New Ball Please!

Vernon Coleman

Back in 1954, the English cricket authorities decided to test a smaller cricket ball for use in first class matches.

Under conditions of great secrecy, cricket ball manufacturers were instructed to produce a ball with a circumference of between 8 and 11/16 inches and 8 and 13/16 inches instead of the usual 8 and 13/16 inches and 9 inches.

There was much excitement. Would the new ball help bowlers? Would it enable spinners to get more grip and more turn? Would the new smaller ball be harder or softer? Would it last as well?

It was decided to test the new ball in a match between Yorkshire and the MCC.

Committee members, ex-players, cricket ball manufacturers gathered at Lordís to see what would happen.

(Honest. This is all true. Iím not making any of it up.)

Yorkshire went in to bat first.

The tension mounted as the new ball was inspected, examined, rubbed and prepared for its test.

And then, before the spectators had properly settled in, a Yorkshire left-handed batsman called Wilson hit the brand new test ball over the Lordís Grand Stand.

It was never seen again and no one knows what happened to it.

Comical but rather sad, donít you think?

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2018