Category Archives: cricket balls

The World Cup Effect (1987-1992)

Here’s part II of my World Cup Story.


The 1987 World Cup was the first staged outside England, so this could perhaps be regarded as the first time the tournament was a truly international event.  It was staged by India and Pakistan under the slogan “Cricket for Peace”, chosen in reflection of the turbulent relationship that had often existed between the two nations since the 1947 partition.  The title holders India, playing under home conditions, were favourites for victory closely followed by their co-hosts Pakistan – but again the event was won by the outsiders, this time Australia.  The final was played out between England and Australia, anti-British feeling left from the colonial days still ran high in parts of India and the crowd really got behind Australia which Australian Captain Allan Border acknowledge had been a big help and encouragement.  The victory was a real turning point for Australia, who had spent quite some time in the doldrums, and was the beginning of an extraordinary period of success for the national team.

With their own team out of the competition the Indian fans really got behind the Aussie outsiders.

With their own team out of the competition the Indian fans really got behind the Aussie outsiders.

WORLD CUP EFFECT 4 – The spirit of India gives Australia back it’s Mojo back – and it stayed in place for quite some time!

Dual hosts again for the 1992 World Cup, this time New Zealand and Australia.  Staged in the homeland of Kerry Packer this was the first World Cup to feature coloured clothing, white balls and floodlights.  Another notable feature of this tournament was that it marked South Africa’s return to the international cricketing fold after around 2 decades in the wilderness.  Their entry was actually quite last minute and the organisers had to rewrite the fixtures to accommodate them!

Wonderful picture of the colourfully dressed teams with a fantastic backdrop (although if you look carefully you'll notice the weather already looks pretty threatening!)

Wonderful picture of the colourfully dressed teams with a fantastic backdrop (although you might notice the weather already looks pretty ominous!)

Australia had had a busy summer of regular international cricket and had not made any allowances in schedule for the fact they were hosting the World Cup, therefore the tournament was played very late in the season and many matches were effected by rain.  These were the days before Duckworth/Lewis but for the tournament to progress results were needed so the ‘Rain Rule’ was introduced –

(a) The runs scored by the team batting second shall be compared with the runs scored by the team batting first from the equivalent number of highest scoring overs.

(b) If, due to a suspension of play, the number of overs in the innings of the team batting second has to be revised, their target score shall be the runs scored by the team batting first from the equivalent number of overs, plus one.

Confused?  I know I am!  An example of how (badly) it worked can be seen in one of the warm up games – India bowled out Victorian Country XI for just 156, India were then cruising nicely to their target at 129-3 after 31 overs when it began to rain hard…India were declared to have lost!  The unfairness of the rain rule was to be felt by teams throughout the tournament.

The new 'Rain Rule' lead to some very strange calculations.

The new ‘Rain Rule’ lead to some very strange calculations.

The victors this time were Pakistan.  Unlike India and Australia before them their victory did not herald a gold age in cricket for the nation but was to begin a period of marked decline.

WORLD CUP EFFECT 5 – lots of choice from this eventful World Cup but I’m going to go with the most obvious and visual – the bright lights and coloured clothing that was to change the look of international limited overs from that point on.

Next time:  What happened next?  The 1996 World Cup – I predict a riot.  

(Bibliography – Wisden History of the Cricket World Cup edited by Tony Cozier,  World Cup: Cricket’s Clash of the Titans by Peter Baxter)

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Filed under Australia, British Empire, Cricket, cricket balls, Cricket World Cup, England, India, one day cricket, Pakistan

Found it

(See previous post to make sense of this)

I was wrong, we do have the blue ball.  My manager Neil found it for me straight away.

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

It’s a lovely colour, and not scary at all.  I can see how it would totally get lost against the grass though.

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Scary red balls!

Poster from 1890.  Guess the lady batting looks a little bit frightened...

Poster from 1890. Guess the lady batting looks a little bit nervous…

I was listening to an  interview on our audio archive this morning.  Ken Medlock talks about all kinds of cricket related topics, ( http://mcc.adlibhosting.com/Details/archive/110000610), I was really interested by what he had to say about cricket balls and how they are made, during this section the interviewer David Rayvern Allen suddenly drops in a comment about blue cricket balls being used for the women’s game so ladies wouldn’t be frightened by the red balls!  A myth surely?  Like piano legs being covered up for decency’s  sake in Victorian times.  I had to find out – and found evidence that they did exist almost straight away.

According to an exhibition catalogue from a 1963 exhibition of women’s cricketana

“The BLUE BALL made specially by Alfred Reader at the request of Gamages Ltd. in 1897 to ensure that lady cricketers would not swoon at the sight of a red one did not prove practical as it could not be seen again the background of grass and sky.  Of interest is the fact that the weight of this ball, of which a limited supply was produced, is 5 ozs., the same as has been used by women cricketers since 1926.  The ball on exhibit is the only preserved memento of this curious experiment.”

Where is this ball?  We don’t have it, it doesn’t say who owned it in the catalogue – I want to see it!  If anyone has seen a blue ball can you let me know?  I would also like to hear from any ladies (or indeed gents) who have ever found themselves in a state of terror at the sight of a red ball.  This is all intriguing stuff!

fear

…actually, they ARE pretty frightening!

(Bibliography – 1745-1963: Exhibition of Women’s Cricketana by Molly Hide and Netta Rheinberg.)

Photography by Alan Rees.

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Filed under archive, bowling, Cricket, cricket balls, History, lady members, women's cricket