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Saturday, August 2, 2014

'Seamless' transition ........... from red cherry to Pink ball !!!

In Insurance parlance, there are individual policies and package policies – covering the same property / subject matter of insurance.  Despite having multiple policies, there can be circumstances where there is a genuine loss – but still not indemnifiable. A simple example could be : Marine Insurance and then Erection all risks – though both policies could have been availed – there could be a gap between the cessation of Marine coverage and commencement of EAR ....

Neither insurance policyholders nor courts would  look kindly upon exclusions from the broad coverage provided by insurance policies. Policyholders often balk at exclusions and courts apply favorable rules of insurance policy interpretation to prevent the improper overuse of exclusions.  The Policy holder might feel intentionally depraved off indemnity – yet Insurers would argue that there are coverage gaps – some occurring at a period, when both the policies did not afford any protection.  Some Insurers would market their products stating that their package policies are so designed to (seemingly) offer ‘seamless’ protection.

In sewing, a seam is the joint where two or more layers of fabric, leather, or other materials are held together with stitches. In clothing construction, seams are classified by their type  and position in the finished garment.  Seamless would mean : 1. Having no seams; 2. Perfectly consistent: a seamless plot in the novel. Relating this  to our pet subject – a cricket ball is a hard, solid ball, covered by leather – the red cherry of olden days ! The manipulation of a cricket ball, through employment of its various physical properties, is the staple component of bowling and dismissing batsmen – movement in the air, and off the ground- by bounce, seam and swing movement.  Though mostly it is the red cherry,  white ball is used in ODIs and pink ball has also been experimented.  Altering the state of the cricket ball outside the permitted manners designated in the rules of cricket is prohibited during a match, and 'ball tampering' has resulted in numerous controversies.

The nature of the cricket ball slightly varies with its manufacturer. White Kookaburra balls are used in One Day Internationals and T20Is, while red Kookaburras are used in Tests played in most of the Test-playing nations, - while some use Duke, SG and more.  Seam bowling is a phrase used for a bowling technique in cricket whereby the ball is deliberately bowled on to its seam, to cause a random deviation. Genuine exponents of pace bowling rely on their pace – while seamers deceive with the movement of the ball. 

A cricket ball is not a perfect sphere. The seam of the ball is the circular stitching which joins the two halves of the cricket ball. Hence, the seam joining the pieces of leather is circumferential and the stitching is noticeably raised. If the ball is bowled in such a way that the seam hits the pitch when it bounces, this irregularity can cause the ball to deviate sideways in its path. It may move in any direction, or just go straight. The batsman generally watches the ball from the moment it leaves the hand of the bowler till it pitches and further moves !!!!  seam bowlers usually deliver  the ball with the seam held upright, with rotation about a horizontal axis.  It is not easy and the seam has to be held upright between the index finger and the middle finger at the time of the delivery of the ball and, most importantly, the wrist has to be dead straight when the ball is delivered.  Some bowlers roll their fingers over the surface of the ball producing cutters.  The ball generally seams more when it is new and fielding team would try to preserve its freshness – of course, a few drives to the boundary will damage its outer. 

Away, there has been lot of talk of using the pink ball - Australia trialled night sessions using the pink ball during the domestic Sheffield Shield season and has mooted hosting a first day-night test against New Zealand in November 2015. After Kerry Packer-promoted Pyjama cricket – coloured uniforms, white ball, floodlit daynight one-day matches in 1977 – cricket is now headed for day-night Tests.  But there are reports suggesting that the overwhelming majority of players believe the pink Kookaburra ball isn't yet ready for test cricket- for the reason that it goes soft very quickly, does not  swing and seam and more importantly does not ‘reverse-swing’.  According to Australian newspapers - “Only 11 percent of players rated last season's Sheffield Shield trial a success and just a quarter felt it provided a fair contest between bat and ball. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen is among those far from bowled over by the innovation.

An overwhelming 51 per cent of players said they didn't believe day-night Tests should be staged, 24 per cent said it should be and 26 per cent were unsure. Although Kookaburra, the manufacturer of the pink ball, insists it has been polished more than the red ball to make it last longer, Aussie cricketers disagree.

Kookaburras (genus Dacelo) are terrestrial tree kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea. The name is a loanword, onomatopoeic of its call. The kookaburra's loud call sounds like echoing human laughter. The Australia men's national field hockey team have the nickname ‘kookaburras’ – they are the only Australian team in any sport to receive medals at the last six Summer Olympic Games (1992–2012), and have placed in the top four in every Olympics since 1980. They also won the Hockey World Cup in 1986, 2010 and 2014.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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