( 3 ) good level of grip but found all the gloves to have the same grip level regardless of grip pattern e.g. octopus suction cup, hexagon cups etc.

2: Palm Protection : ( 3 ) all gloves had similar gel padding and couldn’t tell any difference between the lot

3: Finger tip protection : ( 3 ) pretty decent cups

4: Wrist protection : ( 3 ) i liked the wrist protection on these the best

5: flexibility : ( 3 ) Nice, ready to play

6: Quality : ( 2.5 ) Quality is very good. right up there.

7: weight : ( 1 ) 11.5 oz. lottle heavy.

Score : 18 / 21

Price : $119.99

These are very nice gloves, leather is nice and soft. If i didnt go for the Kookaburra players these would be in my shopping basket for sure.