Kids taking to Cricket Blitz
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.
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.