Dukes ball to be used in Sheffield Shield matches
by Cricket Australia

Event:Sheffield Shield 2016/17

DateLine: 24th October 2016


The 2016-17 Sheffield Shield begins tomorrow, the 115 year the competition has been running, with the first round of matches to be played in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth as day-night format with a pink Kookaburra, ahead of the Commonwealth Bank Test Series against South Africa.


Reigning champions Victoria will host Tasmania at the MCG, South Australia will visit the WACA Ground to take on Western Australia, and New South Wales will line-up against Queensland in a longer-form rematch of the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup Final at The Gabba.


The matches will give players pushing for Test selection, another chance to impress ahead of the first match of the Commonwealth Bank Test Series against South Africa, which begins on November 3 at the WACA.


Following successful trials, Cricket Australia has also confirmed the use of Dukes ‘Special County’ balls in the second half of the Sheffield Shield series, from Round 6 to Round 10 - plus the final. Cricket Australia’s Head of Cricket Operations, Sean Cary, said that the ball responded well to trials in Australia over the past few months.


“We are always looking at ways to ensure our players have the best possible preparation ahead of upcoming series’.


“Over winter we worked with Dukes to produce a ball that suited Australian conditions but also mirrored the look and feel of the English Test ball. This was trialled alongside the exact Dukes English Test ball with Queensland Cricket at the Bupa National Cricket Centre to make direct comparisons between the two Dukes balls and culminated with a 50 over match between Queensland and South Australia in Brisbane.


“We believe the English Test Dukes ball will endure our conditions and will look to implement this in the second half of the Sheffield Shield. We wanted a ball that is fit for purpose and the purpose is to prepare our cricketers to be adaptable and using the Dukes ball is not new to cricket.


“We’ve gathered feedback from players and high performance staff around the country, and we are confident with the results to date, and we thank the players who participated in the winter trials.


“This opportunity will give our players more experience to hone their batting and bowling skills with this ball, and will hopefully lead to more success in both home and away series.”


Additionally, as part of Cricket Australia’s arrangement with Dukes, each of Australia’s 87 Premier Cricket Clubs will be provided six ‘Dukes County International’ balls (three red and three white) free of charge. These balls are designed to be of similar quality to the Kookaburra Regulation ball and Premier Clubs are being encouraged to trial the ball in net training or centre wicket practice, but are not expected to use them in matches. Cricket Australia has previously used the Dukes in the National Second XI competition, the Toyota Futures League for two seasons (2012-13 and 2013-14) and in under-17 and under-19 National Championships.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2016 Cricket Australia)


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