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Cricket Data Sheets:

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Choosing the Right Cricket Wicket

"We are looking to install a non-turf wicket and are unsure what type of cricket wicket would be most suitable for us?"

The main factors to consider are the level of play and how much maintenance you are prepared to carry out.

Wickets incorporating a hard porous stone (dynamic) base will have playing characteristics most closely resembling a natural grass wicket. The base will respond to rolling by becoming quicker due to increased compaction of the base stone, so you have a degree of adjustment to best suit your requirements. The pace will also vary according to ground conditions as would a natural turf wicket as moisture in the base will result in slower pace and less bounce.

This type of wicket would most typically be found at cricket clubs or private schools where ground staff and suitable equipment are on hand to carry out regular rolling and other necessary maintenance. If this is not carried out, the base can become uneven leading to poor or unpredictable bounce. On most systems, a polyester base pad is incorporated between the playing surface and base which helps to control the pace and bounce of the ball and reduce the interval required between rolling operations.

Playing surface choice for this type of wicket will depend on available budget at predicted use.

Wilton woven surfaces are the most expensive, but are the hardest wearing and typically these carpets can be expected to last for 10 years or more. Budget alternatives are needlepunched (fibre bonded) surfaces or tufted surfaces which can cost half as much as woven surface, but will not last as long in use. All playing surfaces should be cricket-specific products. Surfaces intended for other sports such as soccer or tennis are not suitable as the pile length or density will be incorrect for cricket use. Products intended for these sports often have a sand or rubber infill to the pile which also will not work for cricket.

If a cricket wicket is being considered for a site where there is no facility for maintaining it or it will be used for general recreational games, a concrete based wicket may be the best option. As the base is solid concrete, it will require no regular upkeep other than keeping the playing surface clean. Another advantage to this type of installation is that it will play consistently irrespective of the ground conditions.

The drawback for this type of wicket is that the pace is fixed and is governed by the hard concrete base so generally play fast and the bounce will be high. This makes them unsuitable at higher levels of play as they are not realistic for practicing on.

Needlepunched playing surfaces are the commonest type used on concrete bases, often bonded to the concrete with suitable adhesive. Other alternatives are backed needlepunched surfaces for roll up/roll down use, or occasionally needlepunched, tufted, or Wilton surfaces tensioned and edge fixed over the concrete, with or without a base pad.