For the second season in a row NSW/ACT has led Australia with the most cricketers as participation continues to rise sharply.

During 2015/16 there were 393,082 participants of all ages who took part across the state, a rise of almost 11 percent on the previous season.

This was a major part of the 1.3 million participants across Australia, which continues to make cricket the most popular sport in the country.

The number of people playing cricket in NSW has more than doubled from just six years ago.

There continues to be strong growth with women and girls, who now make up almost a quarter of all participants. This includes the blossoming Thunder and Sixers Girls Cricket Leagues, which have risen from 38 to 77 teams in just their second seasons.

Entry Level Programs, including Club and School MILO In2Cricket and MILO T20Blast programs, accounted for a significant part of the overall increase.

WATCH: NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres Congratulates Cricket NSW

The release of the 2015-16 Australian Cricket Census coincides with National PlayCricket Registration Drive, Australian Cricket’s national participation campaign that calls on Australians to sign up to play cricket in 2016. Visit www.playcricket.com.au for more information.

NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said the massive popularity of cricket is continuing to unite communities across NSW and the ACT bringing huge social, health, educational and cultural benefits to society.

“Doubling participation in six years is also testament to the work of umpires, coaches and administrators and it’s especially encouraging to see the massive growth in female participation.

“When NSW is strong our national teams are strong and it's teams like the Sydney Thunder Sydney and Sydney Thunder that inspire young people to reach the highest levels of their sport.”

Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones said: “Given the unrivalled success NSW has enjoyed on the field for 161 years it is fitting that NSW/ACT has the most participants as well.

“The diversity of all those playing across all levels highlights that cricket truly is a sport for all, with a record number of men and women, boys and girls, enjoying Australia’s national sport.”

General Manager – Game Development Ivan Spyrdz said: “The continued rise of the BBL, coupled with the introduction of the WBBL last season, has inspired a new generation of cricket fans to pick up their bats and balls.”

“By winning both the inaugural WBBL and the BBL05 Championship, the emergence of the Thunder as a sporting powerhouse has certainly ignited cricket across our Thunder region of western Sydney, southern NSW and the ACT.

“Cricket’s unique offering of various formats of the game means that there is genuinely something for everyone. However there is no doubt the time-friendly short form of the game is where we are seeing major growth.

“The most pleasing aspect of our growth is that it comes from all sectors - Associations and Club, Schools and Indoor Cricket. It’s a sign cricket is very healthy and getting stronger.”

“With the new cricket season about to start, I would encourage everyone interested in joining in the growing numbers of cricketers around NSW to go to playcricket.com.au and find a club that suits you.”