“The Dukes ball, I think, is the most suited ball for Test cricket. If there’s a situation I would vouch for that to be used all over the world because of the consistency of the ball and how the bowlers are in the game at any stage, even the spinners, because the seam is so hard and upright,” Kohli said on the eve of the second Test against the West Indies.
Currently, there are no ICC specific guidelines and different countries use different balls.
While India use their home-made ‘SG Test’ from early ’90s (Sonnex was the ball before that) manufactured by Meerut-based Sanspareils Greenlands, England and West Indies use the UK’s Dukes with the most pronounced seam.
Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka use the Kookaburra.
Before Kohli, senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has also spoken about how he felt better bowling with the Kookaburra than ‘SG Test’.
Asked about Ashwin’s complaints about the quality, Kohli supported his lead spinner.
“I totally agree with him. To have a ball scuffed up in five overs is something that we haven’t seen before. The quality of the ball used to be quite high before and I don’t understand the reason why it has gone down.
“A Dukes ball is still good quality, Kookaburra is still good quality. Whatever limitations a Kookaburra might have (seam goes flat), the quality is never compromised,” Kohli explained.
“The seamers as well are benefitted if the ball is hard, you can get that extra pace but if the ball goes so soft in 10-12 overs, then your effort comes down by 20 per cent. I think the quality of the ball has to be maintained, there’s no doubt about that.
“Otherwise, you have too many dead sessions in a Test match, which you don’t want to see. You want to see exciting cricket and guys working hard for runs, being in the battle all day. I totally agree with Ash,” Kohli said.
Earlier, Ashwin, after the first Test, stated that SG balls are of sub-standard quality.
“Right now, I would say Kookaburra red ball is a lot better ball, Dukes is also right up there. Pretty disappointed with the current SG ball. It used to be top-notch, the seam used to stand up strong even after 70-80 overs. It’s not the same anymore,” Ashwin had said.
Kookaburra balls are machine-made and have low seam, while the India-made SG balls are handmade and have a wide seam.
Duke balls are manufactured in England and are handmade. They darker in colour compared to SG and Kookaburras due to the coating of lacquer.