In the game of cricket pitch is where all the centre of the action takes place. A cricket pitch lies in the centre of the field with a dimension of 22 yards in length and 10 feet wide. The deliveries bowled by a bowler bounce off the pitch and reach towards the batsman until a full toss is bowled. The bounce on a pitch depends on the condition of the pitch. Usually at the beginning of the match, one can see some small patches of grass on the field. It starts to wear off as the game progresses.
To provide the same circumstances for any team to bat or bowl, the pitch is not altered through the course of a game. In countries like Australia and England, one can easily notice the green pitch or a green top. Some pitches are dry while some of them are dusty. The condition of a pitch depends on the location of the stadium. The subcontinental pitches are usually dry mostly due to the weather conditions.
Types of Cricket Pitches
A cricket pitch is majorly defined in three major categories
Green pitches are favorable for seam bowlers. Just like an artist painting on a canvas, seam bowlers can execute deliveries according to their wishes. A batsman’s never-ending nightmare on this pitch only seems to wear off a bit as the ball starts to get older. The softness makes it easy for them to connect with the bat. The grass on the pitch allows the ball to swing easily and more comfortably. Spinners tend to suffer on these pitches. The pitch or the track itself doesn’t offer any sort of help to them. This pitch is favored for Test and ODI matches.
A classic example of this pitch would be the 3rd Test between India v England in the newly inaugurated Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad in 2021. Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin single-handedly called the shots for both innings. As the ball can grip the surface, the pitch offers more turns in comparison to the others. The dusty pitch is comparatively easy to bat on due to its predictability in terms of bounce. The spin can be judged by a batsman up to some extent by reading the position in which a bowler holds the ball. A carom ball has a different holding position in comparison to a slider. The game depends mostly on the ability of a batsman to hold on to his temperament while a bowler looks to keep the batsman guessing.
A pitch that is most commonly used for high-scoring games in T20 format. The pitch offers nothing for the bowlers while batsmen are ready to pounce on any delivery bowled to them. Any sort of grass is rolled down which makes the pitch completely flat. The moisture is also completely removed from the surface. A dark-colored effect is what is left as the pitch is made favourable for the batsman. To maintain such conditions pitches are continuously rolled with the help of a roller. This leads to the incapability of a ball to grip the surface.
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Dimensions of a cricket pitch
A cricket pitch is 22 yards or 20.12 m in length and 10 ft or 3.05 m in width.
How to Make a Cricket Pitch
Making a cricket pitch is not an easy job. It requires a lot of hard work as well as a bit of science.
The first step is to cut the patch according to the verified dimensions of a pitch. According to the requirements thin out the grass and try to avoid any sort of impact on the soil.
The second step will be to look for the moisture level of the soil. There is certain equipment which serves the purpose. A soil profile tool is the most common equipment used for measuring it. The minimum moisture depth required is 4 inches. To increase or build the depth of the moisture, watering is the best way to achieve it. Sprinklers are the best way to achieve it as over flooding the pitch is easily avoided.
Once the soil is left for drying but still holds its moistness then it is time for the rolling process to begin. 20 to 30 minutes of rolling in a day and slowly decreasing it as the pitch dries out should pull off the trick.
A pitch should be cut 2 or 3 times a week. Start reducing the HOC (height of cut) by 2 mm or 4 mm a week to achieve the final target of 6 mm to 8 mm when the pitch is ready.
It is time to check the surface. Try to bounce the ball on the edge of the surface, if the bounce is fine then decrease the process of rolling. If the surface is still dry then reduce the HOC to 6mm. The top of the surface will dry off.
Finally, the pitch should be ready for use. Brush off any extra grass before the game. Keep it possibly at the mark of 6mm to 8mm.
Tips and Maintenance of a cricket pitch
- Don’t rush the process. Each grass takes up a different amount of time to dry up.
- Try to gradually build up the moisture and slowly reduce the grass cover.
- Do not use too much roller as it may eventually damage the pitch.
Cricket Pitch: A debatable subject
A debate has sparked in recent years, among the management and players regarding the making of a pitch. Michael Vaughn showed his discontent when the pink-ball test match ended in a matter of 2 days. A lot of former players presented their views about how such a pitch should not be allowed for test matches while others focused on the subpar batting standards of both teams. A general notion revolves around the making of pitches. In terms of India overseas pitches tend to have more grass which creates some unconventional movements along with a bit more pace and bounce. While Indian pitches are looked at as friendlier to spinners considering their overwhelming spin bowlers. The debate will continue to go on as a sport and controversy go hand in hand.
We hope this gives you a piece of detailed information about how to make a pitch. The three types of pitch and the traits which make them unique from each other. Dimensions of the pitch are important to remember as the international tournament and stadiums maintain these dimensions.