While the age-old cricketing debate continues to wage on between which is the better preferred ball for Test cricket, the Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli has weighed his opinion on the issue ahead of the second Test against West Indies in Hyderabad.
The talismanic Indian cricketer has voiced his displeasure of the poor quality of the SG balls that are used at home by India, insisting that Test cricket across the globe should be played with the England-made Duke balls.
"The Dukes ball, I think, is the most suited ball for Test cricket. If there's a situation I would vouch for that to be used all over the world because of the consistency of the ball and how the bowlers are in the game at any stage, even the spinners, because the seam is so hard and upright."
The Indian-made SG balls have come under severe scrutiny lately, with Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the latest to make his opinion heard after the first test in Rajkot. The Indian skipper has backed his team-mate by agreeing that the quality of the ball has reasonably declined over the years.
"I totally agree with him. To have a ball scuffed up in five overs is something that we haven't seen before. The quality of the ball used to be quite high before and I don't understand the reason why it has gone down."
"A Dukes ball is still good quality, Kookaburra is still good quality. Whatever limitations a Kookaburra might have (seam goes flat), the quality is never compromised," Kohli explained.
"The seamers as well are benefitted if the ball is hard, you can get that extra pace but if the ball goes so soft in 10-12 overs, then your effort comes down by 20 per cent. I think the quality of the ball has to be maintained, there's no doubt about that.
"Otherwise, you have too many dead sessions in a Test match, which you don't want to see. You want to see exciting cricket and guys working hard for runs, being in the battle all day. I totally agree with Ash," Kohli said.
Currently, there are no specific guidelines issued by the ICC about the usage of balls, while different countries use different balls. India use their home-made 'SG Test' from early '90s, which is used for International and domestic cricket as well. England and West Indies use the Dukes with the most pronounced seam, while Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka use the Kookaburra.
Kookaburra balls are machine-made and have low seam, while the India-made SG balls are handmade and have a wide seam. Duke balls are manufactured in England and are handmade. They darker in colour compared to SG and Kookaburras due to the coating of lacquer.
(With PTI inputs)