Summer is here and that means a few things longer days, beer gardens and cricket is played up and down the country.
The County Championship kicked off on April 13 and the IPL (Indian Premier League) is already attracting massive audiences all over the world.
With big competitions like the Big Bash in Australia and the IPL in mind the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) are proposing a new competition that would rival these.
The 100 ball competition is being proposed as a way to make cricket fun and get children involved both watching and playing.
The Chairman of the ECB Colin Graves recently said told the BBC that young people are ‘not attracted to cricket’ and ‘it is not attracting the audiences, if it was we would not have that issue.”
The recent performances of the England Cricket team and the controversy around Australia’s ball tampering scandal has put a dampener on the very respected sport.
With Kent being solely known for its cricket in the sporting world, is enough being done to get children involved in one of England’s most loved sports? There is one initiative that was set up last year that had had a big impact.
All Stars Cricket was set up by the ECB last summer to get boys and girls aged between five and eight into the sport.
The ECB wanted to get 50,000 youngsters involved in the eight week event at 2000 clubs.
The clubs who run the programme will teach the children basic skills of batting, throwing, catching, bowling, running, teamwork, communication and the spirit of cricket.
Mersham Cricket Club are starting their second year of The All Stars Cricket programme
Ian Fagg from the club said: “The All Stars programme has been very beneficial in promoting the sport.
“Before the All Stars programme my club promoted its cricket through a few local schools, but with All Stars promotion it opens many more opportunities for youngsters to join.”
“This year we have 52 kids involved, we have started to turn people away which is a shame. “We can’t handle more kids.
“But it is a great initiative.”
Ian has noticed a few issues with All Stars Cricket.
He said: The problem is it involves test players, but the ECB are trying to push the T20 and 100 type games.
“Also the kids don’t know the players like Premier League footballers. “They can still deliver the initiative without them they are not pro footballers.
“Kent County Cricket are also doing a lot in schools.”
Finally, Ian highlighted how the 100 ball competition could impact Kent Cricket.
He said: “It is not going to compete with the IPL or Big Bash and in comparison the Premier League is so big and has so much money this 100 ball competition just does not touch it.
“Also I am even guessing it wont be in Kent.
“It will be based in London meaning people would have to travel which is always a problem.
“So that is worth looking at to try and make it work down here if not the question is where and when?”
Another cricket initiative is Chance To Shine. Their motto is “Spreading the power of cricket” and they are a national charity.
Similarly, to All Stars Cricket their aim is to get children involved with the sport.
A spokesperson from Chance To Shine said:” We are on a mission to spread the power of cricket throughout schools and communities.
2017 has been a brilliant year for Chance to Shine. We have given over 450,000 individual children the opportunity to play and learn through cricket, have played the very first game of cricket on Downing Street and are now the proud holders of a Guinness World Record!
Chance To Shines review of 2017.
“We ignite new passions, teach vital skills, unite diverse groups, and educate young people from up and down the country.”
Since 2005 they have worked alongside all 39 County Cricket Boards. Now they have three million children in over 14,000 schools playing cricket.
They said: “We are working to forge strong links between hundreds of primary and secondary schools and their local cricket club and encourage children to progress on to club cricket once they have tried it at school.”
“Thousands of children are joining clubs after playing at schools.”
Since Chance to Shine begun, clubs across the country have reported huge growth in their youth sections.
There are many programmes out there encouraging children to take part in cricket. With record numbers taking apart in both All Stars and Chance To shine. However, the ECB are still working on trying to get even more children watching and playing cricket and by launching the 100 ball competition they hope to reach an even wider audience.