What is a Drop-in Pitch in Cricket? – Explained

Cricket has been played for more than four centuries. Between these many years, the gentleman’s game has undergone significant changes in every aspect.

One such fascinating transformation the sport has witnessed is the use of drop-in pitches. New York’s Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, one of the venues for the 2024 T20 World Cup, has been prepared with drop-in pitches.

But have you ever wondered what are these drop-in pitches? How are they prepared? And why are they used?

Worry not. We have got you covered.

This article will explain everything you need to know about drop-in pitches used in cricket.

What is a drop-in cricket pitch?

Well, the drop-in pitches are also similar to that of the traditional pitches. The only difference is the drop-in pitches are prepared somewhere else, then transported to the ground and dropped at their designated places.

You will find this technique commonly used in Australia and New Zealand. Many notable venues in Australia, like the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Adelaide Oval, and Perth’s Optus Stadium, use drop-in pitches. Likewise, in New Zealand, Auckland’s Eden Park and Wellington’s Westpac Stadium install these portable pitches.

But why are drop-in pitches used?

You see, the stadiums in Australia and New Zealand are used for multiple purposes, from hosting other sports, like football, rugby, etc., to other functions, like music concerts.

Moreover, cricket is a summer sport in Australia and New Zealand. So once the cricketing activities are concluded, the same stadium has to cater to other purposes during other seasons.

Thus, the idea to use drop-in pitches came forward. Before the cricket season kicks off in these countries, the ground authorities install the pitches using cranes in a pit with a cement base at the centre of the ground.

Once the cricket season is over, the pitches are scooped out, with the empty pit filled with sand and then rolled over with the artificial turf.

Watch how drop-in pitches are installed:

Also Read | Different Types of Cricket Pitches – Explained

When were they first used?

This dates back to 1977 when Kerry Packer-founded World Series Cricket had to play matches in football stadiums. Since Australian cricket authorities didn’t allow the cricket competition to use cricket venues, they came up with the idea of drop-in pitches.

Packer asked John Maley, a pitch curator, to work on the drop-in pitches, which were later installed in some football venues.

How are drop-in pitches prepared?

The pitches are prepared in indoor greenhouses, which help with climate control. The drop-in pitches are prepared by a combination of native soil, clay, and couch grass, which covers the top.

All this is put in steel trays, which are approximately 24 meters long, 3 meters wide, and 200 millimeters deep. Once the pitches are ready, they are removed from the tray and transported to be installed at the venue.

How do drop-in pitches behave?

The drop-in pitches mostly favour batters, as they remain the same throughout the match, without forming any cracks. Since they are prepared in the tray, the pitches become hard as the grass holds the soil firmly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *