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Thread: Any facts about wet wickets?

  1. #1
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    Any facts about wet wickets?

    Since I am interested in knowing what really was the impact of wet wickets and how often people played on them, and who was & who wasn't successful on it, I am starting a new thread.

    Since people swear about these wet wickets and sticky dogs and "back in the day all was more difficult and hence all was greater", how about sharing some of the information that those of you who feel so must've been privy to, with the rest?

    I have the following questions especially -
    a. What was the frequency of having to play on wet wickets / sticky wickets - u know like a percentage of innings in their career.
    Given Headley played 15 innings in about 150 first class innings on wet/stickies between 1933-39, in his case it's about 10%. Don Bradman played 13 in the same period. I am guessing he would've played about 140-180 innings in that period.

    b. At what point did they decide to call off a game if the wicket was too sticky or wet. I am sure there were abandoned games in the past, so what state of pitch was it that was considered to be not worth playing on.

    c. Another aspect is this - in some of those old clips you can see they used covers even in those days. So I'd assume that if it started to rain during a game then obviously they would bring the covers on. Once the rain stops and the covers are removed, the state of the pitch is not exactly wet/sticky - it is just like how it is today when you remove the covers after the downpour (of course tech of covers has improved).

    So how much is myth and is too much made of these wet wickets? I know these are fundamental questions and will not go well with many of you coz they force you to reconsider your beliefs but hey let's try to get a factual understanding of things rather than just mythological beliefs

  2. #2
    U19 Vice-Captain Z-Man's Avatar
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    "Wet" Wickets, There is something funny in the name.

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    International Captain andmark's Avatar
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    Wet wickets give a spin bowler something for the ball the grip onto, so spin in increased (however with wet wickets often come wet out fields which gets the ball slippy and tricky to use) which make scores generally lower. During the early days of Test Cricket, pitches were left uncovered, so if rain came, a wet wicket was guaranteed. This is something which needs to be aknowledged when you talk about batsmen of yesteryear. That's about as far as I know about wet wickets.
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    International 12th Man JBMAC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vijay.Sharma View Post
    Since I am interested in knowing what really was the impact of wet wickets and how often people played on them, and who was & who wasn't successful on it, I am starting a new thread.

    Since people swear about these wet wickets and sticky dogs and "back in the day all was more difficult and hence all was greater", how about sharing some of the information that those of you who feel so must've been privy to, with the rest?

    I have the following questions especially -
    a. What was the frequency of having to play on wet wickets / sticky wickets - u know like a percentage of innings in their career.
    Given Headley played 15 innings in about 150 first class innings on wet/stickies between 1933-39, in his case it's about 10%. Don Bradman played 13 in the same period. I am guessing he would've played about 140-180 innings in that period.

    b. At what point did they decide to call off a game if the wicket was too sticky or wet. I am sure there were abandoned games in the past, so what state of pitch was it that was considered to be not worth playing on.

    c. Another aspect is this - in some of those old clips you can see they used covers even in those days. So I'd assume that if it started to rain during a game then obviously they would bring the covers on. Once the rain stops and the covers are removed, the state of the pitch is not exactly wet/sticky - it is just like how it is today when you remove the covers after the downpour (of course tech of covers has improved).

    So how much is myth and is too much made of these wet wickets? I know these are fundamental questions and will not go well with many of you coz they force you to reconsider your beliefs but hey let's try to get a factual understanding of things rather than just mythological beliefs
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    Hall of Fame Member Cevno's Avatar
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    The Wet wickets were more sticky,Slower and bounced lower from what i have read though it depends on how much moisture did it get. Though it gave a certain type of quicker spinner more grip and slow swing for the seamers until the ball got wet.

    But the interesting aspect in this is that some wickets are watered many a times one day before the match to hold them together even today.
    Last edited by Cevno; 29-08-2011 at 07:09 PM.

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    Cricket Web Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Our club wicket needs a decent amount of water on it to maintain a degree of consistent bounce; if it gets too dry then it's up and down all over the place and you need full body armour to stand up to anybody.

    Played on a damp one yesterday thanks to a torrential downpour mid-innings and a bunch of covers that wouldn't go where we wanted them to go. Main results were a ball that was completely covered in crap and wouldn't do the slightest thing off the straight, and then chronic difficulty in timing any shots when you were new to the crease - every new batsman looked like a complete fool early doors and most of us (me included) got out skying catches as we were far too early on it.
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    Hall of Fame Member GotSpin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vijay.Sharma View Post
    Since I am interested in knowing what really was the impact of wet wickets and how often people played on them, and who was & who wasn't successful on it, I am starting a new thread.

    Since people swear about these wet wickets and sticky dogs and "back in the day all was more difficult and hence all was greater", how about sharing some of the information that those of you who feel so must've been privy to, with the rest?

    I have the following questions especially -
    a. What was the frequency of having to play on wet wickets / sticky wickets - u know like a percentage of innings in their career.
    Given Headley played 15 innings in about 150 first class innings on wet/stickies between 1933-39, in his case it's about 10%. Don Bradman played 13 in the same period. I am guessing he would've played about 140-180 innings in that period.

    b. At what point did they decide to call off a game if the wicket was too sticky or wet. I am sure there were abandoned games in the past, so what state of pitch was it that was considered to be not worth playing on.

    c. Another aspect is this - in some of those old clips you can see they used covers even in those days. So I'd assume that if it started to rain during a game then obviously they would bring the covers on. Once the rain stops and the covers are removed, the state of the pitch is not exactly wet/sticky - it is just like how it is today when you remove the covers after the downpour (of course tech of covers has improved).

    So how much is myth and is too much made of these wet wickets? I know these are fundamental questions and will not go well with many of you coz they force you to reconsider your beliefs but hey let's try to get a factual understanding of things rather than just mythological beliefs
    Such a dick
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  8. #8
    Hall of Fame Member Cevno's Avatar
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    Can we not turn another thread into a flame/abuse war ?

  9. #9
    Cricketer Of The Year Turbinator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotSpin View Post
    Such a dick
    Completely unnecessary. Please don't resort to personal attacks, this is a warning. Any further flame/abuse will result in infractions, and even perhaps bans being handed out to certain members. Please don't make us go there.
    Last edited by Turbinator; 29-08-2011 at 09:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    My experience has been primarily on wet matting wickets (maybe some of my Indian, Pak and Lankan friends can pitch in with their experiences coz even they would've played a lot on matting wickets in the summer-monsoon cusp).

    In India lot of age group and college cricket used to be played on matting wickets in the 90s and even today in the corporate tournaments we play on matting wickets. You rarely find turf wickets except in the stadiums. So when I played age group cricket for the state and college and club level during the months of May - August we often played on wet mats...if there were 7 games in the season at least 4 of them would be on mats that had taken an overnight shower.

    Contrary to turf wickets, the ball skids off pretty fast on wet mats. And if by chance there are mud packs formed in between the intersections of the mat you could get nasty bounce. Spinners could turn the ball better but the bounce also would be true so batting also became easy if you were a natural strokemaker.

    I have played only once or twice on wet turf wickets...usually the lack of infrastructure and all means that if it rained a little heavy then the match can't be played at all. However if the club had a mat (or even half a mat) then they would lay the mat on top of the turf wicket and finish the game (only one end bowling for half mats). I know bowling is pretty tough when the ground is wet. But beyond a certain point cricket cannot be played on a wet wicket with the leather ball...the ball just won't bounce.
    Quote Originally Posted by andmark View Post
    Wet wickets give a spin bowler something for the ball the grip onto, so spin in increased (however with wet wickets often come wet out fields which gets the ball slippy and tricky to use) which make scores generally lower. During the early days of Test Cricket, pitches were left uncovered, so if rain came, a wet wicket was guaranteed. This is something which needs to be aknowledged when you talk about batsmen of yesteryear. That's about as far as I know about wet wickets.
    I totally acknowledge that people played on slightly wet wickets but what I don't buy into is the continuous rant of the 'back in the day' brigade that "oh they played on wet wickets - they were greater". People use that as an argument as if to say that at least 40-50% of the innings those folks played was on wet/stickies. And hence my question regarding the proportion of innings people played on wet/stickies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cevno View Post
    The Wet wickets were more sticky,Slower and bounced lower from what i have read though it depends on how much moisture did it get. Though it gave a certain type of quicker spinner more grip and slow swing for the seamers until the ball got wet.

    But the interesting aspect in this is that some wickets are watered many a times one day before the match to hold them together even today.
    I think all wickets are watered. That's why I made the point about when would they decide that the wicket is so wet that we can't play at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Pickup View Post
    Our club wicket needs a decent amount of water on it to maintain a degree of consistent bounce; if it gets too dry then it's up and down all over the place and you need full body armour to stand up to anybody.

    Played on a damp one yesterday thanks to a torrential downpour mid-innings and a bunch of covers that wouldn't go where we wanted them to go. Main results were a ball that was completely covered in crap and wouldn't do the slightest thing off the straight, and then chronic difficulty in timing any shots when you were new to the crease - every new batsman looked like a complete fool early doors and most of us (me included) got out skying catches as we were far too early on it.
    On turf stickies I haven't played with the leather ball much but I can totally relate to the ball coming off slowly after pitching bit...they make the batsman look like a fool - you are done with playing your shot and the ball is yet to reach you lol! That would happen so often when we played using the tennis-cricket ball. Damn fun!

  11. #11
    International 12th Man JBMAC's Avatar
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    One point no one seems to have raised,including "our learned friend ViJay", is the wickets he is referring to are "drop ins" whereas prior WW2 and for a long time after turf wickets were just that. Specially prepared ,mown and rolled grass. Not this specially created grass they play on today. Hence a "sticky" wicket really meant a "sticky" wicket.The skill required to play on such wickets was in my opinion much greater therefore most of those players being deridden(such a word?) are greater.

  12. #12
    International Coach archie mac's Avatar
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    I have no idea about percentages of wet wickets and such.

    The way they did things varied over the years. At one time there were no covers they did not call off play unless it was raining regardless of the wicket.

    Later once play started they would leave the wickets uncovered for the entire match.

    Later still they started covering the bowlers run ups. Before this it was just about impossible for fast bowlers to bowl on sticky wickets. For this reason Bradman down graded Trumper's effort of scoring a ton before lunch on the first day of a Test in 1902 because England could not bowl their fast bowlers. Yes Bradman was a hard marker Bradman also scored a 100 before lunch on the first day of a Test and managed to take his score to 300+ by stumps.

    For a long time in Australia they would cover wickets for Shield matches but not Tests so the first time Bradman played on a sticky wicket was during his first Test series against England at home in 1928-29. He did watch Hobbs and Sutcliffe during that series take England to a great victory on a sticky which had most thinking England would be out for less than 100. Hobbs and Sutcliffe and later Sutcliffe and Jardine saw England to stumps on the second last day before they went onto win on the following day when the wicket had improved.

    Perhaps if Bradman had played most of his cricket in England he would have been better on sticky wickets. Still his average in England during his four tours there was pretty impressive And he could not have played every innings on a hard, true wicket after all it was England
    You know it makes sense.

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    International Captain Himannv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBMAC View Post
    One point no one seems to have raised,including "our learned friend ViJay", is the wickets he is referring to are "drop ins" whereas prior WW2 and for a long time after turf wickets were just that. Specially prepared ,mown and rolled grass. Not this specially created grass they play on today. Hence a "sticky" wicket really meant a "sticky" wicket.The skill required to play on such wickets was in my opinion much greater therefore most of those players being deridden(such a word?) are greater.
    I'm curious as to how the ball would behave on such turfs. I can only imagine that some deliveries would stay low and there would be more movement. Was this the case?
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    International 12th Man JBMAC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himannv View Post
    I'm curious as to how the ball would behave on such turfs. I can only imagine that some deliveries would stay low and there would be more movement. Was this the case?
    Usually the groundsman would prepare a wicket to favour a particular type of bowler.Hence the home ground advantage be it England,India etc etc. The bowlers had stock type deliveries they would try on various pitches throughout the season then bring them into play when playing at that venue. eg...The WACA was a knon fast bowler,s wicket so you would not take a spinner into there but you would play probably 2 spinners at the SCG. The Gabba was pacey on the first day but I have seen by the 5th day a bloody dust bowl.Because there was no coaching staff as they have today each individual with help from his fellow players would determine how to bowl on particular wickets and bring that into play on the day. The Fast bowlers stock balls then became inswinger, outswinger, yorker and later the bouncer. A bowler would have to judge how he would hold the ball to try and deliver what he needed. Then you had guys like Jeff Thompson and Wes Hall who would "just run and bowl fast..."

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    Hall of Fame Member weldone's Avatar
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    I am missing that great PEWS quote - that would be quite apt for this thread.

    Anyways I have always believed that there's no way you can compare two players from different era. You can only judge them by how good they were compared to players of their own era. If, say, Bradman was 189% better than the average player of his era and Lara was 53% better than the average player of his era that's the only thing you have to compare them. You would never know how Bradman would do facing reverse-swinging yorkers from Waqar Younis, neither will you know how a helmet-less Brian Lara would fare facing up to Douglas Jardine's leg theory and Bodyline tactics.
    Last edited by weldone; 30-08-2011 at 07:01 AM.
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