The 2009/10 cricket season is upon us – and now is a great time to look ahead to the summer with anticipation but also to reflect on the achievements of the past year.
Reflecting on our success
Record participation numbers – more than 104,000 people played organised cricket in New Zealand over the year. This reflects the outstanding success of the New Zealand Cricket Development programme and outstanding implementation by development staff at the grassroots.
Increasing public interest – interest in the game is at an all-time high. The past year saw attendances at international matches well ahead of target and television viewer numbers, through our host broadcast partner SKY, at record levels.
Successful on-field performances – the BLACKCAPS recently returned from finishing runners-up at the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, the second best result for the New Zealand Men’s team at an ICC tournament. There were other notable team and individual performances over the year, but probably the single most meritorious was Daniel Vettori achieving the incredible milestone of 3,000 test runs and 300 test wickets – previously achieved by only seven other cricketers in cricket history. The White Ferns had a very successful year, making the finals of two ICC World Events, finishing runners-up to England in both the ICC Women’s World Cup and World Twenty20 event.
At the grassroots of the sport, access to gaming trust funding is becoming increasingly difficult. It is welcomed, however, that the government is suggesting with recent communication that sporting groups are not required to be registered as charities in order to receive gaming trust funding.
New Zealand Cricket is also extremely mindful of the difficulties faced at the grassroots of the sport and is currently reviewing the amount of funding that is allocated to the amateur parts of our game. A comprehensive review is ongoing to analyse this thorny issue and we are absolutely committed to supporting the grassroots of the game to the maximum possible extent – it is the cornerstone of our sport.
2009/10 Summer or Cricket
The 2009/10 summer is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever in the history of New Zealand Cricket.
The international season will start with a test series against Pakistan prior to Christmas, and then resume in February 2010 with the National Bank series, first against Bangladesh then followed by the marquee event, a full series against the world-champion Australians. In the middle of this, New Zealand will be hosting the ICC Under-19 World Cup in January 2010, with games being played in Christchurch, Queenstown, Napier and Palmerston North.
There is also an expanded men’s first-class competition, with double rounds of the Plunket Shield (making its return to cricket for the first time in over 30 years) and the domestic HRV Cup Twenty20.
The men’s 1-day competition, women’s 1-day and Twenty20 competitions and age-group tournaments are also taking place over the summer. We certainly will not be short of high quality cricket!
The state of the game
Already the signs are positive in terms of participation numbers for the new season with many regions reporting healthy increases over last year’s numbers. This is an incredibly encouraging indicator of the health of our sport at club and school level.
The game of cricket has many challenges: internationally in terms of international scheduling and context, as well as the emergence of club-based leagues; and domestically in terms of the long-term financial sustainability of the sport. However, despite these challenges the great game has never been in such good shape in New Zealand, with record participation, public interest and financial performance.
I wish you a very successful and enjoyable summer of cricket.
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