First introduced in 2017, Cage Cricket has returned to Sri Lanka with its Head of London and Princes Trust Team Leader Sheromie Brewster, who conducted a handful of sessions recently with the young members of SCC Academy in Horana which has now become a Cage Cricket Hub in Sri Lanka.
“We had a good session at the SCC Academy in Horana where young cricketers really enjoyed playing Cage Cricket as it helps them to improve their batting, bowling, fielding and even umpiring, and they are looking forward to playing more. The coaches also played Cage Cricket with support of young cricketers and they can see the benefits of cage cricket to enhance the young cricketers’ skills and techniques,” Brewster told Daily Mirror.
This is the fourth year that Brewster has delivered Cage Cricket sessions in Sri Lanka – further strengthening a link that was first established when Hampshire County Cricket Club Members gifted Cage Cricket equipment to a touring junior Sri Lankan side.
The touring side had been funded by Cage Cricket ambassador Sir Ian Botham who has close links to the Sri Lanka, having completed charity walks across the Island in aid of victims of the Tsunami and civil war.
It was a year that saw Cage Cricket form its first formal partnership with a Test playing Nation: delivering programmes alongside Cricket Ireland in Galway, Mayo and Dublin. The sessions, which engaged refugees and cricket-loving immigrant communities alongside a local population more used to playing Gaelic games such as hurling, were a huge success and more Cage Cricket is being planned for 2020 throughout the Island of Ireland including Belfast, North of the border.
Cage Cricket has also continued to grow its award-winning work within hard to reach and challenged communities, seeing great results in particular from their work with older adults and people living with dementia and other vascular diseases. Cage Cricket is genuinely open to all and participation numbers and advocates for the game are, growing year on year. With the release of the Cage Cricket Participation App in 2020 this will only increase and give everyone, wherever they are in the World and whatever their circumstances, the opportunity to participate in the game and become part of the Cage Cricket family.
This exciting, vibrant version of the game that is cost effective to deliver and simple to learn, Cage Cricket has gained the backing of many high profile athletes and celebrities including James Bond actor Colin Salmon (who is the chair of Cage Cricket Play CIC) and cricket legends Shane Warne and Sir Ian Botham. All have been strong advocates of the need to develop more opportunities for young people to experience the benefit of playing cricket and see Cage Cricket as the perfect entry point.
Sir Ian has been clear in his praise for the format of the sport, having previously stated, “The great thing about Cage Cricket is that it only has thirteen rules. It can be learnt quickly and be played almost anywhere that there’s a confined space. We even once played a game with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when he was London Mayor, in his office and used an orange as a ball,’’ adding, ‘’With schools selling off playing fields, an ever-growing obesity problem and shrinking participation in the parent game, I think now is the time to get behind this innovative project to get more young people playing the game we love.”
Salmon has been similarly effusive in his praise for cage cricket, having been quoted as saying, “Cricket is an example of the long game and the skill sets required to navigate your team’s innings are a skill set for life. We stand alone together in the field yet need to build partnerships to achieve a total, to sense each other’s needs and exercise a sound understanding of fair play. Cage Cricket empowers us all to enjoy the spirit of this wonderful game and develop these skills which we can then carry into everyday life. It is indeed, the ‘beautiful game’”