What is Pitch in Cricket?
Cricket is the national sport in England and many other countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and others. Unlike many other sports, in cricket, the game is not played on the entire field but only on its part, called the pitch. The pitch is a rectangular area that serves to serve the ball to the batsman.
What is pitch in cricket?
Players play cricket with a bat and a ball, two teams compete with each other, each with 11 players. The cricket field is oval and has an area 22 yards long and 10 feet wide in the center. This is the pitch.
Wickets are installed on two narrow edges of the pitch. Each gate consists of three columns, dug into the ground, on top of which two wooden lintels (bails) are placed.
There are several formats of cricket matches, from long multi-day endurance tests to fast Twenty20s. But what all formats have in common is that the team that earned the most runs wins. Runs are earned for the batsman hitting the ball and running from one end of the pitch to the opposite while the batsman in front of him does the same.
It is at the pitch that the most significant events of a cricket match take place.
What are crises in a pitch, and what are they like?
Crises are an important part of the pitch – these are the stripes separate the playing areas at the ends of the pitch from the main space. There are several types of crises, depending on their location and purpose, they are drawn at both ends of the pitch:
- Return crease – there are four such stripes on the pitch, two at one gate and two at the other. They are positioned perpendicular to the other crises, 4 feet 4 inches on either side of the imaginary line that joins the centers of the two center columns of the middle stumps. The return crease starts from the popping crease and is not limited in length. The main rule is it should not be shorter than 8 feet. As a rule, these lines are used to determine no-ball cases. According to the rules, the bowler’s foot should not touch this line when serving to not throw the ball at an angle that cannot be hit.
- Popping crease – Popping creases are at both ends of the pitch in front of the gates, 58 feet apart. Each of these creases is 4 feet away from the bowling crease. The popping crease can be of unlimited length and extend across the entire field, with a minimum length of 6 feet on either side from the middle of the field.
- Bowling crease – These crises are 22 yards apart and mark the ends of the pitch. They follow the lines on which the columns of the gates are located. Each is 8 feet 8 inches long with a wicket in the center of the line.
What should an ideal pitch be?
A mandatory requirement for the pitch surface is smooth coating. As a rule, this is short grass or dry soil, in rare cases – artificial material. At the same time, an artificial field is extremely rare in professional cricket.
The referees monitor the state of the pitch during the match, and if the pitch is unsuitable for starting or continuing the game, the match may be suspended. The organizers of the match and the host team are responsible for preparing the pitch.
The peculiarity of cricket is that the field is not repaired with rare exceptions during the match, even if we are talking about multi-day test matches. This is one of the reasons why a grassy field at the start of a match can turn into a bare surface, pitted by potholes towards the middle of the match. One of the exceptions where the field can be tidied up a little is gardening, which a batsman does with his bat.
The condition of the pitch is so important to cricket that the system of rules provides for penalties for players who deliberately spoil the surface and penalties for the home team if they have poorly prepared the pitch.
The state of the pitch can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sports journalists and commentators pay a lot of attention to this aspect. For example, a dusty and very dry field will play on the bowler’s side.
In addition, the state of the field makes the very beginning of the match important: the moment when it is determined which team will serve and batter when the field is still fresh.