Shorter pitches, new 'not-out' rule for junior cricket

CATCH: A Solly-North player gets ready for a catch in a fun moment at practice.
CATCH: A Solly-North player gets ready for a catch in a fun moment at practice.

Shorter pitches, closer boundaries and a “not-out” rule … these are the changes to junior cricket sweeping Port Pirie and Australia.

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland outlined on ABC radio at the weekend how the rules had changed to encourage youngsters to stay with the game.

He said one of the new rules involved younger players being “not out” when they were traditionally “out”.

This was aimed at keeping up enthusiasm for the sport among boys and girls.

Ben Brown, our local South Australian Cricket Association representative, said the changes were logical when one considered that sports such as basketball and football had modified competitions. In basketball, the hoop is lower and in football the fields are smaller and there is no tackling. Brown said that in stage two Under 13 competition in Port Pirie the pitch had been reduced in length by 2.2 metres to 18 metres.

He said the boundary had been brought in to 45 metres.

“It makes the sport a bit more achievable. It is a no-brainer. It has been excellent,” he said.

The shorter pitch allows bowlers to have a flatter trajectory for the ball, also making it easier for the batsman.

“You can play drives rather than the ball bouncing up near your chest all the time,” he said.

Players must retire after facing 35 balls. They can come back in when everyone else has had a bat.

About 40 players are involved in the Under 13 competition which features Solly-North, Wandearah, South-Port and Props.

The Junior Pathway is the foundation of the over-arching Australian program which provides a path from entry level all the way to Australian teams.

The pathway includes a staged approach to help children develop the required skills in a fun and action-packed way.

The stages have been developed based on research, testing and community feedback and take account of physical, mental and emotional development.

A key principle of the pathway is to encourage players to participate at the stage that is appropriate to their ability level.

The suggested age levels can vary among boys and girls based on experience.

Children will have greater scoring opportunities in an action-packed scenario that will take some re-evaluation by spectators and parents, but will in the long run be good for the sport.

PHOTO: Jaxon Phillipps catches the ball watched by, back row, left, coach Bob Pinder, Keeley Pinder, Kahlea Angel, Evie Dennis, South Australian Cricket Association officer Ben Brown, Hamish Webb, Jayden Phillipps, and, front row, Korbon and Kamden Angel, Katie Swanton, Mitchell Court, Kaiden Pinder (hitting the ball) and Billy Pollard.