TN, Mumbai not happy with quality of balls

The ball had to be changed thrice in the first two sessions, thus prompting both the camps to raise a concern about the quality of balls used in the domestic circuit.

Tamil Nadu bowling coach L.Balaji said that its unusual to see the balls being changed so many times.   -  C.V Subrahmanyam

Mumbai opted for the second new ball at the end of the 86th over of the opening day’s play of its semifinal against Tamil Nadu. But that wasn’t the only change of ball on the opening day. The umpires were forced to change the ball thrice in the first two sessions at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium, thus prompting both the camps to raise a concern about the quality of balls used in the domestic circuit.

“You don’t like to change too many balls. It’s unusual to see that in the first session three-four balls were changed,” L. Balaji, the Tamil Nadu bowling coach, said.

“The ball makes a big difference in bowlers’ skills because in the recent past a lot of [ball-related] controversies have been going on. I am sure the ball has some kind of ability to change the course of the game. I believe in that because softer balls are sometimes helpful on some wickets and heavier balls are sometimes helpful on different wickets. So, if you keep changing the balls, you won’t get set. That means the quality of balls is not good. That is not in our control. That’s definitely unusual for me to see.”

Quality of balls has been a perennial issue plaguing domestic cricket. Even though the Board of Control for Cricket in India has started using the SG Test balls – the same ones that are used for Test matches in India – for the Ranji Trophy, frequent stoppages due to change of ball has been a constant feature in the premier domestic tournament every season.

Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit hoped the issue would be addressed on a priority basis. “Quality of balls has continued to be an issue in Ranji Trophy. Not much has changed since the last season. A change in ball has a lot of repercussions on the batting and bowling sides’ strategies and at times, a team might end up losing its grip on the match due to a sudden change in ball. This has to be taken seriously,” Pandit said.

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