Coaching & PE

Soft balls ‘ruining’ school cricket

The future of English cricket is being jeopardised by the use soft balls according to Tony Baldry, the Conservative MP for North Lincolnshire.

According to Mr Baldry just one in 25 matches now played in state schools involves traditional ‘corkies’ and a lack of decent facilities in PE lessons was preventing children developing talents for the game.

He has now raised concerns in the Commons, claiming the trend was putting the national game was under threat.

“Unless youngsters learn and are able to play cricket with cricket balls, their game simply isn’t going to develop to get them to a decent club standard,” he said.

Cricket balls normally weigh up to 163g in regulation matches and are made of cork in a leather case with a sewn seam.

However, Mr Baldry said only four per cent of matches in schools use conventional balls.

He said the lack of school playing fields where pupils had the space to hit a hard ball was a ” very real concern”.

“If we are going to enhance youngsters coming through secondary schools into club cricket they have to be able to play with cricket balls,” he said.

“They are playing with soft balls. A cricket ball has a seam, so if you are a bowler or a fielder or a batsman you need to know how a cricket ball is going to respond when you play with it.”

However, Wasim Khan, a former professional player and operations director at Chance to Shine, the cricket charity, admitted not every state secondary school had proper cricket facilities, but insisted the type of ball did not matter.

“If you look at India and Pakistan, for example, within schools they play tape ball cricket, which is just a tennis balls wrapped in tape and talent seems to come through there,” he said.

Source: Daily Telegraph

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