What is a good cricket pitch?

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2 minute read
Cricket pitch (CC licensed by Anders Sandberg via Flickr)

Don’t be alarmed, but we’re taking a stance on something. It’s to do with semantics though, so we’re not overstretching ourself.

In cricket, what people describe as a good pitch is invariably one that is good for batting. It is flat, offers even bounce and little spin. Batsmen score hundreds with ease and the cricket is boring.

It might not seem like a big thing, but calling such pitches ‘good’ is symptomatic of an attitude that cricket is all about scoring runs. Cricket isn’t about scoring runs. It is about taking wickets.

Why the misuses of ‘good’ matters

This attitude is a problem. People who don’t know about cricket see the game in terms of runs and completely miss the whole point of the sport. They think it’s boring because they don’t understand what they’re watching.

Describing pitches that are easy to score on as ‘good’ is only a tiny part of this, but we’re taking a stand. From now on, if we talk about a ‘good pitch’ on this website, it will be cracked, grassy, uneven or a sharp-turning monster. If a batsman makes 50 on it, he will be a bloody good player. These sorts of pitches show you the worth of a cricketer, because a run has more value.

Ideally, we’d like to see the widest variety of pitches, but for the minute, the flat ones rule. So, until that changes, ‘good’ is bad.


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  1. Lazy post

    Its the same theme as your Wisden article of about three weeks ago about boring cricket.

    It is also the same theme as about fifteen other posts about high scoring games that you have out up on here.

    Sorry for taking the trouble of reading your work but I care!

  2. It’s all related, but this is about the use of the phrase ‘good pitch’. It’s not about flat pitches, it’s about how those in cricket talk about them. It’s about language affecting the way we think about things.

    Anyway, do you honestly think we’ve got 500 compeletely unrelated things to say each year?

  3. We play nice here Bobby K…The fact that site is updated daily is pretty impressive in itself. Best cricket site in my opinion.

  4. And it is a slow time for cricket … Not much being played. Not much to write about.

    So going for the whole why-language-matters angle is admirable and important.

    Someone must have a bat in a funny place to send in, though…

  5. If more clubs were as proactive about their finances as your old club seems to be, KC, cricket would be in a much healthier state. Raffles, tombolas, building a chemical works on the old second team pitch, maybe even the occasional domino drive – these things can all help balance the books.

  6. Good post.

    But then, when i use the phrase “good post” am I merely reflecting received “wisdom” that such a pensive post is good.

    Perhaps I should only consider posts genuinely good when they come from some erratic place like Afridi bitng a ball, a cricket bat in outer space or a cat showing indifference to anything other than its dinner.

    Now see what you’ve done – I’ve even confused myself.

  7. Gloucestershire must have been getting worried when they were forced to resort to a bowling change in the fourth innings.

  8. Happy memories Moron Centre. It was very sad when that game was abandoned, the brief period while it lasted was absolutely enthralling.

  9. Good one, Alex. 33 wickets in a day. Is that a record? What did the pitch inspectors say? “Good pitch. Mine’s a pint of porter”, I should imagine.

  10. There is a similar issue that affects how the weather is seen here in Blighty.

    As a shiny newly minted pom, I just can’t believe it when the weather reports state that it’s ‘good’ weather when it might be 35C, hot and humid and probably 10c hotter in the tube. Just because there’s no rain does not mean the weather is ‘good’ (although I admit, it’s certainly a start).

    On holiday hot and muggy would be OK. Commuting to work and sitting in a badly air conditioned office with sweat dripping down ones’ back makes high temperatures less of a delight.

    Sure, a bit of sun is nice. This doesn’t mean more is better. Maybe it’s the mad dogs and Englishmen thing and I’ll never understand.

  11. “Play was suspended after 10.1 overs (56 minutes) after the batsmen had been struck several times by balls which lifted dangerously off a length.”
    That describes half the synthetic pitches here in Melbourne. Good as a bowler when you can deliver a ‘perfume ball’ off a full length.

  12. I don’t know why that game was abandoned. I’m sure that with the awesome batting we had to come we’d have posted a reasonable score.

    What a tail we had in those days! These boys could teach Swann or Broad a thing or two about proper tail end batting.

    AJ Hollioake, AR Caddick, DW Headley, ARC Fraser, PCR Tufnell

  13. The post contradicts itself. First you say, cricket is about taking wickets. Then at the end you say ‘….pitches show you the worth of a cricketer, because a run has more value.’ If a cricketer is someone who scores tough runs, how is cricket about taking wickets?

  14. The aim of the game is to take wickets, but batsmen still have worth.

    The aim of football is to score goals, but goalkeepers are valuable players.

  15. Anyone else really enjoying seeing the Indians struggle on that featherbed in Nagpur.

    They could at least try to kill cricket more subtely!

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