How to Make a Turf Cricket Pitch?

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A cricket pitch can be green, bouncy or slow. Turf (green) cricket pitches are usually found in cool damp climates like England and New Zealand. Unlike a baseball pitcher, a cricket bowler bounces the ball on the pitch, and must adjust his tactics according to the type of pitch and speed at which the ball leaves the pitch, so he can make the ball move in different directions to beat the batsman. A game played on a fast pitch is usually more exciting than a game played on a slow pitch.

Locate the center of the cricket field. Measure out and mark the pitch. It should be 22 yards by 10 feet wide. Mark the edges with stakes and twine, and excavate the entire area to a depth of 12 inches. Use a laser level to make the base of the excavated pitch level. Dispose of the soil elsewhere.

Lay a bed of 1/2-inch crushed gravel for drainage. Cover the entire floor of the excavated area with a 3- to 6-inch layer, leveled. Roll with heavy rollers to compact it as much as possible.

Apply a layer of coarse sand to a depth of 3 inches. The sand must be dry so it can sink into the air holes in the gravel. Roll, compact and level it.

Shovel the top layer over the sand. This layer is called "bulli" and must be designed specially for your climactic conditions and soil type. The bulli is made of a mixture of clay, loam and sand, and it determines the properties of your pitch. Lay a 2-inch layer and roll it well, using the roller in all directions to ensure good compaction. Install two more 2-inch layers, rolling well after each. The top layer must be as level as you can make it.

Plant a fine type of grass. Use plugs and plant them 4 inches apart over the entire surface. Top-dress with a thin layer of bulli and roll lightly. Top-dress and fertilize; use a mist-type nozzle to water regularly. Roll the pitch whenever it is wet. Use the pitch only once the grass is well-established.

Tips

Drop a field hockey ball at various spots on the pitch. When the ball bounces to an even height from any location, the pitch is ready. The higher it bounces, the faster the pitch.

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