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Dukes ball

As with many things, cricket has undergone some changes throughout the years. One such change is the introduction of different coloured balls. Traditionally, cricket was played with only a red ball, but this isn't always true in modern-day games. White ball cricket, officially known as Limited Overs cricket, is played with a white ball instead of red.

But what is Limited Overs cricket, and why is a white ball used instead of a red one?

What is Limited Overs Cricket?

Limited Overs cricket is a variation of the game designed to be completed in a shorter time period. The rules are slightly different from the traditional game, with a faster pace of play and fewer overs. Limited Overs, or one-day cricket, must be finished in one day, and the number of overs is limited (usually 50). It is often seen as more entertaining, as the players must make quick decisions which can lead to risky moments and exciting finishes.

There are some different variations of Limited Overs cricket, such as:

  • Twenty20 cricket
  • List A cricket
  • 100 ball cricket

These games are all played with a white ball, and the total overs vary between 20-60 depending on which game is played.

Why Are White Balls Used Instead of Traditional Red?

The main reason a white ball is used in Limited Overs cricket is visibility. Spectators can follow the action more clearly with a white ball, as it can be seen against all backgrounds. 

Visibility is particularly important in television broadcasts and night matches, where lighting may be an issue.

The traditional red balls used in test matches can appear brown under the floodlights used during night matches. This makes it difficult to follow the action, as the ball can blend into the background during play. A white ball eliminates this issue and makes it easier for viewers to follow the game.

Is There Any Difference Between Red and White Balls?

You would assume all cricket balls are the same, regardless of colour. However, this isn't the case. Aside from the obvious colour difference, there are some further variations between a red and white ball.

Let's examine some key differences between red and white cricket balls:

Red Cricket Balls

  • Cherry red in colour
  • Used in both First-Class cricket and Test cricket matches
  • Much more hardy and durable
  • Swings less during matches
  • Best for day games only
  • Doesn't appear as dirty during play
  • The red balls surface is less smooth

White Cricket Balls

  • Pure white in colour
  • Used only in Limited Overs/one-day cricket matches
  • Much better visibility compared to a red cricket ball
  • Easily prone to wear and tear during play
  • Swings much more during matches as it is more polished than a red ball
  • Best for night games
  • Are more heavily dyed during the manufacturing process
  • The white colour gets dirty easily, thus making the lighter colour slightly redundant
  • The white balls surface is much smoother

Are There Any Similarities Between Red and White Cricket Balls?

While there are many variances between red and white cricket balls, we can't ignore the few similarities they share.

Both red and white cricket balls are:

  • The same size and weight
  • Treated with the same rules and guidelines
  • Produced in similar ways, with a cork interior and leather exterior
  • Have the exterior material stitched together


So there you have it – a look at what white ball cricket is and how the white ball differs from the traditional red. Whether you're a fan of Test cricket or One-day matches, it's clear that each game has its own unique elements. But with both types being played with an iconic cricket ball, no matter which game you prefer, you can't go wrong!

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