Cricket ball question....

I was wondering if anyone might help me to understand what exactly a cricket ball is (how it feels, how dense, etc.) by comparing it to say, a baseball.

IIRC, it’s almost the same as a baseball both in size and weight. The major difference is that instead of the curved stiching in a baseball, cricket balls have a parallel set of stiches that run along the equator of the ball.

And the cricket ball is red.

There are pictures of cricket balls here. These demonstrate the shape and size of the seam.

Although about the same size and weight, a cricket ball is harder than a baseball. A new cricket ball feels virtually rock hard, whereas a baseball has some “give”.

It would appear that the Cricket ball is smaller and heavier (on average) than a Baseball - I would have thought that it was the other way around. In any event, I wouldn’t want to be hit be either - having been hit in the general vicinity of the unmentionables by a cricket ball once in my life already…



I’ve seen white cricket balls.

White balls were “invented” about 25 years ago, for night games. They show up better under artificial lighting.

I’m not sure about baseballs, but a cricket ball bowled by a fast bowler can break bones such as fingers or bones in your feet, break noses, and crack ribs. They are indeed rock hard!

…the white ball was introduced for Day Night One Day Cricket Games, to make the ball easier to see at night…

…apparently the White Ball “Swings” more :: Banquetbear hopes he doesn’t have to explain that to the Americans :eek: ::

Unless you’re Shoaib Akhtar.

/runs away

The equator (or ‘seam’) of the cricket ball - the raised portion of the ball caused by the six rows of stitching holding the ball together - also lets the ball move more in the air than a baseball, and provides the ability to move the ball on the bounce.

The cricket ball is harder, too, in order to let the ball bounce off the pitch - generally not an issue in baseball.

I’m an American, and I had my first cricket experience two summers ago on a visit to the UK. I was surprised to find the ball similar in size and weight to a baseball.

But the real difference is in the game. You don’t wear any gloves when you catch it. I found this very disconcerting and difficult, having spent much of my youth with a baseball mitt on my hand.

You haven’t seen Darryl Kile or Tom Gordon or Bert Blyleven pitch, clearly.

Of course, they get to bend their elbows, which helps. :slight_smile:

Also one of the key elements of bowling is the way the ball degrades over time. Because the same ball is used for a long time (can’t remember how many overs), it will get softer and scuffed as the game progresses. That’s why you see the bowling team drying and polishing the ball all the time, they’re working really hard to protect it. Generally speaking, after a short while, they will look after only one side of the ball (cleaning, polishing etc) and allow the other side to wear. This is so they can get the ball to swing.

Sounds like doctoring the ball is legal, with this recollection. Are such things as “spitballs” allowed?

Doctoring the ball as we would understand it is certainly not legal. As robinc308 says, the condition of the leather casing deteriorates as the ball is used, but players are not permitted to roughen the ball deliberately (which is what we would call doctoring). The players are allowed to reduce the roughening of the ball by polishing it on clothing etc.

If you think it will help, you are allowed to use any naturally occuring moisture to aid the polishing, such as sweat, spit or moisture from the grass, but you can’t use artificial substances such as Vaseline.

You should try being Wicketkeeper, then, Gassendi. He’s the only player who gets to wear gloves. Granted, they’re not the best set of gloves on the planet.

Hmm…I suppose I should’ve said “use gloves.” The odd thing, though, is that the way the gloves are made makes them look more like they’re worn than merely used.

I live on the little island of Australia, and in the summer, lots of people play the game of cricket, me being one of them.

Cricket balls are generally red, with either two or four “pieces”, or bits of leather and a seam with two lines of stitching either side of it. All higher grade matches are played with four piece balls. White balls were introduced for one-day matches which would sometimes start in the evening and go into the night - red balls tend to get hard to see under lights, although white ones usually end up a nice greenish brown colour after a few overs.

Cricket balls are also much harder and more dangerous than baseballs - I’ve seen some nasty injuries in my years of playing the game. Wicketkeepers and batsmen wear padding to protect themselves from injuries. Some batsmen wear helmets (teeth don’t get a second innings!).

That reminds me of the first time I wore a helmet. I open the batting for my team, that means being one of the first two batsmen to go out and bat. The team we were playing had a new bowler I hadn’t seen before and I went out in my usual gear - two pads on the legs, a box, two gloves and a bat, neglecting the option of a thigh pad, elbow pad or helmet (hey, I like to live on the edge~). The bowler runs in, and the ball comes whizzing past about a centimetre from my nose before I’d even picked up where it was (translation: this guy bowls very fast). To cut a long story short, I call for a helmet after that and thankfully don’t lose any important body parts, but to this day people still make jokes at my expense about it.

Anyway -

In relation to letting one side of the ball deteriorate while trying to keep the other side extra shiny, the shiny side goes through the air faster, causing the ball to move in the air, or “swing”. When the ball gets very old, you can also get “reverse swing”, which is like normal swing, except it goes the other way.

How the ball feels usually depends on the weather. If you’re playing on a nice hot day, the ball will usually stay nice and hard and be easy to see for the batsman and hold on to for the fielding side. If you’re playing when it has rained overnight, the pitch is wet and there’s still a bit of moisture about (borderline on calling the match off), the ball can get heavy, slimy and not very fun to play with for either side.

If you have any other questions about cricket, like “do u really use a paddle for a bat lolol”, I can usually answer them.

They’re designed to avoid injury more than to help you catch the ball. The wicketkeeper gets quick balls thudding into his hands hundreds of times a day, and if you’re not wearing leather gloves and padded cotton inners, bad things can happen. There have been some modifications from the original design permitted to assist keepers to catch the ball (a web between the thumb and forefinger, textured surfaces), but the basic design isn’t supposed to give you a huge advantage.

No, I haven’t - I had a couple of looks at baseball and realised that it was basically rounders with the skill and strategy taken out - but it’s much easier to move a ball with two differently-textured surfaces and a nicely-defined axis than to move one without those. Try getting any swing with a baseball when bowling with a cricket motion (straight arm, overarm delivery) and it’s nigh-impossible, no matter how much backspin you put on it.

I have played both cricket and baseball, so I think I can clear up some misconceptions regarding “swing.”

A swinging delivery in cricket and a curve ball in baseball are not the same thing, even though the effects on the flight path of the ball are the same. A curve ball in baseball is done by imparting spin on the baseball: in other words, by making the ball rotate clockwise in the air. A swinging delivery in cricket, on the other hand, is achieved by delivering the ball so that the single seam stays fairly straight up and down in the flight. Here’s how you should hold the ball for this delivery. Now, imagine that the ball in the linked picture is shiny on the red side and rough on the white side. As the ball approaches the batsman, the shiny side will always be to the right, and the rough to the left, from the bowler’s perspective. Wind resistance will push the ball towards the left (“an outswinger,” as we call it). You can reverse the position of the ball at the delivery point for an inswinger.

What happens if you spin a cricket ball in the same way you spin a baseball for a “curve ball”? You still get the affects in the air, though not as exaggerated. A spinning cricket delivery in the air will drop down, much like the late Darryl Kile’s “six-to-twelve” curve ball, and move laterally in the air in the direction of the spin (called in cricket “drift”). But the real key to a spinning cricket delivery occurs after it hits the pitch, and naturally bounces in the direction of the spin (left-to-right for “off-spin,” right-to-left for “leg-spin”). Here’s how to bowl leg-spin, and here’s the same for off-spin.

One last thought. Catching a cricket ball with your bare hands never hurts. It only hurts when you drop it. See me in March, when I start playing again (in Canada!!!), and I’ll probably have the bruises to prove it.

BigNik: Yep, the gloves are designed (ostensibly) to prevent injury. I’m just saying that they’re not that far off of being a perfunctory effort at saving the Wicketkeeper’s hands.