Australians to use Dukes ball to prepare for Ashes

The balls, which have a more pronounced seam than the Australian-made Kookaburra, will be used from the second half of next season’s competition. This will be to help Australia's players get acquainted with the behaviour of the ball that is used in England, in a bid to prepare them for the 2019 Ashes.

Australia's batting has come undone repeatedly in England against the Dukes ball (in photo), most recently in the Ashes 2015.   -  Getty Images

Cricket Australia plans to introduce the Dukes ball used in England for domestic Sheffield Shield games to prepare players for the 2019 Ashes series against their arch-rivals. The balls, which have a more pronounced seam than the Australian-made Kookaburra, will be used from the second half of next season’s competition.

“In recent times, Australian teams travelling to England haven’t adjusted well to local conditions and the swinging Dukes ball,” general manager of team performance Pat Howard said on Wednesday. “We have been on record saying that we will look at ways to address this deficiency and believe giving players greater experience with the Dukes ball is one way of doing just that.

Significant factor

“Some people might think changing a brand of cricket ball is a minor consideration, but as we have seen from past Ashes campaigns in England, it can be a significant factor.”

Australia lost the Ashes series in England last year with former captain Ricky Ponting leading calls for the Dukes ball to be introduced for domestic matches in a bid to help replicate English conditions.

Australia has not won an Ashes campaign in England since 2001, managing just four victories from 20 Ashes Tests during the past four away series.