Australian cricket could suffer from a “missing generation” of children taking up the game after first-time participation in junior programmes fell by 15,000, last season due to the Covid pandemic. While club players have came back in strong numbers after Covid lockdowns, Cricket annual survey uncovered a worrying decline in children aged 12 and under trying cricket during the 2021-22 Australian summer.
“This has created a challenge to ensure there is not a missing generation and increased participation among 5-to-12 year-olds is a key component of Australian cricket’s soon-to-be released strategy,” the governing body said late Wednesday.
James Allsopp, the heads of Cricket Australia’s community arm, told reporters that cricket was a difficult sport to get into if “you haven’t developed the fundamental movement skills at a young age”.
“And we’ve got some really strong data that shows if you haven’t played cricket and learned the skills of the game before you’re 12, it’s less likely you’ll play cricket as a teenager or into adulthood.
“Some of the things we’re doing, and what we’re building into the strategy, are designed to make sure we can turn this around so we don’t miss a generation of new participants, we just miss a year,” he added.
“That’s the problem we’re determined to solve over the next 12 months.”
Regardless of a decrease in first-timers taking up cricket, total registered participation grew year-on-year by 11 percent to 598,931, albeit this was still 16% below pre-Covid numbers.