A new era for junior cricket

By Daniel Lane

JUNIOR cricketers in the Hurricanes Junior League should feel more comfortable bowling – and hitting sixes – this summer thanks to some significant changes to the game that cater for the physical capabilities of children.

Following last summer’s nationwide pilot, which was hailed a success by the 171 clubs that trialled it, Australian cricket’s junior formats has been specifically tailored for boys and girls aged from 10-13-years.

Introduced by Australian Cricket – a collaboration of Cricket Australia and its state and territories – the changes have included shortening the length of the pitch and boundaries, as well as reducing the number of fielders.

They have been implemented to address the unrealistic expectations that were placed on children to play under adult regulations – including bowling on full-sized pitches and trying to hit fours or sixes past massive boundaries.

Following the pilot program, the Hurricanes Junior League is just one of the junior cricket associations around Australia that will roll out the new formats over the next three-years.

Cricket Tasmania (south) regional cricket manager Paul Collins said he was impressed by what he witnessed during the pilot program.

“The junior formats increased the success levels of all players,” he said.

“There were more runs scored and more wickets and catches taken, meaning more fun and engagement.

“It was well received by a lot of people and I had a coach say they couldn’t believe the junior formats weren’t put in place ages ago.

“A mother also told me that her son’s ability to hit more fours in a game meant the car rides home were full of happiness.”

Cricket ACT chief executive Cameron French, who is overseeing the roll out of the new junior formats for Cricket Australia, said the changes would allow players the opportunity to develop a greater skill set.

“Developed, tested and trialled over the past three seasons, the formats have been created so there are more balls in play,” he said.

“Wides are no longer the top-scorer in junior cricket and there is more action, more runs, more wickets and a lot more fun.

“Another advantage is the formats have significantly reduced a game to two to three-hours, which makes the sport even more appealing for families in a time poor society.”

For more information about the new junior formation, visit http://community.cricket.com.au/clubs/junior-formats.

Caption:  The junior girl’s competition in Hobart. Photo credit: Cricket Tasmania.