How to read pitch in cricket? Interesting Secrets Revealed!

Whenever a captain wins the toss before the match, the first step they follow is to read the pitch in cricket. The key decision by any team skipper influences the overall outcome of the match.

Learning to read a cricket pitch can be tricky unless you know its different types that exhibit unique behaviour. 

You need to estimate the amount of grass, moisture content and hardness to read a pitch in cricket. Also, you should assess the presence of cracks, footmarks, water, hardness, and outfield conditions as well as predict the weather forecast to decide whether to bat or bowl.

Mainly, you should scrutinize the head-to-head stats and the historical performance of the cricket pitch. Furthermore, you should know the pitches that are suitable for batsmen and bowlers (Spin and Fast bowling).

Important Factors to read a pitch in cricket

By considering these important factors, you can master the art of how to read a pitch in cricket: 

1. Moisture:

The presence of moisture makes the pitch weaker. In other words, the damp pitches result in lower-scoring games.

Additionally, the bowlers will get the right length for delivery which can be challenging for a batsman to score.

2. Grass:

If the pitch has more grass, you should opt to bowl first which favours bowlers to a great extent.

3. Hardness:

The more hard a pitch is, the greater the chances a batsman has to score huge runs. Though a hard pitch offers greater bounce and pace to a bowler, it can be favourable for a batsman too.

Conversely, a soft and sticky wicket can be challenging for a batsman to bat. It is because a batsman finds it tricky to predict the trajectory and pace of the less bouncy balls.

One of the best ways to assess the hardness and read a pitch in cricket is to use a key and press it on the pitch. If the key fails to pierce into the surface, you need to understand that the pitch is extremely hard. 

4. Cracks and Footmarks:

The presence of cracks and footmarks plays a crucial role as the match progresses. Particularly, in test cricket, the footmarks open up during the 4th and 5th day of a match.

Notably, spin bowlers can experience huge turns as the cracks and footmarks begin to lose.

5. Rains and presence of water: 

You should be able to read a pitch in cricket by knowing how the presence of water can favour the bowlers if it had rained a day before the match.

6. Outfield conditions:

A wet outfield can alter the conditions by slowing the ball running towards the boundary. Also, the batting side finds it extremely difficult to score runs. However, the outfield can dry up due to the exposure to sunlight. As a result, teams batting second has a higher chance of winning by easily scoring runs.

7. Weather Forecast:

The weather forecast indirectly plays a crucial role in determining whether to bat or bowl first.

8. Head-to-Head stats:

You should analyse the head-to-head stats of teams that have won batting first and second on the same pitch.

9. Historical records:

If you played at a particular ground in your previous matches, you can recall your performance and records that help to familiarize the pitch conditions.

Different Types of Cricket Pitches

These are the five main types of cricket pitches you need to know:

1. Flat Pitch:

A flat pitch assists batsmen to score huge runs. It is because the pitch is softer and does not assist bowlers due to the lack of grass.

2. Dry and Hard Pitch:

You cannot witness any moisture and cracks on dry and hard pitches. It is a kind of “flat track” which is softer as the ball comes onto the bat easily, thereby becoming a nightmare for bowlers. Since the pitch doesn’t have any cracks, teams winning the toss will decide to bat first and post a high total.

3. Dusty Pitch:

You can observe a lot of loose soil, cracks, and footmarks on dusty pitches that support spin bowling offering huge turns. At the same time, this kind of pitch isn’t suitable for pace bowlers or batsmen.

A team’s captain prefers to bat first after winning the toss on such pitches or else it becomes difficult to bat in the subsequent innings.

4. Grassy Pitch:

Also, known as the “Green Pitch”, the grassy cover favours fast or swing bowlers. At the same time, batsmen can take advantage of the pace of the ball and the perfect timing of the shots helps them to easily score boundaries by finding possible gaps.

Ultimately, it is a gripping contest between fast bowlers and batsmen on grassy surfaces.

5. Wet Pitch:

Wet or sticky pitch occurs due to rainy conditions, which forces the batsman to attempt poor shots due to the unanticipated motion of the ball.

Read a cricket pitch that is suitable for Batsmen, Fast, and Spin Bowlers

As you have understood the different types of pitches in cricket, it becomes important to perform a visual inspection to plan for the best playing XI, that favours batsmen, and fast and spin bowlers. Consequently, it becomes essential to read a pitch in cricket before the match that helps you decide on an attacking or defensive approach. 

Which Pitch is suitable for Batsmen?

A flat pitch helps batsman to score more runs instantly. These types of pitches provide great entertainment in T20 matches.

Which Pitch is suitable for fast bowlers?

The greener pitches with a lot of grass covered on it favours fast bowlers as well as provide exceptional swing.

Which Pitch is suitable for spin bowlers?

A dry and dusty pitch is a jackpot for spin bowlers as the ball tends to spin more than the opening stages of a match.