The term pitch is used to describe the surface of a field or court where an organized game of cricket is played. A cricket pitch comes with its own set of rules that regulate how the ball can be struck, what type of stroke is allowed, and how far the player may run after hitting the ball.
There are six main ingredients in a cricket pitch: grass, soil, sand, gully, stump and artificial turf. All but one of these components are non-organic and thus not friendly to the health and growth of the environment.
Grass is usually a mix of young or mature roots and short strands which grow together into a thicker layer over time. Mature roots can become hard and tough which makes it difficult for insects and small animals to eat them, leading to death. For this reason, some say that cricket fields should be replaced with synthetic pitches.
Artificial turfs are perfect examples of non-grass pitches. They are typically made out of Polyethylene Sheets (PES) plastic which has a very high friction coefficient. This means that the stickier the material is, the harder it is to move the ball away once hit.
This also means that the pitch will retain more heat which could have effects on the game. Due to this, many believe that using an asphalt or concrete surface would be better than a natural turf field.
Gravity and moisture
As cricket balls come into contact with the pitch, they roll down the hill towards the ground. The length of the ball depends on how fast it is rolling and how steep the slope is.
As the ball slows down due to friction as it rolls over bumps or holes in the pitch, gravity takes over and the ball drops down. This influence is called gravitational force.
When the ball comes into contact with liquid water on the field surface, some of that fluid gets dragged along for the ride. This effect causes the ball to become heavier because there are more molecules sticking to it- this is referred to as wet fielding!
By altering the shape and bounce of the ball, both dry and wet fielding can have dramatic effects on the way the game is played.
Air pressure and temperature
Like any other fluid, air is defined by two important properties: density and viscosity. Density refers to how much material there is per unit volume, while viscosity describes how quickly an object moves when pressed or pushed.
Denser materials like water are more dense than less dense ones like air, and thus take up more space. As such, they pack in tighter and create higher pressures in small areas of the body. For example, diving into a pool will increase your body’s internal pressure due to the water being heavier than air.
Similarly, materials that are thicker (like soft butter vs. olive oil) take longer to move away from a stimulus, meaning it takes longer for them to empty out and reduce pressure. This is why solid objects hurt so much more than liquids — the skin doesn’t have enough time to compress under the weight!
Air is one of the lightest fluids we know of, which makes it very difficult to feel comfortable with it as our environment. That’s what makes cricket balls so hard! They’re full of many tiny imperfections designed to cause friction and drag as the ball comes in contact with your skin. It’s this repeated action that allows the pitch to deflate slightly and then re-inflate just enough to make you leave the field.
Cooking meat or vegetables uses similar concepts. The denser parts of the food stick to the grill, creating lots of browned flavor and texture.
Friction and collision
When balls are hit onto or off of pitches, there is always some amount of friction between the ball and the surface that it hits. This effect creates an interesting phenomenon – how the angle of impact impacts the speed of the ball!
As the ball comes in contact with the pitch, momentum is conserved. However, our equation no longer includes velocity since we just changed it by accounting for friction. Instead, we use energy to determine velocity because it consists of potential and kinetic energy.
Kinetic energy simply refers to the moving part of something. In this case, it is the velocity so it can be calculated as one half the mass times velocity squared. The mass here is the weight of the ball so 1kg = 2.2 lbs. One half means you take one third of the total energy and divide it by two to get the final result.
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred from one form to another. So when energy is lost due to friction, it becomes heat which can physically affect the surface involved. This contributes to why cricket pitches will slowly melt down as the game continues to use them! (Not really though)
Your average rung backyard cricketer probably does not need much explanation about what kinetic energy is but think back to your school days – bouncing off the ground after jumping or running has lots of energetic possibilities.
Surface roughness or texture is one of the key features that determine how much it benefits your batsman in terms of fielding chances. A very smooth surface will not help his defensive skills!
Surface textures are determined by two main factors: the material of the pitch and the length of time you hold each ball before throwing it. Materials such as sand, dust, and mud have a short lifespan and thus do not influence the bounce too much. Grassy pitches are slightly less bouncy due to all of the small bumps and hollows.
This article will talk more about the different types of grass and what kind of bounces they give off.
How the pitch changes over time
As mentioned before, cricket pitches are not always what they seem! The conditions can quickly change depending on several factors such as the weather, how long the pitch has been used, and who is using it.
Bounce or roll of the ball and surface moisture can also play a big role in how the match goes. If the game is very close then these differences may be decisive!
The grass on the field will start to die down around the middle of May due to winter dormancy so make sure you check this before the season starts.
Grass grows at different rates dependent upon climate, sunlight exposure, and water availability which all affect the quality and length of the turf.
This article series covers some interesting facts about pitch variability including why some areas of the ground are harder than others to walk on, if that’s important to your team strategy, and whether tall people have an advantage or disadvantage when batting.
Cricket and the cricket ball
The term “ball” is not strictly defined in terms of shape or material, but rather how it is batted with or tossed by a batsman. A soft-batted ball will have more movement than one that is hit hard. This effect depends on many different factors, including the type of surface you are playing on, your batting style, and the size of the pitch.
Surface conditions play an important role in the way the ball moves. Grass tends to give higher bounce because the fibers within the grass blade push up off the ground slightly. Sand has very little friction so the ball does not stick, making it feel lighter. Gravel has large particles which make the ball seem heavier due to weight being concentrated in a small area.
If the ball is very old or dried out, then it will be harder and drop less quickly after hitting the ground, creating a longer time frame for players to work with it. This can help ensure that the batter makes no contact with the ball before running away to avoid throwing the ball down a hill too fast! (This is called chasing the ball.)
When the field is empty, there are fewer forces acting upon the ball, lowering the intensity of the game. As mentioned earlier, when there are lots of other players around, they influence each other and the ball, keeping it from going far.
Types of cricket pitches
The three main types of cricket pitch are flat, downhill and uphill. These names describe what each type is like physically. A flatter pitch has longer grass which gets shorter as it receives more foot traffic.
An uphill surface has short, sparse grass that requires more effort to run down or walk up the field. This is because the gravity pulls the balls upward slightly!
A downhill surface has long, lush grass that does not grow very quickly due to lack of water. Because there’s less resistance from the ground, the ball rolls faster than on an uphill pitch.
This article will go into detail about how different types of cricket pitches influence the game. But first, let us look at some basics.
In any kind of sport, one of the most important parts is keeping the ball in play. If it goes out of bounds, your team loses possession of the ball. It can be hit back towards the field by ricochets off another object or bounced forward onto the goal line for a touchdown. Or, it can simply roll away and eventually get lost among the tall grass.
On a soccer or rugby field, this doesn’t usually become a problem because those fields have enough space to contain the ball. However, cricket is much closer to baseball so there’s only 30 meters (100 feet) between bases and the boundary.
How to make a cricket pitch
The field in which a game is played comes down to two main components-the surface and the shape of the field. This is true for any sport, but it is especially important in little sports like cricket.
Cricket fields are shaped like a circle or oval, so how much bounce you want in the field depends on where the ball is hit. If the bat is struck near one end of the field then you will get more forward speed due to gravity, making it easier to run up and take a good defensive position at that end of the field.
If the batsman hits the ball towards the other end of the field, however, then he may find it difficult to defend because there is less length. They can be tough games!
So, what makes a good cricket pitch? It depends on what kind of match you are watching, I suppose. A low-bouncing beachball would not work too well if your team does not have adequate time to prepare for the next delivery.
But really, anything beyond mud would probably not work very well unless the weather conditions made such a muddy field practical.