Preparation of cricket pitches - cricket for india
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Preparation of cricket pitches

- By Polly Umrigar    

I do not think there is any person who can be 100% right in reading how the pitch would behave in the given circumstances. With experience one can predict to the extent of 90% accuracy but the remaining 10% can prove one wrong. That is one of the reasons why the game of cricket is so unpredictable.

WHAT IS A GOOD PITCH?

A good pitch is the one:

Which is dry, firm, well rolled and which provides even bounce through out as also the pitch lasts for the duration of the match.

TYPES OF SOIL AND THEIR CHARACTER

SOIL:

SOIL forms the most important ingredient in preparation of the pitch. Due to climate variations it would be impossible to standardize on the treatment to be given to soils in different parts of the country when preparing the pitch. The use of right soil is most important for the production of fast pitches.

CHARACTER OF EACH SOIL INGREDIENT

BLACK SOIL/CLAY SOIL:

These soils to some extent have binding qualities. However, any excess water on the top will not dry easily as there is not much porosity in these soils.

RED SOIL

DO not have much binding qualities. However having greater porosity than black soil or clay soil, the drying of the pitch is quicker.

Morrum soil is slightly yellowish in color and has good binding properties.

Manure acts as fertilizers and helps the grass on the pitch to grow quickly.

NUMBER OF PITCHES TO BE PREPARED

WHEN the pitches are prepared, care should be taken that they are prepared in odd numbers say 5, 7, 9, and 11. The main reason is that when a match is played on a pitch, the two side pitches also get damaged due to the bowler's follow through which leaves some spike marks. Therefore it is advisable that these two side pitches, are well rolled and also have some more grass left on it.

One should see that no two matches of long duration are played on the same pitch one after the other because after every game it requires nearly 15 to 20 days to get the pitch back to its normal condition. If two matches are consecutively played on the same pitch then there are chances of the grass on the pitch being damaged so much that it may not grow evenly during the season.

Once the season is over, practice nets could be arranged on the center square before preparing the square, by spiking the squares and removing old mixture, for the next season. More use of the pitch, the better bounce you will get from it. Therefore practice pitches are always faster and bouncy than on pitches on which the matches are played.

TO BE CONTINUED....