CHANGES to junior formats of cricket will ensure more kids stay in the game according to Mallee Murray regional cricket manager Tom Huf.
Following its nationwide pilot last season, the 10-13 year old age groups will play under newly tailored rules in order to increase enjoyment and participation.
Some of the adaptations include shorter pitches to cut down on wides and no balls and smaller boundaries. Additionally, every Under-11 and Under-13 player is guaranteed a bowl and a bat.
The changes were tested throughout Australia last season and have been adopted by the Swan Hill District Cricket Association.
“The big thing happening in Swan Hill cricket this season is the adoption of those formats,” Huf said.
“Over the last two and a half a years, a lot of research has been done on how kids develop their skills.
“It was trialled in 15 associations last summer and the Swan Hill District Cricket Association has taken it on board this season.”
The changes will be a shock to cricket purists with a number of the game’s integral aspects manipulated.
Research conducted during the 2016-17 season however found that not only were less no balls and wides being bowled, and more boundaries being hit, but shot placement from batsmen also improved.
Huf says these changes are a way of keeping kids interested in cricket and aiding their development.
“Having seen it last year, it is a bit of a culture shock,” Huf said.
“It’s a massive shift, but there are quality kids that are coming out of Swan Hill already and will be developing quicker and more keen to stay in the game.
“Everywhere we saw it last year, it became pretty clear that it makes for more attractive cricket and it’s just better for the kids.”