Stump is one of three vertical pegs that support the crossbar of the wicket during cricket. The term Stumping, in turn, denotes one of the ways to remove the batsman from the game, and Stumps is the command given by the referee announcing the end of the playing day.
Initially, the wicket consisted of two Stump, but it was decided to increase their number to three at the end of the 18th century to equalize the chances of a batsman and a bowler. Traditionally, Stump is made from wood, most often ash. Only two wickets can be placed on the field at a time, one at each end of the pitch by the Laws.
The standard width of the wicket is 22.9 cm. The height of the peg is 71.1 cm, the maximum permissible diameter is 3.81 cm, the minimum is 3.49 (in junior cricket, the whole structure is smaller). There is a special spike that allows it to be fixed in the ground on one end of the Stump, and there is a U-shaped groove where the edge of the crossbar fits on the other.
There are three types of Stump. The names are directly related to the parts of the playing field to which they are oriented or to the position of the batsman’s feet:
- Off Stump – a peg located in the Off Side zone (in the same place as the batsman’s bat);
- Middle Stump – center peg;
- Leg Stump – a peg located in the On Side sector (where the batsman’s legs are).
It is worth clarifying that the first and third points can be swapped. The following order of pegs is used when the batsman is right-handed on the field, but if his leading hand is left, Leg Stump becomes Off Stump and vice versa.
In modern cricket, the sponsor’s logo is often applied to the Stump. Even though spectators on the field cannot see it, television cameras can capture and enlarge the image. Interestingly, in professional cricket competition, one or more Stump can be hollow: this is done just so that a micro-camera (Stump cam) can be placed inside. And while the main streaming is from standard external cameras, the Stump cam can reproduce unique footage, especially in the episodes when the bowler is serving the ball.
Special mention should be made of the so-called Zing Bails, or LED Stump, patented in Australia. While many professional cricketers have been skeptical about this innovation, Zing Bails are indispensable for day/night test matches that can stretch for hours and end in the dark. LED Stump lights flash when the wicket is destroyed, which greatly facilitates making judges’ decisions on a particular episode. In addition, these pegs look spectacular in the dark and allow you to create a bright TV picture.
Zing Bails were first used at the 2014 ICC World Cup and soon became an integral part of white-ball matches (ODI and T20 franchise leagues).
Separately, it is worth noting that Stump plays a huge role in cricket, especially in the part of the game that concerns the withdrawal of the batsman from the game. For example, the destruction of a wicket by a wicket-keeper in a situation where the batsman is out of the pitch and does not try to execute runs is called Stumped (Law 40). If a bowler destroys the wicket with a direct ball hit, the situation is treated as Bowled (Law 30). If a field player hits the wicket with the ball while the batsman is trying to run, and the latter does not have time to return to the crisis, a run-out is declared (Law 38). Summarizing all of the above, it can be noted that the overwhelming majority of batsmen’s penalties are somehow related to the integrity of the wicket in general and Stump in particular.
The rules allow the judge to touch the wicket and even disassemble it. When announcing Stumps at the end of the playing day, the referee removes the crossbars and takes out the pegs from the ground, and at the end of the playing session (for example, before a tea or lunch break), he is limited only to the crossbars.
It is interesting: Stump is the most important part of the wicket, the quality of which largely determines the outcome of the game as a whole. The most popular are the pegs of the following brands: SanR Cricket Wooden Spring Back Stump Set, CE Rhino Silver – Orange Cricket Wooden Stumps, Arnav Cricket Wooden Stumps Natural Brown Color and many others.
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