Grass-roots cricket ‘will grow and grow’

Team captain Iqbal Miah is bowled over by the rise in the number of eager cricketeers Photo: Laurie Whitwell

Team captain Iqbal Miah is bowled over by the surge in eager cricketeers Photo: Laurie Whitwell

Cricket participation has risen by a double-digit figure for the third consecutive year, statistics released last week by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) show.

An annual study of ECB focus clubs revealed that overall participation has risen by 15 per cent. This increase comes on the back of a 24 per cent rise in 2008 and a 27 per cent rise in 2007.

And the captain of a Tower Hamlets cricket team knows the reason why.

“Ever since the Ashes [in 2005] there’s been a huge interest,” Iqbal Miah, team captain of East London Community Cricket Club said. “Regaining the Ashes this summer has maintained that and the Twenty20 matches have helped as well.”

Young interest

Mr Miah’s team compete in the Victoria Park League every summer and he has seen first hand the dramatic rise in the amount of children coming to play at the east London green space.

He said: “Every year there’s so many youngsters coming along to play cricket. Every weekend if you come during the summer there’s always children here.”

“On a Thursday in the evenings this space is just for youngsters and as an adult you can’t actually play, so that’s how much interest there is.”

Looking forward

Mr Miah said that the new money being invested into the sport should be pumped back in to grass roots cricket and thought the venue for his team’s 16-over competition should benefit.

“With the Ashes going back to terrestrial TV there’s a lot of money coming in so it’s only fair there’s more money coming into Victoria Park,” Mr Miah said.

“It’s a huge park and in terms of the sporting activities here I think there could be a lot more done.”

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