The ECB have extended their All Stars kids cricket programme to accommodate for the enthusiasm generated by England’s successful World Cup campaign.
The scheme, aimed to provided children aged between 5 and 8 with their first organised experience of the sport, usually ends as the school holidays begin. But the ECB, eager to capitalise on renewed interest in the sport, have arranged for a further 10,000 All Stars places to be available around the country.
This year, 66,000 children attended All Stars sessions; up from 59,000 last year. The aim is that, when each eight-week course ends, the clubs which ran the courses will offer the children involved further playing opportunities in the summer holidays. The ECB have also rolled out an extension of the scheme which caters for 8 to 12-year-olds utilising smaller pitch lengths and smaller team sizes.
The ECB are also aiming to launch a school’s strategy later this year the broad aim of which will be to double the participation numbers of children playing cricket in primary schools.
“It’s crucial that we use the platform created by the World Cup to introduce more young people to the sport and hopefully spark a lifelong passion for the game,” An ECB spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “All Stars Cricket has been very successful in that over the last three years and hopefully the ‘Have a Go’ sessions will get an additional 10,000 kids down to their local club. We now need to make our game as accessible as possible which is why a major part of our strategic plan is to double participation in primary schools by 2024.”
Cricket World Cup organisers claim the tournament is the third “most-watched global sporting event” – in terms of broadcast figures – after the football World Cup and the Olympics, with more than four million ticket applications made and 888,000 tickets sold. 100,000 of those were under 16. Around 43 percent of ticket buyers described themselves as England supporters, while 32 percent said they supported India, 10 percent Pakistan and six percent Bangladesh. Around 80 percent of ticket buyers lived in the UK.
For details of which clubs are offering the sessions and when visit: allstarscricket.co.uk