Cricket Australia's Chief Executive Officer, James Sutherland, continued his week-long trek around Australia to promote National Play Cricket Week, today, after he participated in a junior cricket activity at Edinburgh Cricket Club in Melbourne, with giant cricket equipment.
Whilst it was entertaining to watch, the oversized equipment demonstrates the challenges previously faced by kids in the sport, including having to play with equipment that is too heavy for them, or too large, showcasing the new Junior Formats on offer across Australia.
Melbourne Renegades new signing Jess Duffin (nee Cameron) and Melbourne Stars WBBL re-signing Alana King joined Mr Sutherland to showcase the challenges of the larger equipment.
According to research from the Australian Sports Commission, kids have a greater interest in watching television (77%), exploring the Internet (72%) and gaming (69%) than they do in sport (51%)
Research has show that some of the reasons why kids stop playing sport is because the sport is no longer fun, there's not enough action or it takes too long.
After a successful pilot earlier this year, the newly introduced junior formats include a reduced pitch length, less players on the field, a shorter game and modified equipment.
The pilot revealed that runs off the bat increased by 43%, balls hit increased by 13% and boundaries increased by 66%, while wides and no balls dropped by 35%.
The junior formats will be rolled out across Australia in the next three years in a bid to make cricket shorter, faster and a more inclusive and action packed sport for players of all ages.
Last season Cricket Victoria conducted pilot programs through associations in Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga and the western suburbs of Melbourne. Not only did players see increases in runs off the bat per over and boundaries per over, they also witnessed increased accuracy in bowling.
This accuracy was shown through a 53% increase in balls bowled on a "good length", as well as an increase of 77% in wickets per over according to Scott Tutton, Cricket Victoria's Community Club & Competitions Manager.
"This season will see the number of associations playing under Stage 1 and Stage 2 junior formats go from three in the pilot, to 24 associations spread from Mildura in the north-west to Traralgon in the south-east," said Tutton. "Our associations and clubs have really bought into the change and agree that these formats provide an improved playing experience for our young cricketers."
"Those involved in the pilot last season have described it as the best standard of cricket they've seen from players in the Stage 1 and 2 age ranges in a very long time. Some parents have also told me it was a blessing the junior formats were introduced because they wouldn't have lasted under the 11-player-a-side format due to such things as the time it takes for that game to be played."
"The junior formats have forced coaches to change their fields," he said. "Where they previously had a deep square leg or a back stop, they now have fielders straight down the ground and on the boundary fence. That ought to give you an idea of the shots we're seeing."
11 SEPTEMBER, 2017 | Game Development