In a bid to bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be implementing Kookaburra balls in the upcoming domestic cricket season, which begins on September 14. Despite Pakistan’s men’s team playing their home Tests with the Kookaburra brand, the country’s first-class cricket was being played with the Dukes balls for the last two seasons. Because of its hard leather and pronounced seam, Dukes had tilted the balance between the bat and the ball in the favour of the latter because of the prodigious seam and swing it provides to the fast-bowlers, especially earlier in the innings. The Kookaburra ball is expected to help the cricketers in developing profound techniques as its condition changes over the course of an innings. The Kookaburras gets softer as the day progresses, bringing in the spinners in the play in the latter sessions. Though, the batsmen score runs more freely with the ball getting worn out, the Kookaburra ensures the right equilibrium throughout the day. “The PCB expects investment on the Kookaburras will develop cricketers who are ready to take up the challenges of international cricket by learning how to operate at different stages of an innings,” said a spokesman for the PCB on Friday. Pakistan Test player Azhar Ali said in a statement: “The conditions in domestic cricket were becoming bowling friendly, with the application of the Dukes on grassy surfaces. Batting sides were losing a lot of wickets in the first 25 over as the bowlers did not have to work hard enough in such conditions. This was keeping them from developing the habit of scoring runs. The bowlers will now have to work hard, which will also increase the bowling speeds of our pacers because the Kookaburra demands from the bowlers to put in efforts unlike the Dukes, which can just be floated in the air. There was a lot of discussion over this for quite some time and the decision to use Kookaburra brand from domestic cricket is a positive step because we play most our international cricket with Kookaburra. This will accustom the players with the brand.” Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said: “It is very important for a player to play the domestic cricket with the same ball that he will be playing with in international cricket. This will give our bowlers, both Test and first-class, a fair idea of how the Kookaburra behaves at different stages of an innings. The more we play with the Kookaburra ball, the better it is for us. We have to play our international cricket with this brand.” Senior pacers Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir have also backed the PCB’s initiative, saying this will help the up-and-coming pacers in preparing for the challenges at international level.