When Alastair Cook Loses Out To AJ Styles, It’s Time To Act To Save Cricket

Glamorgan have always relied on a steady flow of home-grown talent, especially during their successful periods. But where are the next generation of Welsh cricketers going to come from? Richard Thomas gives a clue.

The patter of tiny feet will be heard at cricket clubs across Wales over the next couple of weeks as the ECB gives birth to its latest initiative to encourage young children into the game.

All Stars Cricket is being rolled out throughout the UK to give five to eight-year-olds – boys and girls – their first taste of cricket.

Thanks to the work done by Mark Frost, the community and development manager for Cricket Wales, and his area cricket managers, Wales has attracted large numbers of young budding Robert Crofts and Simon Joneses to sign up.

The initiative came about after a survey of the younger generation suggested that cricket was fast slipping off the radar and was disappearing into a sporting Bermuda Triangle. In fact, the report that came back to the ECB revealed that only two per cent of children aged seven to 12 rated cricket as their favourite sport.

Even more damning was that more children recognised a photo of WWE wrestling stars such as world champion AJ Styles and Sasha Banks over the then England Test skipper Alastair Cook.

It was obvious cricket was about to suffer a two falls or a submission defeat unless it dusted off its whites and dragged itself off the canvass.

So, from the fear of obscurity came the decision to launch All Stars Cricket was made. It is based on the Milo Cricket scheme which was pioneered in Australia and has attracted millions of kids to pick up a bat and ball over the past 25 years.

For £40 per child your kid will be given an eight-week programme at his or her local club and will receive a rucksack full of kit and clubs.

Clubs from Ammanford to Ynysygerwn and from Bangor to Usk clubs across Wales will be ready to welcome thousands of young Welsh girls and boys over their threshold over the next few weeks.

And at Swansea last Sunday there were some young kids in All Stars Cricket kit playing on the outfield while Glamorgan and Kent went head-to-head in a remarkable Royal London One-day Cup game which produced nearly 700 runs in 90-odd overs including 35 sixes.

Glamorgan may yet miss out on the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth but at least they went out fighting.

When they scored 356 for seven from their 50 overs, thanks to Colin Ingram (114) and Will Bragg (94), Glamorgan probably thought that they were all but home and hosed but Kent were ready to chase down the 7.14 runs an over target.

Darren Stevens, at 41, is not one for meek surrenders as the Kent batsman clubbed 147 from 67 balls with 14 sixes. It was ultimately in vain but he proved that cricket is a game for all ages and it was certainly was an all-star performance to savour.


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