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Types of Cricket Balls: Benefits and Impact on Gameplay

Cricket, which is played in 104 countries, is renowned for its diverse range of playing conditions. One crucial factor that significantly influences the game on these different surfaces is the type of cricket ball used. From the traditional red leather ball to the white and pink variations, each ball offers unique characteristics that affect the gameplay.
In this blog, we delve into the different types of cricket balls, and the benefits each brings to the game.

Red Leather Cricket Ball

The red leather cricket ball, most commonly associated with Test matches and first-class cricket, has been used for over a century. This ball, made of four pieces of leather stitched together, features a cork center surrounded by layers of tightly wound string. As for its distinctive colour, the red dye ensures visibility during day games.


  1. Swing and Seam: The red leather ball’s primary advantage lies in its propensity for swing and seam movement, especially during the early stages of a match. The natural wear and tear of the ball create roughness on one side, allowing skilled bowlers to generate lateral movement through the air or off the pitch.
  2. Longer Matches: Due to its durability, the red ball holds up well over extended periods, making it suitable for multi-day Test matches, where it maintains its shape and hardness for sustained periods.

White Cricket Ball

The white cricket ball, used in limited-over formats such as One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 (T20) matches, was introduced to improve visibility during day-night encounters. It consists of a plastic or cork core covered with a layer of white leather or synthetic material.


  1. Enhanced Visibility: The white ball’s primary advantage is its superior visibility under floodlights. This makes it easier for batsmen to track the ball during evening games, allowing for a more entertaining contest.
  2. Limited Swing and Seam: Compared to the red ball, the white ball is less prone to pronounced swing or seam movement due to its smoother and more uniform surface. Consequently, batting becomes relatively easier in limited-overs cricket.

Pink Cricket Ball

The pink cricket ball was specifically designed for day-night Test matches. It is similar to the red ball in terms of construction, but with an added layer of pink dye to enhance visibility under artificial lighting.


  1. Better Visibility at Dusk: The pink ball’s primary advantage lies in its increased visibility at night. It allows players to track the ball more effectively, reducing the challenges faced by batsmen and fielders in the fading light.
  2. Unique Behaviour: The pink ball behaves differently from its red counterpart due to the altered lacquer on the surface. It tends to retain its hardness and shine for longer, resulting in extended periods of lateral movement, making it more challenging for batsmen.

Concluding Thoughts

In the world of cricket, the type of ball used can significantly impact gameplay. Understanding the characteristics and benefits of each type of cricket ball allows players, coaches, and spectators to appreciate the nuances of the game and adapt their strategies accordingly.

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