Kids tak­ing to Cricket Blitz

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

When you ask Cal­lum Jones what he loves about cricket the an­swer is sim­ple: ‘‘Smash­ing sixes’’.

The 10-year-old Pt Che­va­lier School stu­dent is look­ing for­ward to do­ing ex­actly that in Auck­land Cricket’s new­est form of the game, Cricket Blitz.

The eight-a-side game has sim­ple rules and min­i­mal equip­ment that can be played af­ter school in just 90 min­utes.

Auck­land Cricket has set up lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions all over the city with schools tak­ing on other schools from their area on a weekly ba­sis.

Close to 160 schools have reg­is­tered for the mod­i­fied ver­sion of the game as sup­port for cricket reaches fever pitch with the Cricket World Cup start­ing to­mor­row.

Pt Che­va­lier School sports co-or­di­na­tor Lynn Kilpatrick says the Blitz ver­sion of the game makes it more ac­ces­si­ble.

‘‘I think its re­ally ex­cit­ing, a shorter quicker game opens it up to a lot more chil­dren es­pe­cially for those that can’t play the tra­di­tional game on Satur­day,’’ she says.

‘‘Kids like Cal­lum, who have the skills, can play along­side peo­ple who are new to the game and help them out.’’

Cricket Blitz has been ex­tremely popular at Pt Che­va­lier School with more than 80 kids show­ing in­ter­est re­sult­ing in the school hav­ing to host tri­als.

‘‘The com­pe­ti­tion’s fu­ture has a great scope and it’s get­ting more kids in­volved in cricket from an ear­lier age,’’ Kilpatrick says.

Cal­lum, who plays his club cricket for Grafton United, has played the game for three years now and prefers to chase tar­gets down rather than set them.

‘‘I like to know how much runs I need to get,’’ he says. ‘‘Slow and steady wins the race.’’

Black Caps open­ing bats­man Martin Gup­till is sold on the idea and thinks it is a great way to en­cour­age young kids to play school cricket.

‘‘It’s some­thing dif­fer­ent and pro­vides kids who might not have given cricket a go or who’ve given it away, an easy way of get­ting out there and hav­ing a hit.

‘‘Th­ese kinds of ideas are what we need to make sure that we have that next gen­er­a­tion of cricket lovers and sup­port­ers com­ing through.’’

Cricket Blitz will have age groups from year 5 to 13 and rules have been tweaked to make sure ev­ery­one gets a go.

The games con­sist of 16 overs per innings with play­ers bat­ting in pairs for four overs then swap­ping re­gard­less if one of them gets out. All play­ers bowl a min­i­mum of two overs, there are no lbws and the bat­ting side loses three runs for each wicket taken.

Auck­land Cricket Club devel­op­ment manager Adrian Dale feels that Cricket Blitz is com­ing at the right time to pro­vide an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive to get kids play­ing cricket.

Photo: BEN ROGERS

Big hit­ter:

Cal­lum Jones, 10, loves noth­ing more than send­ing the ball over the bound­ary.

Go on­line to auck­landcity har­bournews.co.nz to watch a video on the rules of Cricket Blitz.

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