Predicting the playing character of cricket pitches
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
A cricket pitch is a prepared strip of compacted soil and closely mown turf onto which the bowler projects the ball. The surface is of fundamental importance to the game and groundstaff seek to ensure that the ball rebound is of sufficient pace, bounce and consistency to promote skill in both the batsman and bowler. The scientific understanding of the factors that influence the playing quality of a pitch is incomplete and groundstaff often rely on experience and ‘rules of thumb’. A major programme of research was undertaken to determine the effectiveness of a range of pitch measurement apparatus that are perceived to provide indications of playing character. Over three seasons, 18 fieldwork visits were completed at 11 different first-class county grounds. Pitches were tested at the end of each match and direct assessments of pace, bounce and consistency were achieved by employing an artificial bowler and high speed video arrangement. Measurements of surface friction, hardness and restitution were also recorded. It was found that no single pitch measurement was able to provide a reliable indication of pace or bounce, but, when the measurements were combined in a simple Newtonian model, good predictions of pace were achieved. The study revealed a simple method by which groundstaff can predict pace during crucial stages in pitch preparation. However, the study also showed that bounce is affected by levels of pitch deformation and that development of impact models and bespoke measurement tools is needed to reliably predict variation in bounce.
- Adams, W.A., Baker, S.W., James, D.M. & Young, R.J. (2005) Measuring and modelling the bounce and pace of County Championship cricket pitches.International Turfgrass Society Research Journal,10, 1021–1026.
- Adams, W.A., Young, R.J. & Baker, S.W. (2003) Report on research 1998–2002. Internal report to the ECB’s Pitches Research Group
- Baker, S.W., Cook, A. & Adams, W.A. (1998a) Soil characteristics of first-class cricket pitches and their influence on playing performance.Journal of Turfgrass Science,74, 63–77.
- Baker, S.W., Cook, A. & Binns, D.J. (1998b) The effect of soil type and profile construction on the performance of cricket pitches. I. Soil properties and grass cover during first season of use.Journal of Turfgrass Science,74, 80–92.
- Baker, S.W., Cook, A., Binns, D.J., Carré M.J. & Haake, S.J. (1998c) The effect of soil type and profile construction on the performance of cricket pitches. II. Playing quality during first season of use.Journal of Turfgrass Science,74, 9–23.
- Baker, S.W., Hammond, L.K.F., Owen, A.G. & Adams, W.A. (2003) Soil properties of first-class cricket pitches in England and Wales. II. Influence of soil type and pitch preparation on playing quality.Journal of Turfgrass & Sports Surface Science,79, 13–20.
- Barton, N.G. (1982) On the swing of a cricket ball in flight.Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A,379, 109–131. CrossRef
- Carré, M.J., Baker, S.W., Newell, A.J. & Haake S.J. (1999) The dynamic behaviour of cricket balls during impact and variations due to grass and soil type.Sports Engineering,3, 145–160. CrossRef
- Carré, M.J., Haake, M.J., Baker, S.W. & Newell, A.J. (2000) Predicting the dynamic behaviour of cricket balls after impact with a deformable pitch. In:The Engineering of Sport (ed A.J. Subic and S.J. Haake) pp. 177–184, Blackwell Science, London.
- Clegg, B. (1976) An impact testing device forin situ base course evaluation.Proceedings of the Australian Road Research Bureau,8, 1–5.
- Daish, C.B. (1972)The physics of ball games. pp. 168–174, English Universities Press, London.
- Hopps. (08/08/2000) McGrath blames county pitches for international failure.The Guardian, UK edition, p. 62.
- James, D.M. (2004) Understanding the playing performance of cricket pitches. PhD thesis, The University of Sheffield, England.
- James, D.M., Carré, M.J. & Haake, S.J. (2004) The playing performance of county cricket pitches.Sports Engineering,7, 1–14. CrossRef
- Lush, W.M. (1985) Objective assessment of turf cricket pitches using an impact hammer.Journal of the Sports Turf Research Institute,61, 71–79.
- Lyttleton, R.A. (1957) The swing of a cricket ball.Discovery,18, 186–191.
- McAuliffe, K.W. & Gibbs, R.J. (1997) An investigation into the pace and bounce of cricket pitches in New Zealand.International Turf Grass Society Research Journal,8, 109–119.
- Mehta, R.D., Bentley, K., Proudlove, M. & Varty, P. (1983) Factors affecting cricket ball swing.Nature,303, 787–788. CrossRef
- Penrose, J.M.T., Hose, D.R. & Towbridge, E.A. (1996) Cricket ball swing: A preliminary analysis using computational fluid dynamics. In:The Engineering of Sport. (ed S.J. Haake), pp. 11–19, Blackwell Science, Oxford.
- Sherwin, K. & Sproston, J.L. (1982) Aerodynamics of a cricket ball.Int. J. Mech. Educ.,10, 43–50.
- Stewart, V.I. & Adams, W.A. (1968) County cricket wickets.Journal of Sports Turf Research Institute,44, 49–60.
- Predicting the playing character of cricket pitches
Volume 8, Issue 4 , pp 193-207
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Industry Sectors