Why are white balls used during ODI and T20?

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Why are white balls used during ODI and T20?

Why are white balls used during ODI and T20?

Cricket is a game that involves different formats, rules and equipment. One of the most important aspects of cricket is the ball, which can vary in color, size, weight and quality depending on the type of match being played. In this article, we will explore why white cricket balls are used during ODI and T20 matches, and how they differ from the red balls used in test matches.

The History of white cricket balls

The first recorded use of a white cricket ball was in 1977 when Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket introduced day-night matches to attract more viewers and revenue. The traditional red ball was not visible enough under the floodlights, so a white ball was chosen as an alternative. The white ball also had a different seam and coating than the red ball, which made it swing more and last longer.

Since then, white balls have become the standard for limited-overs cricket, which includes one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 internationals (T20Is). White balls are also used in domestic T20 leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Big Bash League (BBL).

Why are white balls used during ODI and T20
Why are white balls used during ODI and T20? 3

The advantages and disadvantages of white cricket balls

White cricket balls have some advantages and disadvantages over red cricket balls. Some of them are:

  • Visibility: White balls are easier to see for both the players and the spectators, especially during night matches. This enhances the quality and excitement of the game.
  • Swing: White balls tend to swing more than red balls, especially in the initial overs when they are new and shiny. This gives an edge to the fast bowlers who can exploit the movement in the air.
  • Durability: White balls are coated with a layer of polyurethane to protect them from wear and tear. They also have a machine-stitched seam, which is more durable than the hand-stitched seam of red balls. This makes them last longer and retain their shape better.
  • Deterioration: White balls also deteriorate faster than red balls, due to their coating and color. They lose their shine and hardness as the game progresses, which reduces their swing and bounce. They also get dirty and discolored easily, which affects their visibility and performance.
  • Spin: White balls offer less assistance to spin bowlers than red balls, due to their smooth surface and lack of roughness. Spin bowlers rely on the friction between the ball and the pitch to generate turn and bounce, which is less with white balls.
Why are white balls used during ODI and T20?
Why are white balls used during ODI and T20? 4

The rules regarding white cricket balls

There are some rules regarding the use of white cricket balls in ODI and T20 matches. Some of them are:

  • Number of balls: In ODI matches, two new white balls are used at each end of the pitch, one for each innings. This means that each ball is used for 25 overs only, which prevents it from getting too old and soft. In T20 matches, only one new white ball is used for each innings, which means that it is used for 20 overs only.
  • Replacement of balls: If a white ball is lost or damaged during the match, it can be replaced by another ball of similar age and condition. The umpires are responsible for deciding whether a ball needs to be replaced or not.
  • Color of clothing: Since white balls are used in ODI and T20 matches, the players wear colored clothing instead of white clothing. This helps to distinguish them from the ball and avoid confusion.

The future of white cricket balls

White cricket balls have become an integral part of limited-overs cricket, as they offer a different challenge and spectacle to both the players and the fans. However, they are not without their flaws and limitations, which may require some improvements or innovations in the future.

Some of the possible changes or developments that may occur in relation to white cricket balls are:

  • Improving the quality and consistency of white balls: There have been some complaints and criticisms about the quality and consistency of white balls from different manufacturers and regions. Some players have claimed that white balls vary in size, weight, seam, hardness and swing depending on where they are made or used. This affects their performance and fairness in different conditions and venues. Therefore, there may be a need to standardize or improve the quality and consistency of white balls across different formats and countries.
  • Introducing other colors of cricket balls: There have been some experiments and proposals to introduce other colors of cricket balls, such as pink, orange or yellow, for different purposes and occasions. For example, pink balls have been used for day-night test matches, as they are more visible and durable than white balls under the floodlights. Orange or yellow balls have been suggested for day matches in places where there is a lot of dust or smog, which may affect the visibility of white balls. These alternative colors may offer some advantages or disadvantages over white balls, depending on the situation and preference.
  • Using different balls for different phases of the game: There have been some suggestions to use different balls for different phases of the game, such as powerplay, middle overs and death overs, in ODI and T20 matches. This may create more variety and strategy in the game, as different balls may have different characteristics and behaviors. For example, a harder and shinier ball may be used for the powerplay, to favor the fast bowlers and batsmen, while a softer and rougher ball may be used for the death overs, to favor the spin bowlers and slower batsmen.

Conclusion

White cricket balls are used during ODI and T20 matches because they offer better visibility, swing and durability than red balls. However, they also deteriorate faster, offer less spin and vary in quality and consistency. There are some rules regarding the number, replacement and color of white balls in limited-overs cricket. There may also be some changes or innovations in the future regarding the use of white balls or other colors of balls in different formats and situations.

I hope you have a better idea as to why are white balls used during ODI and T20.

Also, read about How many overs in a Test match here.

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