According to the English Cricket Board (ECB), an artificial cricket pitch can host twenty times more games in one season than a natural turf cricket pitch. The figures are as follows – A natural turf cricket pitch can be expected to host a maximum of 5 adult matches or 7 junior matches in one season whilst maintaining a high quality surface. By comparison, artificial cricket pitches can host 100 matches if correctly designed and managed. This massive difference in durability clearly shows why many cricket clubs and schools are investing in non-turf cricket systems.
Cricket Pitch Maintenance
The maintenance of a natural turf cricket pitch is labour intensive and requires significant knowledge and training. A groundsman must fertilise, cut and roll the grass to create a perfectly flat and quality surface. This is only possible with very short grass. Unfortunately, short grass wears out much faster than long grass and this tends to be noticeable during the course of a single match.
After several matches, the cricket pitch can become a very low quality unless the correct maintenance procedure is followed. Even then, several weeks must be left between matches to allow time for the grass to recover. A natural grass cricket pitch that is kept to a high standard is officially known as a Fine Turf pitch.
Cricket clubs that are prepared to expend all this effort in the maintenance of their cricket pitch will still need to have a non-turf cricket system for training; referred to as artificial cricket nets. Many clubs and schools cannot afford to maintain a natural grass cricket pitch and will therefore use a non-turf cricket system for both training and match play.
Non Turf Cricket Pitches
A non-turf cricket pitch is one that uses artificial turf instead of natural turf. For the best non-turf cricket pitch, consider using an ECB Approved product. In order to be ECB Approved, an artificial cricket pitch must meet the following standards:
- Performance requirements for ball / surface interaction include ball rebound and surface hardness
- Performance requirements for player / surface interaction focus on surface traction for bowler run-ups
- Construction requirements take into consideration the dimensions, gradients and tolerances of the pitch
- Material requirements include durability and quality of the artificial turf
Details of these standards can be found in the document Performance Standards for Non-Turf Cricket Pitches Intended for Outdoor Use published by ECB.
Reference for Cricket Pitch Standards
Some information in this article relating to cricket pitch standards was taken from ECB Cricket Facilities Development.