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ECB aims to stamp out bad behaviour

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Andrew Strauss & Paul Bedford

England Test captain Andrew Strauss, second left, and ECB head of non-first-class cricket Paul Bedford, right, appear at Lord's today to launch ‘play hard, play fair and stay in the game’

The ECB and MCC today announced a new joint initiative – ‘play hard, play fair and stay in the game’ – aimed at improving standards of behaviour in junior cricket.

The initiative, which is also supported by the PCA, ESCA and the HMC schools, has been devised to help educate youngsters about the challenges they may face as players or as captains and promote a wider acceptance and understanding of the ‘spirit of cricket.’

Drawn up in close consultation with age-group players, coaches and managers, the project will invite all children participating in under-15 cricket this summer to take part in an online quiz based around 10 different cricketing scenarios and include an opportunity to win tickets to an npower Test match.

It will be accompanied by the implementation of a new code of conduct for junior cricketers, which has recently been circulated to all junior clubs and match officials to coincide with the start of the new season.

ECB head of non-first-class cricket Paul Bedford said: “As well as learning that cricket is a fun and enjoyable sport, we want all young cricketers in whatever competitive situation they are in to understand that they have a crucial role to play in upholding the game’s historic reputation for fair play.

“There is no place for bad behaviour in cricket and this initiative is designed to help teach the next generation of players about the importance of showing respect to your opponents, match officials, coaches, scorers and spectators.”

MCC’s head of cricket John Stephenson said: “MCC is delighted to be working in partnership with the ECB to deliver this new initiative, which will help to ensure thousands of young people adopt the spirit of cricket principles of playing hard and fair.

“MCC spirit of cricket represents a central force for good in the game at all levels – from the grassroots to the Test match arena – and has been embraced by the world’s finest players. We hope this new initiative helps young cricketers to learn about the benefits of teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship, and encourages them to win and lose magnanimously.”

To view the online quiz, go to www.ecb.co.uk/playhardplayfair