Learning is aim of game

December 05, 2017

Cricket Shepparton juniors are reaping the benefit of Cricket Australia's new junior program.

Cricket Shepparton’s junior players are thriving under new rules that allow them to stay at the crease after being dismissed.

Instead each batter faces 17 balls regardless of how many times they get out, among a swag of other rule changes Cricket Australia has brought in.

The new regulations were trialled in select associations across the country last season leading to their implementation.

Cricket Shepparton junior co-ordinator Steve Dalitz said the reception had been encouraging.

‘‘I’ve only had positive feedback from it, not much negative apart from a few parents that are a bit old-school and aren’t used to change,’’ he said.

‘‘In general, the kids seem to like it and a lot of the parents of non-cricket families love it.’’

Cricket Shepparton’s under-10, under-12 B-grade and under-12 girls all follow the new seven-a-side format.

But despite not being sent from the crease after being given out, a batter still has reason to treasure their wicket.

Instead a batter’s dismissal results in four runs being added to the total of the bowling team.

Less fielders mean there are increased gaps for batsmen to find, with boundaries also brought in to a distance of 30m to 35m.

The game seemingly has become a batter’s paradise, but Dalitz said that was not the case.

‘‘It looks like that from the outside, but a lot more wickets have fallen because the bowlers are bowling off a shorter pitch, so they don’t have to loop the ball down while the batter sits there and waits for it,’’ he said.

‘‘Now the ball is sort of on more of a projectile like an adult bowling so there are actually a lot more wickets falling.’’

With only seven players in each side, Dalitz said it had helped some clubs form a side, while others could enter two.

Cricket Australia’s motivation behind the change was to increase participation as well as help young players learn skills quickly and Dalitz said that had certainly been the case in Shepparton

‘‘I think it sits well with some of the non-cricket families and for the less talented kids because you don’t learn much if you go out early and sit there on the sidelines dong nothing ... so they’re getting to face 17 balls, but they can’t not try because the opposition is scoring if they get out,’’ he said.

‘‘Just for juniors it’s getting everybody involved, most of the time in junior cricket there are about four or five really good kids (who spend extended time batting) and then other kids only get the ball thrown to them for one or two overs, so it’s a lot fairer.’’

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