Cricket Australia has decided to spin out the Dukes balls from the Marsh Sheffield Shield domestic cricket. The CA has decided to go for the domestic Kookaburras in the interest of the spinners’ tribe.
It was feared that a generation of spin bowlers may be slipping out of sight with the use of seam-friendly Dukes ball.
The CA after four seasons of using the British-made Dukes in the post-BBL rounds of the Sheffield Shield and in the competition’s final, has announced to revert to the use of Kookaburra exclusively.
The concerns expressed by leading domestic players that it’s becoming more difficult for spinners to thrive in four-day cricket have been backed up by numbers that show they are being given fewer and fewer opportunities with both balls, but particularly with the Dukes.
Spinners accounted for less than 15 per cent of all overs bowled with the Dukes last summer, down from about a quarter of all overs in 2016-17. With the red Kookaburra, the number has dwindled from 26% to 20.9 in the same timeframe.
Alarmingly, spinners took just 10% of all Dukes ball wickets last Shield season.
The now-retired Steven O’Keefe was last season’s standout individual spinner in the Shield overall with just 16 scalps, which left him outside the competition’s top 20 leading wicket-takers. The nine-Test tweaker has since warned the likes of Ashton Agar and Mitch Swepson risk falling by the wayside unless changes are made to the competition, primarily in regard to pitch preparation.