Australia switch balls ahead of Ashes

Pat Howard (Gallo Images)
Pat Howard (Gallo Images)

Canberra - After 15 years of failing to win an Ashes Test series in England, Cricket Australia have decided to give players more experience with the Dukes cricket ball by using it in their domestic first class competition from next year.

The England and Wales Cricket Board use the Dukes ball for international matches, while Australia use the locally produced Kookaburra brand.

The balls behave differently through the air and off the pitch, with Australia's inability to play the moving ball seen as one of the reasons why they have failed to win an Ashes series in England since 2001.

Australian bowlers have also been unable to exploit the same movement as their English counterparts.

"In recent times Australian teams travelling to England haven't adjusted well to local conditions and the swinging Dukes ball," Cricket Australia's General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard said in a statement.

"We have been on record saying that we will look at ways to address this deficiency and believe giving players greater experience with the Dukes ball is one way of doing just that.

"Some people might think changing a brand of cricket ball is a minor consideration, but as we have seen from past Ashes campaigns in England, it can be a significant factor."

Australia will host the next Ashes series in late 2017/early 2018 before the sides return to England in 2019.

The Dukes ball will be used in the second part of Australia's Sheffield Shield competition from next year in order to prepare the team for their overseas tours.

The Kookaburra ball will continue to be used in the first part of the season, when Australia typically host visiting teams from November to February, though the test series are normally completed by early January.

In the last four Ashes tours in England, the hosts have won 10 of the 20 games, while the tourists have clinched just four.

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