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ECB to develop alternative forms of cricket to engage ‘new generation’

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A number of variations of the game of cricket are set to be developed as the sport’s governing body attempts to grow participation away from its traditional base.

According to England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national participation manager Dan Musson, the “next five years is going to be a really exciting time for cricket”, with England hosting the Women’s and Men’s World Cups in 2017 and 2019 respectively, as well as the Champions Trophy.

However, he insisted that the sporting offer had to be right to make the most of the events by enticing more players and “inspiring a new generation of kids”.

Talking at Saltex 2016 in Birmingham, he said: “We’re going to try to adapt to modern lifestyle, with people having reduced leisure time.

“They’ll be new forms of the game, more opportunities to play, and more opportunities for people to get bat and ball into their hands,” he added. “But we’ll continue to support the traditional club game and continue to support those volunteers and clubs that really provide the heart and soul of the game.”

Musson’s comments follow the publication of the ECB’s Cricket Unleashed strategy – the organisation’s five-year plan to introduce more people to cricket.

Among the priorities within the document was the ambition to develop five or six-a-side versions of cricket, played on artificial wickets to “engage all players of all ages”. Variations such as Last Man Stands, indoor, tape-ball and beach cricket have been endorsed by the ECB in the hope they gain traction.

Musson also emphasised the importance of engaging more women and girls in the sport. He said that while progress had been made with the hosting of the Women’s World Cup in two years, as well as the launch of the Women’s Superleague, there was still work to do.

“It’s certainly a priority for me in my role at the ECB. I’ve been looking at everything we do in terms of how we can create better, more welcoming environments for women and girl,” Musson said, adding that he was looking at aspects such as changing room design.

Prioritising investment in coaches for women and girl’s cricket – as well as those from ethnic backgrounds and people with disabilities – was a key ambition within Cricket Unleashed.

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A number of variations of the game of cricket are set to be developed as the sport’s governing body attempts to grow participation away from its traditional base.
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The governing body will develop forms such as beach cricket and indoor cricket / oliveromg/Shutterstock.com
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