Sanspareils Greenlands (SG), the official ball manufacturers and suppliers of Indian Cricket, on Thursday, October 11 responded to the recently made open criticism from premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and the Indian captain Virat Kohli by expressing willingness to better the existent length of the seam on their balls and further pronounce it.
Earlier, after the first Test at Rajkot, Ashwin raised the issue about the SG balls by saying, “Right now, I would say Kookaburra red ball is a lot better ball, Dukes is also right up there. Pretty disappointed with the current SG ball. It used to be top-notch, the seam used to stand up strong even after 70-80 overs. It’s not the same anymore,”
Ashwin's opinion was very well supported by his captain in the press conference where Virat told the reporters present that, “The Dukes ball, I think, is the most suited ball for Test cricket," he cleared, "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.”
"I totally agree with him(Ashwin). 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," he further said and added, "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."
To the claim, the SG has issued a statement now. Anand, who is part of the ownership group of the Meerut-based company, was quoted saying, "As I understand, the main issue is the seam of the ball," he added, "The players want a more prominent seam," before informing, "We can raise it by a mm or 1.5 mm. It’s isn’t something that can’t be done. After the series is over, we will sit with the BCCI and see what they have to say,"
The matter is growing wider and it becomes very important for the reputation of SG, who gains a lot by being associated with the BCCI and Indian Cricket despite its financial contribution being comparatively low.
A BCCI official said that the board will “take stock” of the issue and said, “It’s an opinion of the team members, which is perfectly in order. The BCCI will take stock of the situation,” before he added, “Virat Kohli is one of the best batsmen in the world. And he has scored a lot of runs when an SG ball was bowled to him. I suggest he continues to do that,” and signed off.
(Inputs from Indian Express)