Dukes launches internal investigation on Ashes 2023 controversial ball-swap

An investigation will be launched by Dukes to find out if the ball replaced during Day 5 of The Oval was a product of a different batch rumoured to be from 2018-19 season. 

Dilip Jajodia, owner of the Dukes' cricket ball company, has launched an internal investigation on the controversial ball swap during the fifth Ashes 2023 Test at The Oval. 

As per a report in Australia-based 'News Corp', Jajoda will be investigating whether the ball put to use in replacement from the box on Day 5 during tourists' run-chase was a misfit and potentially wasn't meant to be mixed with the contemporary variety of the ball used for Tests in UK. 

Rumours are that the ball which swung and seamed off the deck a mile to trigger an Australian collapse after being replaced in the 38th over was from a batch produced by the Dukes company back in 2018-19 when conditions in England combined with a thicker, shinier Dukes had made batters' life extremely difficult. 

While the ICC has refused to take any action in the matter, Dukes are following on the word of Ricky Ponting, the former Aussie skipper and batting legend, whose words had echoed amidst the Ashes fan populace, with eyebrows raised all over the world on how umpires Joel Wilson and Kumar Dharmasena gave England the shiniest, hardest ball from the box. 

Dukes launches internal investigation on ball swap 

A split screen of the two completely contrasting balls went viral on social media with Ponting and Australian fans left fuming about the ball change. Ponting, on his part, had warned about the repercussions of the ball change as early as lunch on Day 5, well before Aussies slipped from 140/0 to lose four wickets in the space of 11 runs after the replacement and a further five in the last session to concede a series-levelling defeat to England.

"Every ball we produce for the specific season has got a date stamp on it. It would have 2023 marked on it," Jajodia was quoted as saying by News Corp. 

"We supply balls to the ground. These balls are not controlled by the ECB or the ICC, it’s controlled by the ground authority. So on this particular occasion (at The Oval) the balls would be done by Surrey."

"Surrey get the supply of balls from us before the season starts and then they start knocking them in, getting them into wear and tear if you like and in my view, they’re probably not doing it that accurately."

Also Read - ICC issues clarification on ball-change controversy; Ricky Ponting's plea falls to deaf ears

Despite tracking dates and details of each batch produced under his supervision, however, Jajodia admitted it is "not impossible" that a ball from an earlier batch may have been transferred to the batch in use for the Ashes Test match in London. 

"I can’t imagine they would risk putting a ball in there with a different date on it," he said. "Frankly the match referee should be on top of it. We do bang that number in quite hard, so even if the gold comes off the ball is imprinted. It wouldn’t be easy to get rid of it. I’m not saying it’s impossible (it was a 2018 or 2019 ball), but it’s not likely."

"I’m going to investigate myself, because it affects me … my name is at stake so it’s important they don’t misallege something wrong with the ball," he added.