Cricket Pitches | How are They Rated by ICC & More
Cricket pitches play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of a game. A dry pitch will assist spinners more, while a green one will help fast bowlers. Based on the quality of the cricket pitch, the match referee rates it.
Different countries have different kinds of cricket pitches, and a class player will do well in any conditions. Pitches in Australia are bouncy and aid fast bowlers a lot. Green tracks are prepared in England and New Zealand, and it helps fast bowlers swing the ball. In other parts, like the subcontinent, cricket pitches are more favorable to spinners, sometimes too friendly.
Role of Cricket Pitches in the Game
A cricket pitch is where the action happens in a cricket match. The cricket pitch length is 22 yards. Depending on the nature of the playing track, team management decides the playing 11.
Consider a dry pitch, which offers plenty of turn. The team management will surely go with more spinners than fast bowlers. If it is a green top, seamers will come into play, and the captain winning the toss will mostly put the opposition into bat.
Factors Affected By Pitch
- Playing 11
- The possible outcome of the game
- Choosing to bat or bowl after winning the toss
How ICC Rates Cricket Pitches
For every T20I, ODI, and Test match, ICC has a match referee who rates the pitch. The quality of a cricket pitch can depend on various factors such as the balance between bat and ball, whether it is suitable for playing, and many more. During the 2022-23 Border Gavaskar Trophy, Indian pitches were scrutinized, especially by former Australian players.
Former Indian cricketers reminded the critics of the Gabba and Melbourne pitches. The Indore playing track, which hosted the Third Test in the trophy, received a poor rating because it only offered assistance to bowlers throughout the match.
What are Different Ratings of Cricket Pitches?
If we consider a Test match pitch, a match referee assigns “very-excellent” ratings to pitches that behave well throughout and have natural wear. The pitches that hold well for the first couple of days, aid spinners later, and have a good carry, consistent bounce, and little seam movement are excellent cricket tracks.
A cricket pitch gets an “excellent” rating if it behaves well for the first two days, has an average carry with a little seam movement, consistent bounce during natural wear, and helps the spinners later.
A match referee gives an “above-average” rating if the pitch has consistent carry and bounce for the first few days, and then there might be occasional inconsistency in bounce and carry. The playing track must offer some turn for the spinners and average bounce.
A pitch gets a “below-average” rating if it has very little carry, bounce, or too much seam movement, variable bounce, and carry.
The following are the factors that may lead to a pitch being rated as “poor” by the match referee:
- An exaggerated seam movement.
- If, for any bowler, there is excessive unevenness of bounce.
- If, from the start of the game, the pitch aids spinners.
- If a pitch offers little or no seam movement, spin, and no significant bounce or carry, then this pitch is rated as “poor”. It kills the fair competition between bat and ball.
A dangerous pitch gets an “unfit” rating. A pitch is deemed dangerous if the ball bounces abnormally or makes exaggerated movements due to cracks in the playing track. On such a pitch, a batter might risk getting injured. Some pitches have been so bad that they have created some of the most controversial moments in cricket.
Sanctions for Poor Cricket Pitches
The ICC penalizes poor pitches and sends appropriate directions for corrective actions.
When a pitch gets a substandard rating for the first time, it gets a warning or a fine of up to $15,000. Appropriate directives are given to take corrective measures.
Second / Next Occasions
For a second warning or any following warning within five years of the previous one, a fine of up to $30,000 and directions for corrective measures are imposed.
Final Thoughts on Today’s Cricket Pitches
Modern-day cricket pitches give the home team the advantage. For example, the pitches offer seam movement in England and New Zealand, bounce in South Africa and Australia, and spin in the sub-continent.
FAQs about Cricket Pitches
1.Which cricket pitches are suitable for batting?
Pitches where the ball comes onto the ball nicely, and a batter can play shots on the rise. Such pitches have consistent bounce and little or no seam movement or spin.
2.Which are the best pitches?
Pitches that offer fair competition between bat and ball are the best tracks. If such pitches are produced, a test match will likely have a result.
3.Why does India produce spin-friendly pitches?
India has top-quality spin bowlers like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav, and touring batters struggle against spin.