MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) and ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board) have announced a new joint initiative - 'Play Hard, Play Fair and Stay in the Game' aimed at improving standards of behaviour in junior cricket.
The initiative, which is also supported by PCA (Professional Cricketer's Association), ESCA (English Schools Cricket Association) and the HMC Schools (Headmasters & Headmistresses Conference), has been devised to help educate youngsters about the challenges they may face as players or as captains and promote a wider acceptance and understanding of the ‘Spirit of Cricket'.
Drawn up in close consultation with age-group players, coaches and managers, the project will invite all children participating in under-15 cricket this summer to take part in an online quiz based around ten different cricketing scenarios and include an opportunity to win tickets to an npower Test Match.
It will be accompanied by the implementation of a new code of conduct for junior cricketers which has recently been circulated to all junior clubs and match officials to co-incide with the start of the new season.
MCC’s Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said: "MCC is delighted to be working in partnership with the ECB to deliver this new initiative, which will help to ensure thousands of young people adopt the Spirit of Cricket principles of playing hard and fair.
"MCC Spirit of Cricket represents a central force for good in the game at all levels – from the grassroots to the Test match arena – and has been embraced by the world’s finest players.
"We hope this new initiative helps young cricketers to learn about the benefits of teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship, and encourages them to win and lose magnanimously."
ECB Head of Non-First Class Cricket Paul Bedford said: "As well as learning that cricket is a fun and enjoyable sport, we want all young cricketers in whatever competitive situation they are in to understand that they have a crucial role to play in upholding the game’s historic reputation for fair play.
"There is no place for bad behaviour in cricket and this initiative is designed to help teach the next generation of players about the importance of showing respect to your opponents, match officials, coaches, scorers and spectators."