Maintaining a Cricket Ball

Here you will learn how to maintain a cricket ball during a match in order to optimally utilize the ball.

Mark Morris

10/20/20232 min read

How to maintain a cricket ball during a match?

Maintaining a cricket ball during a match is essential to ensure its performance and effectiveness, especially for bowlers who aim to generate swing and seam movement. Here are some tips on how to properly maintain a cricket ball during a match:

1. Polishing: Polishing is a fundamental aspect of ball maintenance. In local club-level cricket, unlike ODI matches where two balls are utilized per innings, only one ball is employed for 40-50 over matches. The primary goal is to maintain the shine on one side of the ball while keeping the other side dry. The shiny side allows bowlers to generate reverse swing or conventional swing, depending on the match situation. Players often use their sweat, saliva, or a specially designed cricket ball wax to maintain the shine. Some prefer rubbing the ball on their trousers or using a cloth for polishing.

2. Dry Side: It's essential to keep one side of the ball completely dry. The dry side doesn't need to be polished but should be protected from moisture, dirt, and excessive handling. This ensures that the ball remains in optimal condition for seam movement.

3. Fielding and Handling: Fielders should handle the ball with care to avoid damaging it. They should avoid excessive bouncing or hitting the ball against hard surfaces, as this can lead to a loss of shape or damage. Fielders should also avoid using their fingernails to scuff the ball. Fielders should regularly shine the ball whenever they get the ball in hand.

4. Inspect for Damage: Regularly inspect the ball for any visible signs of damage, wear, or loss of shape. If you notice cracks, splits, or significant damage, consult the match umpires or the team captain for a replacement ball.

5. Rotation: Rotate the ball during the match to ensure even wear and tear. By doing so, you can maximize the ball's performance throughout the innings. The captain or bowlers may decide when to rotate the ball based on their strategy.

6. Use Sweat Sparingly: In most cricketing conditions, the use of sweat to maintain the shine of the ball is acceptable. However, players should use these substances sparingly, adhering to the regulations set by the governing cricket boards or the International Cricket Council (ICC).

7. Umpire Instructions: Follow any instructions provided by the match umpires regarding ball maintenance. Umpires may periodically check the ball for signs of tampering or damage and provide guidance to ensure fair play.

8. Adhere to Regulations: Be aware of the specific regulations and guidelines regarding ball maintenance in the format of the game being played. Different formats may have varying rules for ball maintenance.

Properly maintaining the cricket ball during a match not only contributes to a fair contest but also enhances the bowlers' ability to extract spin, swing and seam movement. Players should be diligent in adhering to the rules and guidelines set by cricket authorities and maintain the integrity of the game.