Roller research by England and Wales Cricket Board and Cranfield University seeks new efficiencies

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cranfield University aim to help save grounds staff more than 700,000 hours of cricket pitch preparation across the UK.

The two organisations are pinning their hopes on more effective use of rollers, following four years of research by Cranfield's Centre for Sports Surface Technology.

The study, commissioned by the ECB, aims to bulk up scientific understanding of the rolling of cricket pitches to try and optimise pitch preparation.

"The research marks a significant shift from current practice and understanding in cricket," said Chris Wood, pitches consultant for England and Wales Cricket Board.

"It will go a long way to dispel the myths and legends and instill sound and economical rolling practices for good pitches across all levels of cricket."

The project, which involved the Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG), included over 100 grounds staff across England and Wales to identify the scope for improvement.

Results showed in first-class cricket the number of roller passes over the pitch ranged from five to 280.

The guidelines themselves state that the optimum pitch preparation during the summer is around 10 roller passes.

Dr Iain James, head of the Centre for Sports Surface Technology at Cranfield, said:

"This research will lead to better pitches and more efficient preparation.

"If all clubs in England and Wales were to target their rolling using these guidelines, the reduction in rolling time would save over 700,000 hours of rolling a year.

"It would reduce the carbon footprint of cricket by an equivalent of a small housing estate. In addition, there will be cost savings in terms of fuel."

Download the guidelines for professionals and volunteers from www.ecb.co.uk/rolling or www.cranfield.ac.uk/sas/sst/rolling.


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