10.1 Pre-Match Responsibilities: Ground Authority’s Role
The Ground Authority shoulders the responsibility for utilizing covers before the match kicks off. This responsibility encompasses the potential need for full pitch coverage, should specific circumstances necessitate it. However, beyond this duty, the Ground Authority must also provide an opportunity for both team captains to personally assess the condition of the pitch before they select their players. Additionally, they must ensure that umpires have unfettered access to carry out their roles, as delineated in Laws 2 (The Umpires), 6 (The Pitch), 7 (The Creases), 8 (The Wickets), and 9 (Maintenance of the Playing Area).
10.2 Cover Usage During the Match
Unless explicitly stated otherwise before the toss, certain conditions dictate the use of covers during the match, especially during nighttime play and in inclement weather scenarios:
10.2.1 Full Pitch and Run-up Coverage
Teams must ensure comprehensive coverage of the entire pitch during every night of the match and in adverse weather conditions. This coverage must extend a minimum of 4 feet (1.22 meters) beyond the pitch’s boundaries at each end.
10.2.2 Covering the Bowlers’ Run-ups
Teams should also ensure, whenever feasible, that they adequately cover the bowlers’ run-up areas.
10.3 Removing the Covers
10.3.1 Overnight Cover Removal
After the pitch has been covered overnight following the toss, it is of utmost importance that teams promptly remove these covers as soon as the day’s play is scheduled to commence.
10.3.2 Swift Cover Removal
Teams must swiftly remove these covers as soon as conditions permit when they use covers during daylight hours to shield against inclement weather or when unfavorable weather conditions cause delays in the removal of overnight covers.
These guidelines underscore the importance of teams responsibly managing the use of covers, both prior to and during the match, with the ultimate aim of preserving the quality of the playing surface and ensuring a level playing field for all participants.