According the National Cricket Census data a total of 3,078 all-ability participants were involved in the sport in 2016-17, a growth of 26 per cent year-on-year. The increase was seen across the country, with a 33 per cent growth over the past 12 months to reach a total of 23,172 participants nationwide.
The record number of cricketers with disabilities was made possible with the WACA continuing to implement more accessible pathways like the Integrated Cricket League (ICL), an initiative that helped players with a disability engage in the club environment alongside players without a disability.
WACA Multicultural & Disability Program Coordinator, Brad Denham said “the clubs have loved being part of the Integrated Cricket League. They’ve embraced the opportunity to do something really positive for the community and have benefited from it as well. Some clubs have found the ICL players are the ones that hang around the rooms longest after trainings and games, helping create a better culture.”
National and International success for WA has encouraged high performance pathways for all-ability players. During 2016-17 West Australia’s deaf team and combined WA/SA blind team won their divisions at the inaugural National Cricket Inclusion Carnival (NCIC). While the Intellectual Disability competition saw four WA players being selected in the Australian ID Squad and two (Boyd Duffield and Anthony Kalimeris) making the final cut to tour England.
“The ICL and NCIC have created great pathway opportunities for senior cricketers who want to improve and progress, with opportunities to represent WA and Australia and get access to high quality coaches and environments. The WACA and Cricket Australia are investing more and more in this area so it will just keep improving,” Mr Denham said.
“However, the most important part of this pathway is getting in and learning the skills at the junior level. The MILO In2Cricket and MILO T20 Blast programs are designed to increase skills in a fun, inclusive environment. Junior clubs all over the state run these programs and it’s easy to sign up online.”
This week the WACA launched PlayCricket registration awareness drive, visiting up to 200 schools to encourage all kids to give cricket a go.
Please see playcricket.com.au for more information.