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Sports - Packer Leather pleased with pink cricket ball improvements
12 December 2016

Australian tanner Packer Leather has said it is pleased with work it has done to help sports brand Kookaburra improve the performance of cricket balls covered, unusually, in pink rather than red leather.

A series of test matches (five-day international games) between Australia and Pakistan begins on December 15 in Brisbane, close to Packer Leather’s tannery in Narangba. In a departure from standard practice, the games will take place in both daylight and nighttime conditions and, to aid visibility after sundown when the floodlights come on, the pink ball will be in use. 

Shorter forms of cricket are frequently played under floodlights and white balls are now a common sight. White works well in those matches because teams wear coloured kit. In test matches, however, all players stick to traditional white clothing, making a pink ball a better choice for allowing players and spectators to have good visibility of what’s happening in the game.

Early trials of pink cricket balls caused some controversy, with players suggesting there were unusual levels of swing in twilight conditions. But Packer Leather has said it has worked closely with manufacturer Kookaburra to improve the product.

The tanning company’s technical director, Andrew Luke, explained in the build-up to the Australia-Pakistan series that Kookaburra has engineered a number of changes “to ensure consistency for all forms of cricket”. Laboratory testing that Packer Leather and Kookaburra have both carried out has validated these improvements, Mr Luke said, adding: “The results on the pitch speak for themselves.”

Packer Leather is famous for its kangaroo leather, but it uses bovine leather for cricket balls. The leather is tanned using a three-day drum process followed by post-tanning processes of at least 14 days before crusting.

Report courtesy of Leatherbiz