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Cricket on the up among kids

Inter Cricket fun

More children playing cricket © ECB

England’s fluctuating fortunes in the Ashes series over the past two years have helped to prompt a sharp rise in the number of children playing cricket regularly, new research has revealed.

New figures from BMRB, one of Europe’s largest research companies, show a 40 per cent increase over a four-year period from 2003 reflecting England’s high-profile international campaigns and the ECB’s programmes to develop young talent.

According to the figures published recently, 420,000 11-19-year-olds play cricket on a weekly basis which is 40 per cent more than in 2003 when almost 300,000 kids played cricket every week.

This upwards trend was also reflected in adult cricket with the number playing regularly increasing from 300,000 in 2003 to almost 500,000 adults today.

James Smythe, head of BMRB Sport said: “Any successful sport attracts new interest and the success of the 2005 Ashes series is an example of this. However, the key is to retain it.

"Young Players development programmes target clubs and cricket has a combined strategy of international success and domestic grassroots development that is clearly paying dividends, and serves as a best practice example to other sports.”

Peter Ackerley, head of development for the ECB, welcomed the BMRB findings, which he believes testify to the success of the development programmes that the ECB has put in place in recent years.

These include the young players development programme which targets clubs and schools to nurture young talent and increase the popularity of the game.

The 40 per cent rise represented a spectacular increase, said Ackerley: “This clearly demonstrates the popularity of the game among young people and shows that the game, as a product, is appealing to this age group."

This is set to grow as interest surrounding the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies reaches new levels following the recent series of one day defeats by world champions Australia and the rise in fortunes among rival nations.