On the Front Foot: Scientists on a roll with findings but could face a pitch battle

One of the enduring images of cricket wherever it is played, and to whatever standard, is of an old boy sitting on a roller. He rolls and rolls, letting the world go by, until he has produced the perfect pitch.

Turns out that this is complete tosh (the practice, not the image). Excessive rolling makes no difference at all, and groundsmen have wasted millions of hours. Cranfield University last week produced the findings of a four-year study into the practice of rolling and have debunked several myths.

These include: the more a pitch is rolled, the better it will play; and that any pitch can become better by rolling it more. Peter Shipton and Dr Iain James, whose research was commissioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board, obviously support rolling. But, as with many things in life, too much of it can ruin a good thing. Controlling thatch and moisture are quite as important. They recommend three lots of four to five passes in pre-season rolling and a maximum of 10 passes 36 to 56 hours after pitch saturation when the surface is to be used.

They also recommend rolling across the square. One of the more bizarre findings of a deeply scientific survey, available in internet and booklet form, is the amount of rolling done. In club cricket, the average number of passes per pitch was 83, in first-class cricket 53. But the range in both cases was remarkable, going from five to 540 in club cricket and five to 280 at first-class level. The scientists hope to reduce the number of rolls by 766,000 and the cost in petrol by £459,000. Tradition may be harder to dislodge.

Gospel spreads in Windies

Good to note that the ECB have been fulfilling their pledge to help cricket in the Caribbean (and no, not just by losing the Test series). Their special projects manager, Maria O'Donoghue, was in Trinidad last week checking the progress of the Sport for Life programme.

This is based on the educational resource called Howzat, which in helping to spread the cricket gospel in schools is also intended to change the lives of children who are not reaching their potential at school or in the community. Cricket offers an alternative, enjoyable method of instruction to help in maths, language, spelling and, in the case of Trinidad, St Lucia and Barbados, a history of West Indies players – the team who won the series last week will become an important part.



Critical date for Cardiff?

Lord Morris of Handsworth is to continue as an independent member of the ECB board, having accepted the invitation of the chairman, Giles Clarke. The former general secretary of the TGWU will carry on in his role as chairman of the major match group. It was this group which controversially awarded the First Test of this summer's Ashes to Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, which has never staged a Test before. Lord Morris will now still be in office to field any criticism should it be necessary come 8 July.



Thanks a million, Brendan

When Brendan Nash delivered the first ball of the 32nd over in England's first innings in the Fifth Test at Queen's Park Oval, it was the four millionth legal delivery in the history of Test cricket. The first ball was bowled in 1877 by Alfred Shaw and it took until 1959 before the millionth, according to the meticulous research of Sky's prodigious scorer, Benedict Bermange.



s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?