Red, White & Pink Cricket Balls: Main Difference

A cricket ball is the core part of the match that is used to hit wickets, score runs and defend the total against any opposition team. Traditionally, the cricket sport started with a red ball to play test matches and since 1937, there have been several requests made to change the colour of a cricket ball. Gradually, white balls were introduced in 1977 by Kerry Packer which is widely used in limited-overs formats like the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). Later, in the 2000s, the Pink ball was developed to play first-class test matches.

It would be intriguing to make a comparison of Red vs White vs Pink cricket balls by analyzing what are they made of. Also, knowing the difference between red, white, and pink balls in cricket helps you to determine which type of cricket ball is the best by understanding its pros and cons in detail…

Red vs White vs Pink Cricket Ball: Important Comparison

Here is the detailed comparison of the red, white and pink cricket balls explained below individually:

1. Red Cricket Ball:

Typically, red cricket balls are made of cork and leather that are glued along with a string to form a spherical shape. A wax is added to enhance the shine of the ball. As a result, it allows bowlers to deliver huge swings by continuously rubbing and holding one side of the ball.

Pros:

  • More useful for the matches held during the day.
  • Huge swing for fast bowling and variation in spin bowling.
  • Can be used for at least 80 overs.

Cons:

  • Hard to locate or play under floodlights or dark conditions ( only suitable for playing under natural light conditions)
  • More vulnerable to wear and tear.

2. White Cricket Ball:

The MCC (Melbourne Cricket Club) approved the introduction of white cricket balls during the 1970s to improve the visibility during day-night matches, especially under the floodlights. These cricket balls are made of a solid core of cork which is additionally covered with a white leather cover. 

Pros:

  • Smoother and have a better texture than red and pink cricket balls.
  • Huge swing at the early stage due to polyurethane coating.
  • Suitable for coloured clothing
  • Visibility under artificial lights

Cons:

  • Accumulates dirt quickly during the match.
  • Becomes difficult for the umpires to notice the ball, especially in dangerous situations where the ball is hit straight by the batsman to the umpires.
  • The ball gets softer as the game progresses.
  • Loses shine quickly compared to a red cricket ball.

3. Pink Cricket Ball:

Similar to the white cricket balls, the pink cricket ball is made of a solid cork wrapped with red leather. Mainly, the manufacturers decided to solve the visibility problem by deciding to split the difference and colour the ball with pink rather than white.

Especially, for the day-night test matches, the pink ball was used to track the balls under the lights. The pink cricket ball bounces off the green grass and reflects light faster. As a result, the pink cricket balls are approved for usage in all formats such as the tests, ODIs and T20Is.

Most importantly, the pink-coloured cricket balls add a new flavour to the longest format of the game, thereby preserving the essence of test cricket.

Pros:

  • The Polyurethane coating preserves the pink colour on the cricket ball for much longer durations.
  • Huge amount of swinger than red and white balls.
  • Maintains shine for long hours.

Cons:

  • The pink-coloured ball can be challenging for a batter to spot under natural light or daylight conditions.
  • Applying wax on these balls makes the colour of the pink ball darker, which can be challenging for playing during the evening. This is because an additional and different layer of coating can make the pink ball highly bright and distracting.
  • Players might take time adapting to the complexities of the pink colour cricket ball in terms of batting techniques, bowling strategies and fielding positions.

Conclusion:

The choice for to determine the best cricket balls depends upon the format and playing conditions. However, the day-night test matches are played on a rare basis under artificial lighting and the pink cricket balls cannot completely replace the tradition of playing test matches with red cricket balls. Whereas, white ball has been the core part of limited overs cricket.

Furthermore, Dukes, Kookaburra, and SG are the leading manufacturers of cricket balls that are used in international cricket matches, particularly the red and white coloured ones. Also, you need to know that the main difference between the red and white cricket balls is the type of leather used and the additional polishing done to the white ball.

However, purchasing cricket balls from these branded companies can be expensive. Alternatively, you can plan for budget-friendly and high-quality leather balls from SF Cricket Balls and AJ Cricket Balls for school and college tournaments. Overall, each type and colour of the ball serves its purpose and adds a unique flavour and competitiveness to the sport of cricket