There is no doubting the sound of Summer in Australia involves a large dose of cricket. From watching your favourite teams play on the big screen, to joining a local club or smashing a six in backyard cricket, cricket is a popular pastime of many.
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Children can begin playing cricket from as young as five years old, with the game open to both boys and girls. Boasting many physical benefits there are also many other proven advantages to playing a team sport, and if cricket is a sport you would like your child to join, then we have rounded up all the information you need to get started.
What is Cricket?
Cricket is a non-contact sport involving two teams competing against each other, with both teams taking a turn at batting and fielding/bowling. In Australia, cricket is a popular summer sport to both watch and participate in, though there are other forms of cricket which can be played year-round, including indoor cricket.
Understanding the rules of any sport can be complicated, especially if you haven’t had much exposure to the sport. As you progress through the grades in cricket the rules will become more complicated and more greatly enforced, but for beginners, the basic rules could be described as:
- Two teams are competing against each other, usually consisting of 11 players per team (smaller numbers in Junior cricket)
- The batting team will have two batters on the field, standing at either end of the pitch, with one batter facing the ball and attempting to hit it with their cricket bat.
- The fielding team will have one person bowling to the batters for one over (six balls) at a time, while the rest of the team are fielders, trying to get the batter out.
- The game aims to score as many runs as possible before all players are out. The team with the most runs scored wins.
Benefits of Playing Cricket
The benefits of participating in any sport are many and varied, and none more so than team sports such as cricket.
Playing cricket at any level increases the physical activity of participants, through training and game-day activity. It also uses other sporting skills such as throwing, catching, running and hitting, all of which help to improve hand-eye coordination.
Cricket, a team sport, also has a tremendous social impact on players. Being a part of a team sport requires all involved to communicate, listen, take instructions and work together to achieve a common goal. And then of course there is the other social aspect – making new friends.
Where to Start
If your child shows curiosity about playing cricket, perhaps the best place to start is in the backyard. Get out a bat and ball and have a hit, or if you are feeling a little more adventurous head to the beach or the local park, but be warned, children will probably ascend on your game from out of nowhere as everyone loves to join in a game of cricket!
Once you have established their interest in playing cricket you can enquire at your primary school for opportunities to try out cricket. If there is nothing on offer at your school then a quick internet search will point you toward your local cricket club. Individual clubs will offer different levels of cricket, so contact them directly to see how your child can sign up. Many clubs have community days or sign-on days so keep an eye out for those on social media.
The Junior cricket season usually starts in October and runs during term times, breaking over the holidays. The second half of the season resumes in January when school returns and continues until March. Most clubs are happy to take new registrations over the Christmas break, so if you little one catches the cricket bug over the holidays, contact your local club to see if they can register.
Like most sports, a registration fee is involved in joining Junior Cricket, which differs slightly from club to club. If you require assistance in paying for these fees. and you meet the eligibility criteria, you may like to apply for a FairPlay voucher. These vouchers are a Queensland Government initiative and are snapped up quickly each year, so be sure to check out cut-off dates and requirements here.
For further information or to search for your local cricket club visit https://play.cricket.com.au/
Once you have joined your chosen cricket club it is time to start playing cricket. In Queensland (and throughout most of Australia) there are specific pathways for cricket as outlined below:
Children new to cricket and between the ages of 5 – 7 are encouraged to join Junior Blasters. This introduction to cricket teaches the basic skills required to play cricket in a fun and engaging atmosphere.
For children with a few cricket skills or older children (7 – 10 years old) wanting to try cricket for the first time, Master Blasters is ideal. A 90-minute game of cricket is played on a shorter pitch (14m) and allows children to experience all aspects of the game in a casual atmosphere. All participants will bowl, bat, wicket keep and field in every game.
Junior Cricket – Stage 1, 2 and 3
After progressing through Junior and Master Blasters, cricketers can join the Junior Cricket ranks. With games starting at 2 hours on a 16m pitch, then time and pitch length steadily increase as children progress through the age groups. There are also subtle differences in rules and the ball’s hardness.
As with any sport, there are opportunities for further development as your child ages and shows advanced skills. Representative teams, Development squads etc will usually be brought to your attention through your cricketing club if your child shows potential.
After growing out of Junior Cricket, usually around the age of 18, Senior Cricket is your next step. More information on this level of cricket can be found here.
Cricket Stores in Brisbane
While most cricket clubs provide equipment for those starting out in the sport, there will eventually come a time when you will need to purchase a ‘kit.’ Requirements will increase as your child progresses through the relevant age-groups but as a guide you will need to purchase a cricket bat, pads, helmet, groin protection, a thigh pad and a cricket bag.
Brisbane and its surrounds have several specialist cricket stores which can assist in fitting your child out with the relevant gear. There are also other general sporting stores selling cricket gear and many online stores where you can purchase equipment. Some popular Brisbane cricket stores include:
Greg Chappell Cricket Centre – Albion
Whack Sports – Albion
Keith Dudgeon Cricket Specialists – The Gap
Cricket Grounds in Brisbane
Heading out to watch professionals play cricket is always fun, especially if it is a short format game like T20 (twenty overs bowled per team). This type of game is fast-paced and usually involves lots of big hits and other fanfare including music, dancers, mascots, fireworks etc. Brisbane is fortunate to have two wonderful facilities where many main cricket games occur.
The Gabba – Woolloongabba
Situated in the Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, the 42,000 seat Gabba stadium showcases a variety of games, hosting local and international teams, including Big Bash, One Day Internationals and Test Matches. The atmosphere buzzing around the stadium on game day is electric, especially when it is a sell-out! Outside the stadium you can watch players warm up in the nets or have fun in the fan-zones, which is often situated outside the main gate. Free public transport with Translink to and from the ground, including shuttle buses from the City, Chermside, Carindale and Eight Mile Plains/Mt Gravatt is a bonus and helps keep costs down when visiting the Gabba with the family.
Allan Border Field – Albion
What Allan Border Field lacks in size it makes up for in intimacy. Attending a cricket game at the 4,000-seat ground, which recently completed a $19 million upgrade, will see you very close to the action. Boasting two historic grandstands and other general admission seating areas dotted around the ground, the traditional white picket fence gives the oval a real ‘cricket feel’. It is the ideal venue to introduce little ones to cricket. Games at AB Field are very reasonably priced and sometimes are free to attend. Perhaps one of the best parts of going to a game at AB Field is the proximity you, as a supporter, can get to the players (you can hear almost every word between players of the ground). After the game, many players stick around and are only too happy to pose for photos and sign autographs on the boundary.
Playing cricket is a fun and social team sport that boys and girls of all ages can enjoy for further information on playing cricket, visit https://play.cricket.com.au/ or contact your local cricket club.