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Hampshire director of cricket Giles White says Kookaburra trial would be ‘interesting’

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White says Kookaburra trial would be ‘interesting’

Hampshire Director of Cricket Giles White says a trial of a Kookaburra ball in County Championship matches would be "interesting."
The Australian made Kookaburra ball has a more pronounced seam compared to the Dukes ball currently used in the County Championship

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White says an English trial of the Kookaburra ball would be “interesting”.

“It’s just throwing another variable into the season to see how players react,” White told BBC Radio Solent.

“[And] to see which players can still take wickets and influence games with a slightly different ball.”

It would be the first time that the Kookaburra ball has been used in County Championship matches.

Last summer there were repeated issues with the Dukes ball, both in the county game and international cricket, going out of shape.

The ECB has told BBC Sport that trialling a Kookaburra ball was a recommendation from the high-performance review and that no decision on whether to introduce one has been made yet and it was listening to feedback from FCCs.

White believes any kind of change-up will be an interesting challenge for bowlers.

“When we play away from home as an England side we are playing with a Kookaburra ball and it’s a slightly different skill needed to get your 20 wickets with it.

“You need to think more about pace and it doesn’t do quite so much off the seam that is not as pronounced, and the ball might not swing as long.”

White says Hampshire might use a Kookaburra when they host Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl at the end of June, and when they travel away to play Taunton this summer.

The ECB has said a key part of the high-performance review was to make sure the whole game was aligned.

That could mean all 18 County Championship sides using the Aussie ball over the same period.

“It will be interesting to see if anything comes from it,” added White.

‘No directive’ for domestic sides to play ‘Bazball’

Earlier this month at the annual winter meeting of county coaches and directors of cricket, the England Test captain Ben Stokes and England head coach Brendon McCullum offered an insight into their bold new approach to the game, dubbed “Bazball”.

White says Stokes and McCullum did not tell domestic sides how to play though: “There was certainly no directive to play that brand of cricket.

“What they emphasised more than anything was playing to a player’s strengths.

“Everyone who went to that meeting would have listened intently and taken some notes so they could deliver the learnings in their own environment.

“It was a very good meeting, nothing revolutionary, but fascinating to listen to them.”

‘Bowlers must be more savvy with Kookaburra’ – Analysis

Kevan James, former Middlesex & Hampshire cricketer and BBC Radio Solent commentator

The Kookaburra ball requires a pace bowler to think a little more about how they are going to take wickets.

The Dukes ball, with its more pronounced seam, gives a little more sideways movement to a bowler – even sometimes when it’s not intended.

Its make-up also allows shine to stay on it a little longer, allowing the potential for the ball to swing for extended periods.

The Kookaburra ball offers less of the above, meaning bowlers have to be a little more savvy about how they are going to take wickets.

It could mean varying their pace, setting more planned and dynamic fields, and generally having a plan whilst bowling rather than just ‘turn their arm over’ and wait for the ball to deviate in some way.

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