Australia drops Dukes ball from Sheffield Shield

Melbourne, July 2


Cricket Australia said on Thursday it has dropped the British-made Dukes ball from its 2020/21 Sheffield Shield season and will use only the Kookaburra to encourage more spin bowling on home pitches.

Dukes were introduced to Shield cricket in 2016/17 to help prepare players for the ball used on English pitches in the lead-up to the 2019 Ashes.

Australia retained the urn in England last year for the first time since 2001 with a 2-2 draw in the series.

“The introduction of the Dukes ball has been a worthwhile exercise, particularly in the lead-up to overseas Ashes series where the Dukes is used so well by our English opponents,” CA’s Head of Cricket Operations Peter Roach said in a statement.

“We have noted that spin bowlers in the … Sheffield Shield have been playing less of a role in recent seasons, most notably in games when the Dukes ball is in use.

“We need spinners bowling in First-Class cricket and we need our batters facing spin. We hope that the change to one ball will have a positive benefit here.”

The decision follows complaints from Australian cricketers that spin bowling is being driven out of the domestic game, in large part because of unreceptive, drop-in pitches.

Dilip Jajodia, the owner of Dukes Cricket, said the firm was naturally “disappointed”.

“It is also a shame that it removes the element of competition, which CA was keen to promote at the time Dukes was introduced into the Australian market,” he said in a statement. Reuters

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