Today’s article is a guest post from Darren Talbot; Professional coach, Managing Director of Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching and founder committee member of the Surrey ECB Coaches Association.
Twenty20 has undoubtedly transformed cricket over the past few years. Its effects can be seen in club cricket too.
A decade ago it would be rare to see batsmen teeing off from the start of their inning and thrashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Back then you would have seen more of an ‘all day game’ approach: Batsmen playing themselves in, pushing the ball into gaps and punishing the bad ball.
Twenty20 cricket has revolutionised the way we play the game at club level.
Yet it continues to amaze me how our junior cricketers don’t relate it to professional Twenty20 cricket matches they see on the television or at their local ground. Boys and girls are playing 20 over cricket from the age of 10 but it’s a different game from the T20 razamatazz.
Why is this?
You could argue that not everyone can watch cricket on television. A large chunk of the population here in England hardly gets to see televised cricket. Certainly in my experience of coaching in primary schools in affluent Surrey, only around 20% of pupils seem to have access to televised cricket at home. This is disappointing.
For me the real problem is even closer to home that what TV channel the cricket is on.
The problem is that we are not branding these 20 over matches as Twenty20 Cricket.
Just the name ‘Twenty20’ itself conjures up amazing images for any cricket fan.
Matthew Hayden smashing sixes with his Mongoose.
Zaheer Khan spearing in yorkers at the death of an innings.
It’s exciting, it’s modern, and it’s putting the stuffy image of cricket to death.
Your keen young cricketers will have seen this. They may have been to a domestic or International Twenty20 match. It could have fired their imagination and passion to play.
How many of those same youngsters associate that form of the game with their Sunday morning matches of the same length?
How to make junior cricket more exciting
So what do we do to link the games together?
What about coloured balls? Why not?
That’s what they use in the professional game. It’s what they use in senior club Twenty20 tournaments. Why not youth cricket? We’re trying to enthuse young players to play the game and improve and we’re turning up to our matches with a cheap red cricket ball when we could be there with a pink or orange ball. Much more exciting!
And yes I’m going to go there: Coloured clothing!
You purists might be spitting your beverage but this is what limited overs cricket is now. Let’s embrace it. It’s not going to change back.
How many of our youngsters wear their favourite team’s football shirt proudly throughout the year?
How many now turn up at cricket training with their local teams one day shirt on?
Around here it’s the Surrey Lions. Maybe where you are it’s the Rajasthan Royals or Bushrangers. It doesn’t really matter; the point is that it inspires pride and makes the game exciting.
Let’s start to move with the times and make cricket come alive for the next generation of club cricketers.
Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching works across the UK in more than 150 clubs and schools. If you want to know more about how to take the pain out of planning and running a colts section then enrol on the Club Colts Training Programme online course now.