Red, White, or Pink: Exploring the Intricate World of Cricket Balls

Cricket, a sport celebrated for its rich history and diverse formats, relies heavily on the quality and characteristics of the cricket ball. For professional players and cricket enthusiasts alike, the choice of cricket balls is a critical aspect of the game. Different formats of the game and varying playing conditions necessitate the use of distinct types of balls.

What Is the Difference Between Red, Pink, and White Cricket Balls?


Red Cricket Balls

Red cricket balls are synonymous with traditional Test cricket, and they play a crucial role in the longer format of the game. In Australia, Test matches are predominantly played with red balls, which are known for their durability and ability to maintain swing and seam movement over extended periods. Their construction involves high-quality leather and a precisely layered core, ensuring optimal performance under different weather conditions.

Pink Cricket Balls

Introduced to invigorate day-night Test cricket, pink cricket balls have become a fixture in Australia’s cricketing calendar. The pink ball you can easily find at your local cricket ball shop is a notable choice for day-night Tests, offering improved visibility and swing under lights. It undergoes a specific manufacturing process, with the seam and colour tailored to enhance visibility during twilight hours. This innovation has added a new dimension to Test cricket, allowing matches to extend into the evening and attract larger audiences.

White Cricket Balls

Limited-overs cricket, including One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 (T20) matches, is characterised by the use of white cricket balls. The white ball, as the preferred choice for these formats, is designed to stand out against coloured clothing and the pitch, facilitating better visibility for players and spectators alike. With an emphasis on entertainment and fast-paced action, white cricket balls contribute to the dynamic nature of limited-overs cricket.

Selecting the Right Balls 


Now that you know the significance of the different coloured balls, here are some other factors to consider when you are looking around your one-stop cricket ball shop

Traditional Cricket Game Balls

Cricket balls used in official matches adhere to strict regulations outlined by the International Cricket Council (ICC). These regulations govern aspects such as weight, circumference, seam dimensions, and colour. The traditional red and white leather cricket balls are the standard choices for Test and Limited-Overs formats, respectively.

Red Ball (Test Matches)

• Weight: 5.75 to 5.5 ounces

• Circumference: 8.81 to 9 inches

• Seam: Stitched by hand, prominent seam for swing and seam movement

• Usage: Primarily used in Test matches, with the red colour providing a unique challenge for batsmen under natural light conditions.

White Ball (Limited-Overs Matches)

• Weight: 5.75 to 5.5 ounces

• Circumference: 8.81 to 9 inches

• Seam: Stitched by hand, with a slightly less prominent seam for limited-overs games

• Usage: Employed in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 (T20) matches, the white ball is more visible under floodlights, allowing for improved visibility during evening games.

Training Balls for Skill Enhancement

Cricket training involves honing various skills, including bowling, batting, and fielding. Specialised cricket training balls have been developed to assist players in refining these skills, and these are:

• Swing and Seam Training Balls. These balls are designed to replicate the swing and seam movement of traditional cricket balls. They’re ideal for bowlers aiming to improve their control over swing and seam.

• Spin Bowling Training Balls. These offer different degrees of spin, allowing spin bowlers to practice variations in their deliveries. They’re useful for developing the skill of extracting turn from the pitch.

• Reaction Balls. These are designed to bounce unpredictably, helping batsmen enhance their reflexes and adaptability. They mimic the unpredictable nature of a cricket ball bouncing off irregularities on the pitch.

Two Piece Ball vs. Four Piece Ball

Cricket balls are mostly made from cork, leather and string. The core of the ball is cork, covered by leather and strings that give the ball that elastic bounce feature. Something that can make a drastic difference in the ball’s performance is the type of stitching. The 2 piece balls include two sheets of leather stitched together around the cork. This reduces the resistance to air when thrown at high speeds and gives them a better swing or extra curve. They are lightweight and have more elasticity in the bounces, but are not built to last very long.

The 4 piece cricket ball is made from four leather sheets or four quadrants. The additional partition perpendicular to the equator of the ball makes it very durable and strong enough for multi-day games. These balls do not swing as much as the 2 piece ones, but they offer stability and high performance.

The Seam


The seam or the type of stitching at the equator of the ball, provides the bowler with just the right grip to hold, spin or swing the ball. It is also crucial for the aerodynamics of the ball. Larger seams that protrude from the surface of the ball offer a good grip and the right amount of air resistance when thrown at higher paces. Thinner seams can also work fine, but might not offer a firm grip. The choice, much like the type of cricket bat, comes down to the bowler’s preference.

The Balance

We can confidently say that a good cricket ball is defined by its balance. A well-balanced ball does not wobble when thrown upward and spins in a uniform motion in mid-air. If the ball wobbles, then it might not be balanced. When you buy cricket balls, you can test them at the shop by spinning them upwards with the help of your index finger and middle finger aligned in the same direction as the seam.

In a Nutshell

The choice of a cricket ball is as diverse as the cricketing landscape itself. From red balls providing a traditional feel in Test matches to the pink balls illuminating day-night contests and white balls adding flair to limited-overs cricket, each type serves a specific purpose. As cricket continues to evolve, the significance of the cricket ball remains unwavering, embodying the essence of skill, strategy, and tradition in the sport.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.