What are the dimensions of a cricket pitch?

According to the Laws of Cricket, as laid down by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), a cricket pitch is a rectangular area measuring 22 yards, 66 feet or 20.12 metres in length and 10 feet or 3.05 metres in width. The extremities of the pitch are defined by bowling creases, marked by white lines, 8 feet and 8 inches or 2.64 metres long, drawn through the centre of the stumps at either end, and two imaginary lines, parallel to, and 5 feet or 1.52 metres either side of, a third imaginary line connecting the centres of the middle stumps at either end. Historically, the bowling crease was the line from, or behind, which the cricket ball must be bowled but, nowadays, has nothing to do with bowling.

A cricket pitch also features one popping crease and two return creases marked, like the bowling crease, by white lines, at each end. The popping crease takes its name from a peculiarity of early cricket known as the popping hole. As the name suggests, the popping hole was a hole cut into the pitch, into which a batsman had to place, or ‘pop’, his bat in order to complete a run or a fielder had to place the ball in order to complete a run-out. In the interests of safety, the popping hole became the popping crease.

The popping crease is marked parallel to, and 4 feet or 1.22 metres in front of, the bowling crease. Physically, it is marked to at least 6 feet or 1.83 metres either side of the imaginary line connecting the centres of the middle stumps at either end, but, for practical purposes, is considered infinite in length. The return creases, on the other hand, are marked at right angles to the popping crease, 4 feet and 4 inches or 1.32 metres either side of the aforementioned imaginary line and extend from the popping crease to, at least, 8 feet or 2.44 metres behind it. They, too, are considered infinitely long.

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