During Pakistan’s 2009 tour to Sri Lanka, and now in the current test series, as many as 13 cricket balls have been changed. In most cases after only 4 overs.
The Kookaburra cricket ball, which is used commonly in the subcontinent, has never had such serious issues before. It has always held up well in the dry rough outfields and wickets in Asia.
Pakistan’s coach on tour Inthikab Alam was alarmed.
Having been put in, Pakistan were cruising at 285 for 4 on a slowish track when Sri Lanka, who had till then made no impact with the second new ball, called for a replacement ball as it had gone out of shape after 3.4 overs. The replacement ball swung alarmingly and Pakistan lost three wickets for two runs in eight balls to end the day at 289 for 7.
"If you analyse the first two Test matches and this one, everytime the ball was changed it has worked," Alam said. "Today they changed it twice and I don’t want to say anything about it, but it’s just one of those things. The first ball they changed didn’t do anything and they certainly got the right ball and it did the trick. It’s part and parcel of the game.
According to Nishantha Ranatunga, when the Sri Lankan Cricket authorities brought this to the attention of Kookaburra, instead of apologising profusely and shipping out quick replacements to save their rapidly tarnishing reputation, the Australian company responded wanting to know the serial numbers on the box of balls.
Speaking further Ranatunga said, “We have written to the manufacturers on the development and they in reply have asked us for the manufacture numbers of the ball boxes that is involved in the issue.”
Ranatunga also added, “Several other ball manufacturers have already approached us with their products, but we still have not made up our minds if there is going to be a change. However if we are to change the brand of manufacture in the future it will be after this series. However it would have to be done with the consent of the ICC as the present brand that we use has got their approval”.