sticky wicket, (to bat on) a

a sticky wicket

A particularly awkward or difficult situation or circumstance. (Generally used with on. Refers to the pitch, i.e., wicket, used in the game of cricket and the difficulty of playing on one after it has been wetted with rain.) Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I found myself on a bit of a sticky wicket when the boss saw me kissing his daughter at the cinema. I'll be batting on a sticky wicket if I arrive at the train station and don't have enough money for the tickets!
See also: sticky, wicket

a sticky wicket

1 a pitch that has been drying out after rain and is therefore difficult to bat on. Cricket 2 a tricky or awkward situation. informal
See also: sticky, wicket

(be on) a ˌsticky ˈwicket

(British English, informal) a situation in which it is difficult to defend yourself against criticism or attack: Don’t be too confident about getting the contract. After our problems with the last one we’re on a sticky wicket there.
In the game of cricket, a sticky wicket is a playing area that is drying out after rain and so is more difficult for the person hitting the ball to play on.
See also: sticky, wicket

sticky wicket, (to bat on) a

To deal with a difficult situation that requires good judgment. The term comes from cricket, where it refers to soft or muddy ground around a wicket, which makes it difficult for the batsman because the ball does not bounce well. Although cricket is not well known in America, the term did cross the Atlantic in the 1920s. The National News-Letter used it in 1952, “Mr. Churchill was batting on a very sticky wicket in Washington.”
See also: bat, sticky