The Australian Cricket Census has revealed school cricket participation increased by 4.1% to 213,686 in 2012/13, having almost trebled since 2002/03 from 72,448 participants.
A healthy increase in entry level cricket participation of 4.9% is also largely attributed to school support, with the majority (83.1%) of entry level participation programs delivered in schoolyards across Australia.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said the schoolyard is the place where most Australian children share their first experiences with the game of cricket.
“Cricket is the number one participation sport in the country because it’s fun, develops important skills, is safe, easy to learn and people build connections for life. It’s really an integral part of Australian life,” Mr Sutherland said.
“Schools play a crucial role in encouraging children to play sport and in helping reinforce the importance of leading fun, healthy and active lives through to adulthood. Cricket Australia is committed to doing what it can to keep young people healthy and active and supporting schools in their endeavours.
“A significant part of Cricket Australia’s formal strategy is to develop programs and resources to introduce and keep people in the game. The Schools Strategy is a component of this broader strategy.
“It aims to help cricket become an integral part of the school system, not only in the school yard, but by integrating with the curriculum. With the support and involvement of teachers and principals, Cricket Australia seeks to encourage physical education and specifically cricket in schools.
In 2013, Australian Cricket will aim to visit more than 491,500 students across 5,000 schools through the following programs:
•School Ambassador Program
o The School Ambassador program aims to identify and recognise a teacher in each Australian school who is committed to ensuring their students have every opportunity to get involved in cricket.
•MILO in2CRICKET Skills
o A four week introduction to cricket that has a focus on basic skill development that leads to club based MILO in2CRICKET programs.
•MILO T20 Blast School Cup
o A fun, fast paced, modified, cricket format that encapsulates the excitement associated with the KFC T20 Big Bash League. MILO T20 Blast is the initial step to playing real, competitive cricket and has been developed in this school format to ensure junior cricketers can progress with confidence to club cricket competitions and play an appropriate format of cricket that will inspire them to continue as a player and/or a fan.
Cricket Australia this week also unveiled a new online information resource, www.playcricket.com.au, which is designed to encourage participation in cricket at all levels.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or whether you’ve ever picked up a bat or ball, everyone can play cricket. To find out more about how to get your school involved with Australia’s favourite sport visit www.playcricket.com.au