All Stars Cricket: Why Is It Failing?

If the ECB wanted to attract new people to the sport with the All Stars Cricket programme, perhaps it shouldn’t be more expensive than existing juniors cricket coaching or almost literally every other single thing a kid could be doing instead?


For those who might not be aware, the ECB recently launched a new initiative which aims to reverse the decline in youth participation in cricket. Named ‘All Stars Cricket’, the scheme is designed to get 5-8 year old boys and girls to “fun” coaching sessions at their local cricket clubs. The parents pay £40 to the ECB a few weeks before the sessions start, and in return they receive eight hour-long training sessions and a backpack containing a personalised cricket top, a water bottle, a hat, a cricket bat and a ball. The coaching is carefully designed by experts to be help children in their fitness and hand-eye coordination, as well as being entertaining.  In addition, there are videos online featuring current men’s and women’s England players, and suggestions for cricket-based games the parents can play with their children in their back garden.

At the launch a mere 7 weeks ago, the ECB were suggesting that they were targeting approximately 50,000 boys and girls to take part. They had announced a collaboration with MumsNet, an influential parenting website, and promised a marketing campaign to extend All Stars Cricket’s appeal beyond the children of existing cricket fans. 10,000 children who sign up before May 10th will also be randomly selected to meet and play with current England players at various events around the country.

Matt Dwyer, the Director of Participation & Growth at the ECB who is responsible for All Stars Cricket, was on Test Match Special on Sunday talking about it. The thing which immediately jumped out at me during the interview is that he said it’s on course to have around 20,000 children participating this year. This is 40% of the ECB’s own target, which begs the question: Why has it all gone wrong?

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Mythbusting: The Counties Need The Money From A New T20 League

Throughout the reports about the ECB’s planned T20 league, there is the theme that the counties need to do this because of the money. If they don’t receive an extra £23.4m per year from 2020, they are in serious financial trouble, and the only way to get this is to throw away everything they’ve attempted to build and instead create a second-rate T20 competition. This, I believe, is patently false.

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The ECB vs. Me: The T20 Proposals Compared

As new details about the ECB’s proposed T20 league have leaked, I think it’s well worth comparing it to the competition I proposed in my first post. To summarise, my proposal was this:

Instead of playing a franchise T20 league in England in August, play it in Dubai in October.

You can read about the full reasoning in the post here. Now at the time, my idea was basically opposing an amorphous IPL/BBL-style competition. Now there are specifics, I can go through point-by-point why I still think an overseas T20 competition is better for everyone.

Continue reading “The ECB vs. Me: The T20 Proposals Compared”

County Cricket Has “Nil Value” To TV

Last September I was reading an article by George Dobell about the ECB’s plans for a franchise league. It contained a line which annoyed me so much, I’ve been turning it over in my head trying to think of all the ways it is wrong. The offending passage was this:

“The ECB currently ascribe a nil value to county cricket”

Whilst I have no doubt that the ECB consider championship coverage as worthless, I do not believe that accurately reflects reality. When the current TV contract ends in 2019, there are great opportunities for county cricket if they could only see them. I think I’ve come up with a solution that would revolutionise the coverage of county cricket, and massively boost the profile of England’s domestic game.

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The English Franchise T20 League (Updated)

I don’t think it will have escaped anyone’s attention that the ECB are trying to start a franchise T20 league, over the strenuous objections of a large number of current cricket fans. There seems to be no solution to this impasse, both sides are entrenched and it seems like there can be only one winner.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe I have come upon the solution to all of the problems the new tournament faces, leaving all sides happy. And my solution is this:

Instead of playing a franchise T20 league in England in August, play it in Dubai in October. Continue reading “The English Franchise T20 League (Updated)”