The milestone was celebrated at Yorkmead Primary School in Birmingham with ambassadors Jonathan Trott and Danielle Hazell in attendance alongside local schoolchildren who will join the players on the pitch for the national anthems at the hotly anticipated fixture at Edgbaston tomorrow.
The achievement comes as a result of the plan to use the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to connect with children and young people - a key aim of the ECB’s plan to grow the game. To help inspire the next generation to fall in love with cricket, partners and stakeholders across the game have worked on initiatives including Cricket World Cup Club Family Days, the Cricket World Cup Schools Programme and fan zone activations.
In a landmark year for cricket, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has helped bring cricket to thousands of schools across the country through a partnership with the Chance to Shine charity and Kwik Cricket competitions, engaging over 700,000 kids and 12,000 teachers in the sport. Over 12,000 kids have experienced the thrilling spectacle of the Cricket World Cup first-hand thanks to free tickets. There has also been a wide range of opportunities available to kids to engage directly in the game through interactive cricketing activities.
To ensure clubs continue to be diverse and family friendly, ECB has made a multi-million-pound investment directly into clubs through the World Cup Small Grants Scheme. The scheme has helped 3,000 recreational clubs throw open their doors throughout the tournament, giving over 80,000 kids the opportunity to connect with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in the first month of the tournament alone.
ECB will continue to build on the momentum from the tournament and grow the game through a variety of initiatives including its introductory All Stars Cricket programme for five to eight-year olds. 10,000 kids take part in All Stars Cricket taster sessions in clubs after the tournament has finished, with all activity supporting the whole-game strategy, Inspiring Generations.
To accompany this, later this year the ECB will launch a major new schools strategy with the aim of doubling cricket participation in primary schools - bringing cricket to the playgrounds and playing fields of schools across England and Wales. ECB will also invest £20m to transform the women’s and girls’ game, creating a clear pathway from young girls playing All Stars Cricket to the England cricket team.
ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, Managing Director, Steve Elworthy, said: “When we started the planning for the tournament almost four years ago, we set ourselves the ambition to use it to inspire and have a positive impact on the game. Working closely with ECB, Chance to Shine, Lord’s Taverners and a number of other partners, we have been able to provide more than one million children with an experience of the Cricket World Cup, and hopefully play a role in inspiring each of them to fall in love with the game. World Cups are very special events, and it is hugely pleasing to see that ECB and the whole cricket network have taken the opportunity with both hands to grow and diversify the game.”
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “We set ourselves the ambitious target of connecting with one million young people and we are delighted to have met our goal ahead of time. This has only been possible thanks to the hard work of people right across the game. Our five-year strategy, Inspiring Generations, will build on this as we look to continue to grow the game and engage more young people in the sport.”
ECB Director of Participation & Growth, Nick Pryde, added: “It’s crucial to connect with young people and hopefully spark in them a passion for the sport. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has given us a great platform to engage kids in the game. We now need to make playing as accessible as possible which is why a major part of our strategic plan is to double participation in primary schools by 2024.”
Speaking at the celebratory event, Danielle Hazell, said: “You can see how the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup
has gripped the nation whether it’s a five-year old picking up a bat for the first time or an 80-year old who has held a lifelong love of the game. The ECB and the ICC have done a fantastic job of opening up the sport to a new generation of potential superstars and I look forward to watching the development of the next generation over the coming years.”