Sticky Wicket in Cricket Sport Explained | What Is It?

This guide will explore and discuss what a sticky wicket in cricket is and everything you need to know.

Do you know what is “sticky wicket”? Well, you might not know what it is. There is no offense, truly. Jokes apart. Many people randomly ask this question. If you are one of them, do not worry, you are in the correct place. The term “sticky wicket” sounds quite interesting and curious too. How can a wicket be sticky? Here we will discuss the term so that you can get it properly. So, let us not waste time and get into the matter.

Sticky wicket:

In Cricket terminology, the word “Sticky wicket” is related to the pitch of the cricket ground. A 22-yard cricket pitch on which the ball bounces unpredictably is known as a sticky wicket. A sticky wicket is seen when the pitch is not dry. If heavy rainfall occurs or the pitch absorbers water more than its capacity, it becomes wet. Then, the ball may bounce unpredictably due to the wet condition of the pitch. It might cause problems for the batters mainly. During the sticky wicket, it becomes hard to predict the activity of the ball, its bounce, pace, swing, and all the stuff. It might be a barrier to making runs rapidly.

It creates issues for the bowlers too. During bowling on the sticky wicket, the ball may move unpredictably. So, sometimes the ball does not behave the way the bowler wants. It mainly happens during the spinners. Spinners try to turn the ball after bouncing on the pitch. On the wet pitches, the balls do not bounce the way they should. So, the spinners face issues. Regarding the pace bowlers, the ball’s length, bounce, and swing disturb too much. Commonly, a ball does not bounce much on dropping on the sticky wickets. Sometimes, the balls get out of the wide stumps or become No-balls. So, this is how the sticky wickets make trouble for the batters and bowlers in a match. 

However, in modern cricket, it is difficult to find a sticky wicket because almost all the grounds get covered to protect the pitch during rain. In fact, technology has improved in a good way, and nowadays, there are several gadgets to turn sticky pitches into dry and playable pitches.

Origin of the phrase:

The origin of the phrase “sticky wicket,” which we define as an awkward situation, became popular in the British game of cricket. The main action of cricket is played with a bat and a ball by 2 teams of 11 members. The teams are centered on a bowler who throws the ball and two batters who both defend one of two wickets one by one. These wickets each consist of 3 upright stumps and 2 cross pieces known as bails. These are placed 66 feet apart in the center of the field. The ten feet wide area between both wickets is also known as the wicket. So, from this sense, we get the term “sticky wicket.”

When a match is played, the bowler takes a running start-up from behind one of the wickets. He throws the ball, usually bouncing once before the striking batter, in front of the other wicket. The bowler attempts to put the batter out by knocking a bail off the wicket. The batter is also dismissed if the ball hits him when standing in front of his wicket directly. A run is earned if the striker hits the ball and can exchange places with the non-sticker batter without being put out.

A sticky wicket is a soft, tacky surface of a pitch, usually the result of heavy water soaking. Such a surface affects the bounces of the balls and can make play more difficult, especially for the batters. From the tough situation of playing on a sticky wicket, the more natural extended use with which you are familiar was first recorded in 1926.

Impact on modern cricket:

Around the world, modern professional cricket is played on covered pitches. Sticky wickets are mostly seen in amateur cricket, but the tragedy can occur when pitches are not covered properly, slow to be applied. Particularly it is seen in warm weather where the grass underneath sweats as moisture evaporates. When pitch covers were introduced into England’s County Championship, Mr. John Woodcock wrote an article for the ‘Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack,’ criticizing it like, “Sticky dog is put down.”


On occasions in the history of cricket, unusual strategies have been employed to implement the best use of a sticky wicket. So, the sticky wicket also has bad and good impacts on cricket matches.

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