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The history of the cricket ball

Updated July 19, 2017

The first cricket balls could have been made of rolled wool. Some modern batsmen probably wish they still were.

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One origin has English shepherds in the Middle Ages bowling or rolling balls of rags or wool at a target, often the sheep paddock's wicket gate. Other shepherds defended it with their crooked staffs. But it is unlikely one single game evolved into modern cricket.


Edward II (1300s) and Oliver Cromwell (1600s) are attributed with wielding a bat, and the first recorded game was in Kent, England, in 1646.


The first written Laws of Cricket in 1744 said the ball must weigh 142gr to 170gr. In the 1770s, the weight became 156gr to 163gr, and the circumference was 8 13/16 inches to 9 inches.


Cricket balls have a cork core that is covered with tightly wound string, and two- or four-piece leather case. The slightly raised sewn seam is the most important part of the ball, producing its unpredictable movement off the pitch.


Hand-making cricket balls, even up to first class and test quality, is still a cottage industry in the Indian subcontinent.

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About the Author

Geoffrey Darling

Geoffrey Darling has been writing since 1980. In 2007, he received an Ohio Senate award for contribution to the arts, recognizing his work performing in Ohio prisons. Darling also worked for the New Zealand government as the Minister of Energy's press secretary and edited three small community newspapers.

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