Results 1 to 10 of 10
Like Tree12Likes
  • 8 Post By Howe_zat
  • 4 Post By Howe_zat

Thread: Start of the tough ones: pitches

  1. #1
    Ike
    Ike is offline
    Cricket Web Staff Member Ike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Tennessee USA
    Posts
    112

    Start of the tough ones: pitches

    Time to start asking a few questions on what I think of as 'tough' topics: ones that are probably complex and subtle (among other things). Later I'll get to bowling and batting, but let's start with pitches.

    From watching a lot of cricket lately, and from one day of actually playing it, however poorly, and seeing the difference between hardened tennis ball and leather ball bounces on that particular unprepared pitch, it is clear that the condition of the pitch is critical to any cricket match. But understanding what varies among pitches is still quite a mystery to me. I understand hardness matters, and evenness, cracks, scuffs, moisture, etc., but the 'essence' of each pitch I have no clue of evaluating. I have noticed that in most countries the pitches are pure grey (or slightly brownish), except in England where they are sometimes actually (pale) green. They grey ones occasionally have a few tiny clumps of grass on them, but they are just as grey and are flattened as well, while the green pitches in England, when they show up (typically briefly it seems to me) have actual growing grass, until a day or so's worth of cricket has been played.

    Some televised cricket matches show at the start a close up slow camera view going down the whole pitch so you can see just what it looks like. Can one actually evaluate the pitch just from video of it? Can batsmen and bowlers evaluate the pitch before some balls have actually been delivered? What makes a pitch good for batsmen? for bowlers? and does it depend on the type of batsman or bowler? Spinners in particular seem to need a particular type of pitch to do well, according to commentaries I've heard, but I don't understand exactly what they need.

    Also, teams (especially counties it seems) get fined or penalized fairly often it seems for having poor pitches. Just how hard is it to maintain a good pitch. Is it really the county's fault when this happens?

    What type of pitches are best for red balls? for white? for hardened tennis balls?

    And how do mats compare to 'real' pitches? Do the mats that cost 800-1000 pounds perform that much better than those that cost 100-200?

    Well, lots of questions. And many of them may not have been asked properly. But any help in getting a better understanding of pitches would be appreciated. And if that means referencing old threads, blogs, or special websites, that will be great too. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Cricket Web Staff Member Howe_zat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Top floor, bottom buzzer
    Posts
    24,570
    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    Some televised cricket matches show at the start a close up slow camera view going down the whole pitch so you can see just what it looks like. Can one actually evaluate the pitch just from video of it?
    Not really. You can make a good guess though. If a pitch has obvious cracks and patches of grass then you know it's going to be uneven and make life difficult or possible dangerous for the batsman. If it looks completely flat then chances are it will be. The differences in most Test wickets now aren't that obvious though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    Can batsmen and bowlers evaluate the pitch before some balls have actually been delivered?
    A bit. When you see a batsman go out to bat they will usually have a little prod around with their bat (sometimes a bail) at the pitch to see if there are any bumps or divots they can feel and to test how bouncy they think the pitch is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    What makes a pitch good for batsmen? for bowlers? and does it depend on the type of batsman or bowler?
    Batsmen want a flat track with no anomalous bumps and cracks for the ball to pitch onto. Then they can trust their eye and meet the ball where they expect it to go. Since a bumpy pitch will sometimes be due to **** maintanance, flat pitches are often erroneously called 'good pitches'.

    Bowlers want the opposite but they don't need much to take advantage of. The distance between the middle of the bat and its edge is only a couple of inches after all. But failing actually having a cracked up minefield (international pitches aren't, really) spinners and seam bowlers don't want the same thing.

    Seamers want a pitch with more grass on it because grass provides the anomalous points they want while still being spring and fresh enough to rush the batsman. Swing bowlers want cloud and moisture in the air more than they want any sort of pitch, but it's worth remembering that swing bowlers and seam bowlers are usually the same people.

    Spinners want dry, worn surfaces because the ball needs to 'grip' in order to turn. On a moist or grassy track the ball will skid rather than spin which takes away their main weapon (It's worth pointing out that many spinners, particularly offspinners, also use flight and drift to fool the batsman, which happens before pitching, so the wicket has nothing to do with it). Spinners usually come more into play as the match goes on because a worn pitch (footmarks, repeated imapct of ball, etc) will have patches where there's more grip as the soil gets messed up and exposed. The sun that usually accompanies 5 days of cricket in sme parts of the world will also dry out the pitch, which will always aid a spinner.

    Everybody wants a pitch with plenty of bounce*. Bowlers want the ball to maintain its speed and edges to carry to their slips, but batsman also want a healthy bounce so as there's speed off the bat and therefore runs. A 'dead' track where the ball struggles to bounce above knee height is usually less fun for everyone because it leads to slow cricket. That said, there are some players who can take advantage of these tracks.

    Stereotypically, Asian nations tend to produce pitches relatively bereft of bounce and so tend to develop players who can specialise in getting want they want out of those kinds of surfaces. Touring India is traditionally hard as a bag of nails for non-Asain teams because they have to quickly learn to cope with a lack of bounce. The opposite is true for Asian sides touring Australia or England.
    "we use the word Day to describe hours and movements of the earth around the sun" - zorax

    ~

    The Cricket Web Podcast - episode 22 out now

    We're on iTunes - why not give us a review?

  3. #3
    Cricket Web Staff Member Howe_zat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Top floor, bottom buzzer
    Posts
    24,570
    PS do not like this post

  4. #4
    Ike
    Ike is offline
    Cricket Web Staff Member Ike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Tennessee USA
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by Howe_zat View Post
    PS do not like this post
    lol, why's that? great post!


  5. #5
    The artist formerly known as Monk Red Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    9,012
    Quote Originally Posted by Howe_zat View Post
    PS do not like this post
    Wasn't sure which one you meant so I liked both...

  6. #6
    Hall of Fame Member
    Suicide Bob Champion!
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Not really needed on CW
    Posts
    19,955
    Quote Originally Posted by Howe_zat View Post

    A bit. When you see a batsman go out to bat they will usually have a little prod around with their bat (sometimes a bail) at the pitch to see if there are any bumps or divots they can feel and to test how bouncy they think the pitch is.
    I thought they use the bail to mark their guard

  7. #7
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Burgess Hill
    Posts
    9,105
    Great post by Howe_zat.

    One other aspect is the idea that the pitch ought to develop over the course of the match. A lot of people would agree that the "ideal pitch" would:
    - Offer some assistance to the seamers on the first day, particularly the first morning
    - Flatten out in the middle of the game
    - Start offering turn for the spinners later on.

    I strongly agree with Howe_zat that pace and bounce are always a good thing. They keep everyone interested. I spent many years bowling leg spin and the one thing I wanted, even above a turning pitch, was a pitch with pace and bounce. I spent too long playing on low, slow puddings which were miserable to bowl on even if there was a bit of turn there.

  8. #8
    Hall of Fame Member OverratedSanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Elton Chicken Burrah
    Posts
    19,358
    Well, pitches are very very strange beasts which sometimes completely change not only according to the weather conditions and the time of day, but also transform completely when certain players play. For example, when Indian batsmen struggle on a home pitch, it's usually because there's some early turn or inconsistency in the bounce and pace of the wicket, making run scoring difficult. However when Virender Sehwag bats on the same pitch and sets off scoring 200 (170), the pitch somehow transforms into Heathrow runway no.12. But, when he fails, the pitch is always offering something to the bowlers and wasn't an easy pitch to bat on. This phenomenon seems to plague batsmen like Matthew Hayden and Mohammad Yousuf too.

    It gets even more complicated when you look at countries like Sri Lanka. When Sangakkara bats and gets a big score, the pitch is tailor made to suck the life out of bowlers one ball at a time. But later on, when Muralitharan bowls, he is somehow able to communicate with the Ceylon pitch gods and transform it into a spinner's paradise. Very strange indeed. No one seems to know why this happens but it's generally accepted as fact.

  9. #9
    Hall of Fame Member Hurricane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Don't be jealous of the Georgie Pie super smash
    Posts
    15,199
    I'll make two comments Ike.

    1) The best place to play with a tape up cricket ball is on astro turf, you should be able to find some field hockey artificial fields or an american football field. Don't play on raw grass if you can help it.

    2) Reading a pitch is very difficult in terms of predicting what it will do - and usually only 1st grade cricketers and above can start to do that.
    1) Ross is Boss.
    2) See point 1.

    Leading the charge against nuances being used in posts.

    Overrated XI M Bracewell, Burns, Rahane, Don Voges, Bairstow, Alecz Day, Donovan Grobelaar, Luke Ronchi, Faulkner, Dan Christian, Permaul

  10. #10
    International Captain Contra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    7,195
    Quote Originally Posted by OverratedSanity View Post
    Well, pitches are very very strange beasts which sometimes completely change not only according to the weather conditions and the time of day, but also transform completely when certain players play. For example, when Indian batsmen struggle on a home pitch, it's usually because there's some early turn or inconsistency in the bounce and pace of the wicket, making run scoring difficult. However when Virender Sehwag bats on the same pitch and sets off scoring 200 (170), the pitch somehow transforms into Heathrow runway no.12. But, when he fails, the pitch is always offering something to the bowlers and wasn't an easy pitch to bat on. This phenomenon seems to plague batsmen like Matthew Hayden and Mohammad Yousuf too.

    It gets even more complicated when you look at countries like Sri Lanka. When Sangakkara bats and gets a big score, the pitch is tailor made to suck the life out of bowlers one ball at a time. But later on, when Muralitharan bowls, he is somehow able to communicate with the Ceylon pitch gods and transform it into a spinner's paradise. Very strange indeed. No one seems to know why this happens but it's generally accepted as fact.
    So true, use to laugh everytime Viru's runs were written off because the pitch was apparently a road.



Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Police work can be tough....
    By Top_Cat in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-10-2008, 07:20 PM
  2. How tough is Mike Hussey...
    By Johnners in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 12-02-2007, 04:30 PM
  3. ICC To Get Tough On Racists
    By archie mac in forum Cricket Chat
    Replies: 84
    Last Post: 26-09-2006, 06:44 PM
  4. Replies: 22
    Last Post: 27-08-2005, 12:00 AM
  5. Tough Education
    By cricket player in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 30-06-2005, 05:37 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •