In the game of cricket, the cricket pitch consists of the central strip of the cricket field between the wickets - 1 chain or 22 yards (20.12 m) long and 10 feet (3 m) wide. The surface is very flat and normally covered with extremely short grass though this grass is soon removed by wear at the ends of the pitch.
In amateur matches, artificial pitches are commonly used. These can be a slab of concrete, overlaid with a coir mat, artificial turf, some times dirt is put over the coir mat to provide an authentic feeling pitch. Artificial pitches are rare in professional cricket—-being used only when exhibition matches are played in regions where cricket is not a common sport.
The pitch has very specific markings delineating the creases, as specified by the Laws of Cricket.
The word wicket often occurs in reference to the pitch. Although technically incorrect according the Laws of Cricket (Law 7 covers the pitch and Law 8 the wickets, distinguishing between them), cricket players, followers, and commentators persist in the usage, with context eliminating any possible ambiguity. Track is yet another synonym for pitch.
The rectangular central area of a pitch - the space used for pitches - is known as the square.
A cricket field consists of a large circular or oval-shaped grassy ground on which the game of cricket is played. There are no fixed dimensions for the field but its diameter usually varies between 450 feet (137 m) to 500 feet (150 m). Given the variable ovular length/width dimensions of a Cricket field (see below), Cricket is the only major sport which does not define a fixed shape ground for professional games. The ground can vary from being almost a perfect circle, to being an extremely elongated oval. On most grounds, a rope demarcates the perimeter of the field and is known as the boundary.
ICC standard dimensions
The ICC Standard Playing Conditions define the minimum and maximum size of the playing surface. Law 19.1 of ICC Test Match Playing Conditions states:
"The playing area shall be a minimum of 150 yards (137.16 metres) from boundary to boundary square of the pitch, with the shorter of the two square boundaries being a minimum 65 yards (59.43 metres). The straight boundary at both ends of the pitch shall be a minimum of 70 yards (64.00 metres). Distances shall be measured from the centre of the pitch to be used. In all cases the aim shall be to provide the largest playing area, subject to no boundary exceeding 90 yards (82.29 meters) from the centre of the pitch to be used. Any ground which has been approved to host international cricket prior to 1st October 2007 or which is currently under construction as of this date which is unable to conform to these new minimum dimensions shall be exempt. In such cases the regulations in force immediately prior to the adoption of these regulations shall apply."
In addition, the conditions require a minimum 3 yard gap between the "rope" and the surrounding fencing or advertising boards. This is to allow the players to dive without hurting themselves.
The conditions contain a grandfather clause, which exempts stadiums built before October 2007. However, most stadiums which regularly host international games easily meet the minimum dimensions.
It is worth noting that based on these guidelines, a cricket field must have at least 16,000 square yards ((150+3+3)/2*(70+70+3+3-22/2)/2*pi) of grass area. A more realistic test-match stadium would have more than 20,000 square yards of grass (having a straight boundary of about 80m) . In contrast an association football field needs only about 9,000 square yards of grass, making it impossible to play international cricket matches unless the stadium was specifically built for cricket . This is one of the reasons cricket games generally cannot be hosted outside the traditional cricket playing countries, and a few non-test nations like Canada, the UAE, and Kenya that have built test-match standard stadiums.
In the sport of cricket, the crease is a certain area demarcated by white lines painted or chalked on the field of play.
The term crease also refers to any of the lines themselves, particularly the popping crease. Law 9 of the Laws of Cricket governs the size and position of the crease markings. The actual line is considered to be the back edge of the width of the marked line on the grass, i.e., the edge nearest to the wicket at that end.
Four creases (one popping crease, one bowling crease, and two return creases) are drawn at each end of the pitch, around the two sets of stumps. The batsmen generally play in and run between the areas defined by the creases at each end of the pitch.
One bowling crease is drawn at each end of the pitch such that the set of stumps fall on it (and consequently it is perpendicular to the imaginary line joining the centres of both middle stumps). Each bowling crease should be 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 metres) in length, centred on the middle stump at each end and terminating at one of the return creases.
The bowling creases lie 22 yards (66 feet or 20.12 m) apart and mark the ends of the pitch, and so may be used to determine whether there is a no ball because a fielder has encroached on the pitch or the wicket-keeper has moved in front of the wicket before they are permitted to do so.
Formerly, part of the bowler's back foot in the delivery stride was required to fall behind the bowling crease to avoid a delivery being a no ball. This rule was replaced by a requirement that part of the bowler's front foot in the delivery stride must fall behind the popping crease
In addition, the popping crease determines whether a batsman has been stumped or run out. This is described in Laws 29, 38, and 39 of the Laws of cricket. Both involve the wicket being put down before a batsman can touch his body or bat to the ground behind the popping crease and make his ground.
If the batsman facing the bowler (the striker) steps out of his ground to play the ball but misses and the wicket-keeper takes the ball and puts down the wicket, then the striker is out stumped.
If a fielder puts down either wicket whilst the batsmen are running between the wickets (or otherwise forward of the popping crease during the course of play), then the batsman nearest the downed wicket is out run out.
There is no limit of how far a bowler may bowl behind the crease
Four return creases are drawn, one on each side of each set of stumps. The return creases lie perpendicular to the popping crease and the bowling crease, 4 feet 4 inches (1.32 m) either side of and parallel to the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps. Each return crease line starts at the popping crease but the other end is considered to be unlimited in length and must be marked to a minimum of 8 feet (2.44 m) from the popping crease.
The return creases are primarily used to determine whether the bowler has bowled a no ball. To avoid a no ball, some part of the bowler's back foot in the delivery stride must land within and not touch the return crease
The batting crease is the popping crease where the batsman stands while batting.
Using the crease
Batsmen 'use the crease' when they move toward leg or off, before or while playing a shot.
Bowlers 'use the crease' by varying the position of their feet, relative to the stumps, at the moment of delivery. In so doing, they can alter the angle of delivery and the trajectory of the ball
Example For - Pitch and Creases and Field and Ground [/SIZE]
Maturity is an adjective that, at best, can only be sporadically applied to Shahid Afridi, but it was the hallmark of his blitz against Sri Lanka, as he struck an unbeaten 39 from 20 to lift his side to a three-wicket win in Dubai