How are cricket balls made?

How are cricket balls made?  Nowadays, the manufacture of cricket balls is largely mechanised, although some handcrafted elements, notably stitching, may remain. The core of a cricket consists of a piece of solid, machine moulded cork and latex rubber compound tightly wound with layers of twine to give the ball its shape, density and optimal weight. For the record, the Laws of Cricket stipulate that, for the men’s game, a cricket ball must measure between 22.4 and 22.9 centimetres in circumference and weigh between 155.9 and 163.0 grammes.

For a traditional, red cricket ball, four equal pieces of leather are cut and shaped, again by machine, to pieced together to form the four quarters of the outer covering of the ball. Cowhide leather is the standard for professional cricket balls and, ideally, all four pieces should be cut from the same spread. Cowhide leather is a durable, but nonetheless dynamic, material, which allows the ball to change its weight and size during the different phases of the game. The four quarters are stitched together to form two halves, which are firmly joined by a raised seam, which can hand or machine stitched, around the circumference or ‘equator’ of the ball.

The quality of the raised seam often defines the overall quality of a cricket ball. Premium cricket balls are fully hand stitched with six rows of stitching, which determine how the ball travels through the air and off the pitch. Swing bowlers rely on movement through the air, whereas seam and spin bowlers rely on movement off the pitch, so the seam of a cricket ball is vitally important. Once assembled, the cricket ball is dyed, stamped with the maker’s name, covered with multiple coats of lacquer and polished to a high shine.