Ever since the T20 World Cup got underway in the US, there have been debates over the drop-in pitches at the Nassau County Cricket Stadium in New York.

The venue that will host India’s group league fixtures – including the big one against Pakistan on June 9 – has so far seen low-scoring games, with Sri Lanka bundling out for 77 in its opener against South Africa.

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However, pitch experts believe things will improve as the tournament progresses. Sportstar caught up with former England cricketer Paul Taylor, who is now the International Sales Director – Cricket at SIS Grass, to find out more about the drop-in pitches.

What is a drop-in pitch?

As the name suggests, a drop-in pitch is shipped to a particular venue after being prepared elsewhere. The cranes are used to put the drop-in pitches in place and they can be removed once a match or a tournament is over.

Are these artificial surfaces?

No. According to Taylor, “The drop-in pictures aren’t artificial pitches. They are fully natural pitches. It’s a fully natural profile with clay soil and natural turf grown in natural grass plants grown into it. So it is a fully natural surface…”

Is it the way to go?

Taylor, who played two Tests and a solitary ODI for England, tells  Sportstar that it depends on the budgets available and the cost. “This is where maybe a hybrid cricket pitch technology could potentially help. Obviously, when there’s a natural grass surface there, we can inject the polyethylene fibres into it to give it reinforcement and stability. Basically, you can get more play out of those pitches….”

Where are the drop-in pitches used?

The drop-in surfaces are laid at venues which are mostly used for multi-sports. At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the drop-in pitch is used during the cricket season and once the summer is over, it’s used for other events, especially the AFL.

Where are the drop-in pitches prepared?

They can be prepared in any part of the world and then transported to the designated venue. For instance, the pitch at the Nassau County Cricket Stadium in New York, which will host India’s T20 World Cup games against Ireland, Pakistan and the USA, has been prepared in Adelaide.

Can the drop-in pitches increase the risk of injuries?

No. As Taylor points out, “The longer the pitches are in the ground, the more they settle down. The more pitch preparation that takes place on the pitches the flatter and more consistent they will get…”

That, he believes, is going to happen over the next few weeks in the ongoing T20 World Cup. “I don’t think there’s a massive issue with the pitches being dangerous. They just lack a bit of consistency at the moment and I think it will improve in time,” Taylor says.