A first of its kind, Earley Cricket Club in England is planning to switch from using traditional leather balls to new vegan balls. The club in Reading, almost 64 kilometres from West London has introduced vegan cricket ball made using a rubber covering.

Meanwhile, the club founder and chairman Gary Shacklady who turned vegan five years ago had already introduced a vegan tea for their players. The traditional teas served during matches have been animal product-free for two years and have been well received. However, players are still getting to grips with the switch to vegan cricket balls.

The 33-year-old Gary Shacklady is confident that adopting a solely plant-based lifestyle will give the team the edge over their opponents. Speaking about the innovation, Shacklady told that the ball does behave like a leather ball, but it is difficult to grip and bounce a bit more. However, they are keen to find a better version of the vegan balls.

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‘It does behave like a leather cricket ball, but it bounces more and it’s more difficult to grip,” Shacklady said. ‘But we’re enthused by it and we’re hopeful of finding a better version,” he added.

Earley Cricket Club was set up 12 years ago, and Gary Shacklady is the youngest club chairman in England. He turned vegan he could no longer eat match teas – usually ham sandwiches. He also felt that the club’s meat-based catering meant Muslim and Hindu players were being excluded. So two years ago, he set about creating a menu of homemade vegan meals. He is hopeful that more clubs in Berkshire Cricket League will follow their lead.

Earlier this weeks we saw microchips being used in the leather balls to help deliver instant statistics on speed – at release point, pre-bounce and post-bounce – that are more comprehensive and accurate than a normal radar. And now the introduction of the vegan balls will certainly light up the enthusiasm among the fans.