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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SPIN,PACE,SWING-DEPENDENCE ON PITCHES

SPIN,PACE,SWING-DEPENDENCE ON PITCHES
                                                                                                                                              Navneeth#


With a lot of test matches going on around the world, we hear a lot of talk about pitches. Some are deemed to be fast and bouncy, some rank turners and some so green that you can happily allow a herd of cows to graze on it. So let us see about the different types of pitches which we find around the world.

1.    Fast pitches
2.    Slow pitches
   
Slow Pitches:
                          

When the difference between the speeds of the ball immediately after its release from the bowlerÂ’s hand and after it pitches is more than 20 Kmph, the pitch is regarded as slow. This usually is checked for short or good length deliveries. If the difference turns out to be more than 25Kmph, then the pitch is dead as a dodo.

  Example: Traditional Indian pitches.

Fast Pitches:
                                                           Fast pitches are defined as the pitches on which if a bowler pitches the ball in the short length or on a little bit of the good length and then if the difference between the releasing speed of the ball and the speed at which the ball strikes the bat is less than 20kmph .this kind of pitches are called good pitches.
If the difference in the speed is 15kmph then that pitch is called as a deadly fast pitch.

When the difference between the speeds of the ball immediately after its release from the bowler’s hand and after it pitches is less than 20 Kmph, the pitch is regarded as fast. If the difference is around 15kmph then its surface is a skating rink.

Example: Pitches in Australia and England

                   
                                   On slow pitches, as the difference between the speeds is too high it is easy for the batsman to score runs of the short length deliveries and it is tough for the bowlers to bowl shorter length deliveries effectively .This is the reason why touring Australian and England pace bowlers always struggle bowling on subcontinent tracks. Where as on dead pitches, it’s totally a different ball game, as the ball wont come the way the batsmen expect . The ball keeps low and it is very tough to time the ball. So to play well one has to play it late after the ball has pitched.  The bowlers generally tend to ball full balls rather than short.                       

    On fast pitches as the difference between the speeds is less the bounce will be high and it will be tough for the batsmen to play the shots early in the innings. Generally most of the Australian pitches are fast and offer good consistent bounce. The WACA pitch at Perth is reckoned as the fastest in the world. Most times almost every shot played on the pitch will be on the back foot. As the bounce on this pitches is good, batsman can play expecting the bounce and generally there will never be uneven bounce .so it may be difficult for a batsman to start the innings but once the batsman gets set then he can start timing the ball well.

         
                         Generally the nature of the pitches depends on the soil and the climatic conditions of the place. Higher the clay content in the ground, higher the bounce the bowler gets. On all of the subcontinent tracks the content of clay is very less except a few pitches like Mohali and so the bounce on the pitch is very low. Also due to high temperatures moisture content in the pitch reduces and as it gets hotter during the day the pitch starts to tear. Cracks start appearing which the spinners usually exploit to get uneven ball and turn.

                          The pitches in Australia and England have high clay content and that is the reason why their pitches won’t tear and form cracks and the ball bounces quite a bit. Even in Australia at places like Sydney and Melbourne where the weather is generally hot, the clay content in the pitch wont helps to hold up the moisture and prevents the pitch from cracking up. In this part the batsman tend to believe the bounce as there is no uneven bounce and that is the reason why this player’s whey play in subcontinent wickets tends to show the arms for the shorter or good length deliveries and get bowled due to the uneven bounce.
                            By now we came to know every thing about the pitches but we have never spoken a word about swing what does that mean? This is the word which we hear more often…
                        Swing has nothing to do with the type of the pitches as the swing of the ball is done in the air not on the pitch on the ground. The conditions that assist swing bowling are the shine of the ball and the moisture content in the air, England pitches are the pitches that assist swing more due to the climatic conditions and as the breeze keeps striking the ball, it won’t loose the shine early. So at places where the weather is more on the hotter side, bowlers struggle to extract movement after the ball loses its shine. But as the ball gets older, it starts swinging in the opposite way, this is called reverse swing. The art of reverse swing isn’t an easy skill to acquire and it is most effective at speeds around 80mph .so because of this we see fast bowlers bowling with the old ball.


                         Example: Pitches in Australia and England 


                   
                                   On slow pitches, as the difference between the speeds is too high it is easy for the batsman to score runs of the short length deliveries and it is tough for the bowlers to bowl shorter length deliveries effectively .This is the reason why touring Australian and England pace bowlers always struggle bowling on subcontinent tracks. Where as on dead pitches, it’s totally a different ball game, as the ball wont come the way the batsmen expect . The ball keeps low and it is very tough to time the ball. So to play well one has to play it late after the ball has pitched.  The bowlers generally tend to ball full balls rather than short.                       

    On fast pitches as the difference between the speeds is less the bounce will be high and it will be tough for the batsmen to play the shots early in the innings. Generally most of the Australian pitches are fast and offer good consistent bounce. The WACA pitch at Perth is reckoned as the fastest in the world. Most times almost every shot played on the pitch will be on the back foot. As the bounce on this pitches is good, batsman can play expecting the bounce and generally there will never be uneven bounce .so it may be difficult for a batsman to start the innings but once the batsman gets set then he can start timing the ball well.

         
                         Generally the nature of the pitches depends on the soil and the climatic conditions of the place. Higher the clay content in the ground, higher the bounce the bowler gets. On all of the subcontinent tracks the content of clay is very less except a few pitches like Mohali and so the bounce on the pitch is very low. Also due to high temperatures moisture content in the pitch reduces and as it gets hotter during the day the pitch starts to tear. Cracks start appearing which the spinners usually exploit to get uneven ball and turn.

                          The pitches in Australia and England have high clay content and that is the reason why their pitches won’t tear and form cracks and the ball bounces quite a bit. Even in Australia at places like Sydney and Melbourne where the weather is generally hot, the clay content in the pitch wont helps to hold up the moisture and prevents the pitch from cracking up. In this part the batsman tend to believe the bounce as there is no uneven bounce and that is the reason why this player’s whey play in subcontinent wickets tends to show the arms for the shorter or good length deliveries and get bowled due to the uneven bounce.

  By now we came to know every thing about the pitches but we have never spoken a word about swing what does that mean? This is the word which we hear more often…
                        Swing has nothing to do with the type of the pitches as the swing of the ball is done in the air not on the pitch on the ground. The conditions that assist swing bowling are the shine of the ball and the moisture content in the air, England pitches are the pitches that assist swing more due to the climatic conditions and as the breeze keeps striking the ball, it won’t loose the shine early. So at places where the weather is more on the hotter side, bowlers struggle to extract movement after the ball loses its shine. But as the ball gets older, it starts swinging in the opposite way, this is called reverse swing. The art of reverse swing isn’t an easy skill to acquire and it is most effective at speeds around 80mph .so because of this we see fast bowlers bowling with the old ball.



This is a guest post written By Navaneeth Reddy


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