Artificial Grass is a surface made of synthetic fibres made to look like natural grass. It is manufactured with yarn from two groups of polymer – polyolefin (includes polypropylene and polyethylene), and the less common polyamide (nylons). Blends of these polymers are also used. They are then modified chemically to produce different properties of durability, resistance to friction, and resistance to weathering.
It is most often used in sports arenas for sports that are normally played on grass. It is now being used as cricket grass in India’s most popular game of cricket as part of the cricket turf / cricket pitch. On an Artificial Cricket Grass pitch, the cricket ball has a true bounce and also bounces higher than on real grass. The ball also travels faster in a straight line and does not get deflected to the right or left making bowling, batting and fielding more precise.
The other reasons for using Artificial Cricket Grass over natural grass are:
- Artificial Cricket pitch / turf provides for even playing conditions irrespective of the venue played.
- Cricket can be played on artificial cricket grass all day long, all season long, for many years, without having to deal with the hassle of intense season based maintenance required for natural grass.
- Artificial cricket grass is easier to maintain and keep clean, compared to natural grass cricket pitches which require a lot of time for fertilizing, moving, rolling and leveling the natural grass.
- The artificial cricket pitch is good for batsmen, bowlers, and fielders due to the trueness of the ball.
- Artificial Cricket Pitches and Turfs lasts longer.
- Artificial Cricket Grass is extremely durable and hard wearing – it does not crumble due to intense heat weather, gets dry very quickly in wet, rainy, and snowy weather, resulting in fewer game stoppages.
- Artificial cricket pitches are good for outdoor and indoor use.
Over the past decade, Artificial Cricket Grass pitches have become preferred playing cricket turfs in India. Certain standards have been developed to choose the right Artificial Cricket Grass, based on experiences of cricket playing nations.
- The Artificial Grass cricket pitch needs to be a specialist cricket pitch, not just a ‘marked-up’ area of Artificial grass carpet as used in the outfield.
- Artificial Grass pitches are generally single strips of high-density carpet (9 – 11mm pile height) glued to a concrete base.
- Generally they have no infill.
- Some pitches that have infill with rubber granules, need to be thoroughly cleaned out after the winter period for use in summer. This has to be repeated every cricket season.
- During the winter season, the pitch needs to be covered with loam (soil composed mostly of sand, silt, and a smaller amount of clay) or a second sheet of artificial grass with much lesser density fibres which is laid over the actual pitch, and the upper layer needs to be filled with rubber granules to provide a cushioning level to counteract the pitch’s concrete base.
- While preparing for a new season, the upper layer of Artificial Grass is removed, and the uncovered pitch is thoroughly cleaned to ensure that contaminants are removed from the base of the playing surface.
- Longer pile Artificial Grass are not recommended as it has been noticed that they tend to affect the cricket ball’s bounce and playability.
Along with these standards, certain parameters need to be considered while choosing the right Artificial Cricket Grass for the cricket pitch. One of the major factor to be considered is the overall cost of the Artificial Cricket Grass pitch.
The other factors to be considered are:
1. Weather – Weather is an important factor in the decision making of the right Artificial Cricket Grass. Dry, Hot, Rainy or snowy conditions requires the Artificial Cricket Grass to be maintained in specific ways. This has an impact on the costs. Specific weather may require infill and backing. For example, if the weather in an area is known for extreme heat, a polyurethane backed product is recommended – the poly backed Artificial Grass does not expand and contract. Infill keeps the pitch springy and resilient. Weather also determines the maintenance required – For example during the winter season, the pitch needs to be covered with loam or a second sheet of artificial grass.
2. The Usage / Traffic – Usage is an important consideration. If the Artificial Grass chosen is not designed to stand up to heavy use, the Artificial Grass pitch could wear out rather quickly.
3. Product Quality – Good quality Artificial Cricket Grass are made of polypropylene, polyethylene, polyamide yarns or a mixture of all three. Quality Artificial turf products will be evenly backed, colour consistent and contain well stitched tufts.
4. Pile Height (Length of the Blade) – Pile height is the measurement of blade length from just above the backing to the end of its tip. The recommended pile height is 9 – 11mm as per standards.
5. Weight and Density – Density refers to the number of synthetic yarns per square foot of Artificial Grass turf. Artificial Grass with a higher turf density is more durable. The higher the quality, the more is the weight of the Artificial Grass.
6. Colour – It is best to choose Artificial Cricket Grass that has varying shades of green. Olive green, dark green and lime green mixed together offers a natural look. The Artificial Grass should not be completely uniform and should also have a few brown flecks as well. This will make the Artificial Cricket Grass turf look lush and natural.
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