In an attempt to make cricket accessible to every player across Rajasthan, the state's cricket association has imported synthetic roll-out pitches from the United Kingdom. The move came in after the association felt the need to reach out to the remote parts of the state in order to provide young and aspiring cricketers the feel of playing on a standard turf.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the honorary secretary of Rajasthan Cricket Association Sumendra Tiwary said, "Rajasthan has 33 districts, of which only six or seven have turf wickets or standard cricket pitches prepared by groundsmen."
"At most other places, they play on cemented tracks or archaic matted surfaces. With these roll-out pitches, we are trying to take quality facilities to those parts where there were none before,” he added.
The synthetic turf also received some serious backing from the state association's officials. Pawan Goyal, treasurer of RCA said that the turf will act like a natural deck and will assist both, the spinners and pacers effectively. "There will be bounce if a fast bowler is willing to bend his back and there will be help for a spinner if he is willing to tweak because the surface, while not abrasive, is a bit rough," he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The synthetic turf is an added advantage in economical terms as well. “A turf wicket, on an average, costs Rs 6 lakh per annum. You need an experienced curator. When matches are not being played, it needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool. These artificial pitches have cost us Rs 1.8 lakh per piece, including the trolleys to carry them around and they are sturdy enough to last five-six years with minimum maintenance,” said Tiwary.
Synthetic turf is a portable pitch that can be assembled and dismantled in minutes. They are constructed by interlocking 10x10 pieces.
These artificial pitches can be laid anywhere and in any time of the season. "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," said Goyal.
With domestic cricket undergoing many a reform lately, this latest innovation from the Rajasthan cricket board seems to be one step towards the future.