How Rollers Make a Big Difference in Your Game of Cricket
Cricket is a hugely popular sport all over the world and whether the game is being played at international level or amateur level, a well maintained pitch is essential.
Cricket games can often be decided by the most minimal differences. Like in 2018 with the famous sandpaper scandal by the Aussies and in the same year the Sri Lankan and Indian groundsmen were accused of tampering with the pitch before their test matches. So even the smallest things, like the difference in how the pitch is rolled, can have a huge effect on the game.
Using a heavy or light roller is one example of how something which may seem so minimal, can have a big impact on the game. Which is why it is essential to know the difference between a heavy roller and a short roller and its effects on a game of cricket.
Why are rollers used on cricket pitches
The aim of a roller is to improve the pitch to create a level and playable surface. The size and most importantly mass of the roller will affect the roller contact stress, so it is important to choose carefully depending on the way you want to play and the strengths of your team.
If you are new to cricket you might not know why rollers are used. Rolling the pitch aims to:
- Ensure a more consistent and level playing surface
- Maintain the colour and condition of the grass by controlling how much moisture it receives.
- To firm the soil which will give a harder surface that allows a more playable but faster bounce
How are rollers used within cricket?
When there is the option of light and heavy roller, the captain of the batting side has their choice of preference. As this has an effect on how the game is played and can benefit the team that bats first.
The rolling must not last more than 7 minutes and cannot be any later than 30 minutes before the game is due to start. And the pitch must not be rolled during a match unless the batting captain requests due to a delayed start causing significant effect.
Heavy rollers: Specifications, uses and benefits
A heavy roller usually weighs around 1-2 tonnes like Auto Roller’s 3ft and 4ft models which weigh 1.2t and 1.6t, respectively.
When a heavy roller is used it creates a surface that produces a very consistent and lively bounce, which leaves little for spinners to exploit.
Heavy rollers are perfect for fast bowlers as an almost rock hard surface is created as the soil is compressed, which leaves minimal cracks in the ground. However on an already deteriorating pitch a heavy roller can sometimes break up the surface more, which spinners may use to their advantage.
Light Roller: Specification, uses and benefits
A light roller will typically weigh up to 5cwt or approximately 250kg, which is about a quarter of the weight of a heavy one.
Light rollers are used to produce a much softer and smoother surface than a heavy one. They smooth out the surface by rolling over dents that if untouched will harden under the sunlight throughout the day.
They are better suited to spin bowlers as they create a softer pitch which is susceptible to dents which can alter the course of the ball. Spinners will then use these dents and imperfections to their advantage, to throw unpredictable bowls to the batsmen.
So what is the difference?
The main difference between them both is that the heavy roller aims to flatten the pitch out as much as possible, in order to create a rock hard surface. A light roller, on the other hand, smooths over the surface to even it out and soften the pitch.
On a soft pitch, the ball holds up and can create unpredictable bounce, whereas a hard pitch causes the ball to zip off the floor and bat much more quickly.
A combination of both heavy and light rollers will often be used by the groundsmen throughout the year to prepare the pitch in the way they desire. Groundsmen around the world can now benefit from technologies that have paved the way for motorised versions of rollers.