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Cricket attracts more than a million participants
With the growing range of programs and opportunities to make the game accessible to players of all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds, cricket has established itself as Australia’s number one participation sport.
Figures from the 2013/14 National Cricket Census, conducted by independent research firm Street Ryan, reveal that more than 1.1 million Australians were involved in playing cricket in some capacity during the previous summer.
That represents a record level of participation for the sport, with the number of people taking part at their local grounds, schools and indoor centres growing by 16% on the previous year’s turn-out and crowning a total increase of 30% over the past four years.
Cricket Australia explains that this equates to growth of more than a quarter of a million additional cricketers throughout Australia since 2010/11, with the breakdown of those who took up bat and ball last summer as follows:
• 537,000 School participants
• 400,000 Club/community participants
• 169,000 Indoor participants
These numbers include a 39% increase in female participation to a total of 247,000 participants (22% of all cricketers nationwide), driven in part by the outstanding performances of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars (pictured below).
The Australian women captured their third consecutive ICC World T20 title at the global tournament in Bangladesh earlier this year, which followed their Ashes tussle against England that drew huge interest.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland also welcomed the survey findings that showed a 30% increase in school participation (driven by programs such as MILO in2CRICKET Skills, MILO T20 Blast School Cups and MILO Active After School Care) and an eight% increase in traditional club cricket.
At a time when increased time demands and diversity of choices have impacted on participation numbers of many sports, the fact that club cricket numbers experienced their biggest single-year percentage growth in more than five years (taking total participation to 337,000) underscored cricket’s appeal Australia-wide.
Sutherland explained “our vision is for cricket to be Australia’s favourite sport and a sport for all Australians.
“To do that, our job is to encourage more people to play the game.
“As simple as that may sound, we know that in this day and age there are plenty of obstacles and many things competing for people’s time.
“That’s why these figures are so pleasing.
“To register a 30% increase in participation over four years demonstrates the game’s growing appeal and the critical role it plays in helping men, women and children lead active and healthy lives.
“To do this at a time when match attendances, television ratings and commercial partnerships are at record levels, demonstrates that our strategy is paying dividends with the foundations of the game incredibly strong.
“We are particularly pleased to see such a dramatic increase in female participation, with girls and women now making up 22% of all cricket participants around the country.
“This growth is reflective of the incredible work of state and territory staff and the ongoing enhancement of national programs which continue to provide kids with safe and enjoyable physical activity.
“It’s also clear that our elite men’s and women’s cricketers are doing an excellent job inspiring the next generation of players across the country.”
Sutherland also welcomed the support that cricket had received from the Australian Sports Commission which has enabled 18 Participation Growth Officers to help deliver grassroots programs such as MILO in2CRICKET and MILO T20 Blast at hundreds of schools and community centres throughout Australia since 2011.
Among the current Australian players to have graduated to international level from MILO in2CRICKET are Test and ODI captain Michael Clarke, Jess Cameron, Mitchell Starc, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry.
The success of cricket’s greater visibility and accessibility are highlighted in the 12th iteration of the Census that showed that almost a quarter of the nation’s club cricketers now come from a multicultural background, 1.6% identify as indigenous and two% as having a disability.
Cricket Australia’s partnership with School Sport Australia, which includes working closely with state and territory school bodies to embed cricket into schools, has also played a significant role in the participation growth with Australian primary and secondary students.
13th November 2013 - CRICKET AUSTRALIA OPENS NEW NATIONAL CRICKET CENTRE IN BRISBANE
30th August 2013 - RECORD NUMBERS PLAYING CRICKET
13th May 2013 - NEW CRICKET CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE CLOSE TO COMPLETION
23rd August 2012 - CRICKET AUSTRALIA APPROVES NEW GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE
11th June 2008 - CRICKET NUMBER ONE TV SPORT
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