The way junior cricket is played in Australia is set to change with format revisions designed to increase fun, action and skill development for young players Cricket Australia, and State and Territory Associations, announced today.

Following Cricket in Australia being one of the most popular and highest participation sports with a record 1,311,184 participating around the nation last year, achieving a 16% growth in junior participation, the sport wants to ensure every child in Australia has an opportunity to access and enjoy the game.

Shorter pitches, shorter boundaries, fewer fielders, a longer transition to full size hard cricket balls, and the option of playing Twenty20 are amongst the changes to allow juniors to better develop their skills and become more involved in each game. For more information on the format revisions or to watch the video visit community.cricket.com.au/junior-formats.

Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones strongly supports the changes.

“These new junior formats are one of the most significant and exciting changes for cricket in decades,” Mr Jones said.

“The implementation of these age-specific formats will increase skill development, involvement and interest across all junior players helping to further grow the sport for boys and girls alike. Games will be short, action-packed and full of fun, which is great for kids and parents. As a parent of junior cricketers myself I am excited by the new formats my kids will be playing this coming season and in the years ahead.”

Four NSW cricket associations have been chosen to pilot the new format during the 2016/17 season: Newcastle Junior Cricket Association, Singleton District Junior Cricket Association, Cricket Albury Wodonga and the South Eastern Junior Cricket Association in Sydney.

The revisions follow community consultation, including feedback received at The Australian Cricket Pathway Roadshows, and independent research.

The changes resulted in more balls in play, more runs, increased fielder activity and increased scoring on the off side – all in a shorter timeframes. They include changes to:

  • Pitch length
  • Boundary size
  • Number of players on a team and,
  • Appropriately sized equipment (bat and ball) for the kids.

These changes resulted in the junior game more closely replicating what the kids and parents see their heroes playing on TV.

Former Australian and NSW Breakers Captain, Belinda Clark, is part of a group of cricket staff across the country rolling out the changes, and is excited about the developments.

“We are increasingly optimistic that making these improvements to junior formats will allow kids to better develop their skills, experience more success, build greater confidence and be more involved in each game,” Ms Clark said. “These changes will mean more kids starting to play cricket and more kids staying in the game for longer.”

The modifications to junior formats are part of a two-year project to revamp and align the Australian Cricket Pathway, introducing modern practices in skill development and coaching. The project aims to provide a clear and exciting pathway for all Australian kids interested in taking up the sport.

“The 2016-17 season is the start of the process to implement the revised junior formats with community cricket associations and clubs, with the aim of delivering appropriate and consistent junior formats nationally over a four-year period,” Ms Clark continued.

“Experts from the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (Victoria University) and the Queensland University of Technology, have examined equipment modification, skill development and player participation to improve the cricket experience and retention at grassroots level.

Former Australian Captain and Cricket Australia National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said the modifications will enhance the experience and skills for this large section of participants.

“I am confident that these changes are the most important Australian Cricket will make to junior participation. They will help develop a generation of Australian kids who have basic cricket skills and allow them to really enjoy cricket, setting them up for a lifetime love of our great game,” Mr Chappell said.

The junior format revisions coincide with the 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 or to find your local club.

A summary of the key revisions are:

Milo In2Cricket

Milo T20 Blast

U10/11

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16+

TIME (mins)

60 mins

60-90

120

120 or 180

120 or 240

180 or 360

OVERS PER TEAM

Skills based program

12-16

20

2 Options:

20 and 30

2 Options:

20 and 40

2 Options:

20 and 50

PITCH LENGTH

14m

15m

16m

17m

17.7m

(use creases)

20.1m

20.1m

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

6-8

7

9

9

9

9

11

BOUNDARY

30m

30-35m

35-40m

40-45m

50-60m

BALL SIZE

Soft

Modified

142g

142g

156g (male)

142g (female)