A cricket ball holds many forms. It can vary from something round and plastic to a half-taped tennis ball, or even a pair of socks...if times are that desperate. But the true form weighs approximately 5.5 ounces with a circumference of 9 inches and consists of cork, string & leather. And f****** hurts when you get hit by it.
The procedure lasts up to 75 days and requires incredible amounts of skill, care & attention to detail. It's an intense 10 step process that's quite remarkable when you realise the life span of one and the mass-production required.
Step 1 | Moulds are used to cut the cork strips that will soon be wrapped around the ball’s cork-rubber core.
Step 2 | The wet cork-rubber-string mixture is hammered into a perfectly shaped sphere by experienced hands that we're sure hold a few scars from a misplaced hammer.
Step 3 | Balls are then hung in batches and taken down after more than a month, by which time they are dry. Cherry picking.
Step 4 | Dyed leather sheets are cut into smaller pieces. Then into smaller, diamond-shaped ball quarters.
Step 5 | Two quarters are stitched together to create a ball half.
Step 6 | Each ball half is then 'tortured' into a perfectly defined half-sphere.
Step 7 | The core and the outer leather are then measured to match up with ICC guidelines.
Step 8 | The lacquer is then applied to the ball. This is what allows the ball to swing and be manipulated by bowlers with vigorous rubs in the crotch and derrière.
Step 9 | Ball inspectors then do what they're best at by scrutinising each ball, packing them into boxes marked for Tests, club, etc. and shipping them out across the world.
Step 10 | The balls arrive at their destination and are tossed to the likes of James Anderson, Mitchell Starc and Terry, one of West Yorkshire's finest Sunday League bowlers with a mean slower ball.
A fascinating process that really makes you appreciate the time and effort that goes into a little red ball which has a life span of one day and can be the difference between winning or losing. Four runs or six runs. Middling it into your pads or plumb LBW.
Luckily we can witness the creation thanks to Kookaburra after they captured the manufacturing process for their traditional 'Turf' balls. Check it out below. (Try not to get lost in the narrators velvety voice)