The Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) has imported 28 artificial roll-out pitches from the UK to make quality wickets accessible in remote parts of the state.
According to an Indian Express report, the portable pitches are similar to standard turf wickets, and are made up of rubberised polymer. These pitches are made up of interlocking 10x10 cm pieces, which can be dismantled and reassembled at ease.
These pitches could revolutionise the game at the grassroots level, as currently only six or seven districts out of the total 33 in Rajasthan have turf wickets. Moreover, a natural wicket needs a lot of maintenance and costs up to Rs 6 lakh per annum. The synthetic pitches cost the RCA only Rs 1.8 lakh per piece. The artificial pitches will also last longer and don't need any extra care when matches are not being played.
"All you need is a level surface to lay the pitch — gravelly or grassy, soft or hard. Small holes on the surface mean it can be used in rains, too, without becoming slippery. On such pitches, 365 days of cricket is possible," Pawan Goyal, treasurer of RCA, told Express. Goyal first saw these pitches at the ICC Academy in Dubai and decided to import them to Rajasthan.
In arid Rajasthan, the lack of water in some parts of the desert makes it tough to maintain natural pitches throughout the year.
“Imagine, you don’t need water to maintain the pitch. In Jaisalmer or Bikaner, a true surface would have been unheard of. Not anymore. A batsman coming from these districts will now feel at home when playing on a natural surface in Jaipur,” Express reported Sumendra Tiwary, the honorary secretary of RCA, as saying.
As in most parts of the country, remote areas in Rajasthan by and large have cemented tracks. Jaipur, on the other hand, has 36 natural wickets at the Rajasthan Cricket Academy. These roll-out pitches could go a long way in bringing international facilities to distant places in Rajasthan, as well as the rest of the country.