Reducing the pitch length: Effects on junior cricket

2018-04-23T13:18:03Z (GMT) by Mike Harwood Fred Yeadon Mark King
The pitch lengths used for junior cricket are a subject of debate but to date there have been no studies of their influence on the game. This study evaluated the effect of reducing the pitch length on batting, bowling and fielding. County under 10 and club under 11 matches were analysed, ten played on pitch lengths currently recommended by the England and Wales Cricket Board, 19 yards/17.37 m or 20 yards/18.28 m respectively, and ten played on 16 yard (14.63 m) pitches. Differences between measures of batting, bowling and fielding were calculated to assess the effects of the shorter pitch length. In club and county matches on 16 yards, running between the wickets increased by 22% and 39% respectively, while boundary fours and sixes decreased by 54% and 68%. Deliveries played to the Mid-wicket area decreased by 44% in club and 33% in county matches, both accompanied by a more even distribution of fielding opportunities. Club matches saw a 15% increase in playable deliveries, largely due to fewer deliveries bouncing twice. Attempted shots, full toss No balls and Wide balls changed negligibly. Playing on a shorter pitch had positive impacts for bowlers, batters and fielders, consequently resulting in matches which were more engaging. Coaches and governing bodies should consider shorter pitches as a means of enhancing junior cricket.