SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Oct. 20, 2022) – Minor League Cricket is delighted to announce that all matches in the 2023 season will take place on a natural turf or hybrid playing surface for the first time, with no artificial or matting wickets to be used.
The announcement marks a milestone in the rapid development of Minor League Cricket, with the number of matches expected to be played on natural turf and hybrid wickets in 2023 set to increase by over sixty per cent from the 2022 season, which featured nearly 200 matches. The nation’s leading domestic T20 championship saw its second season won by the Seattle Thunderbolts, claiming a $150,000 first place prize by defeating the Atlanta Fire in the final held in August.
The growing number of natural turf and hybrid wickets installed across the United States is a result of the commitment MiLC team owners have made to developing high-quality cricketing facilities in their regions. These facilities will also be available for use not only during the MiLC tournament, but for wider use by the cricket community throughout the year.
“Preparing players to perform at the highest level possible is the goal of Minor League Cricket and playing on natural or hybrid playing surfaces is a key part of that equation. It’s a huge sign of the commitment made by MiLC team owners to the sport’s development that all matches in the 2023 season will take place on natural turf or hybrid wickets, providing a significant boost for the quality of play in American cricket,” said Zubin Surkari, League Operations Manager, Minor League Cricket.
Major League Cricket’s partnership with Gabba Sporting Products, one of Australia’s leading sporting product manufacturers, has brought the H3 Hybrid Cricket Pitch to American shores, fast-tracking the installation of high-quality cricket playing surfaces nationwide. Twenty-two hybrid pitches are set to be installed across the United States by the start of the 2023 domestic cricket season.
The H3 Hybrid Cricket Pitch is made from a high-quality synthetic grass which is filled with natural soil, combining the individual qualities of a natural and synthetic pitch. The result is a low maintenance surface that is easy to prepare and provides the bounce, seam and spin of a natural turf pitch. Hybrid pitches are now in-use at the international level of the game, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently approving use of the surfaces in Men’s and Women’s ODI and T20I matches.
Five hybrid pitches have already been installed across the United States in 2022, with the most recent installations being completed at ACAC Park in St. Louis and South Elgin Sporting Fields in Chicago, primarily intended for use by youth cricketers. This innovative cricketing infrastructure will provide players at all levels with the ability to play on durable surfaces that closely replicate natural turf wickets, at a fraction of the cost and maintenance required by a natural turf pitch.