Alastair Cook helps inspire next generation of cricketers Fresh from leading England's Test team to victory in South Africa, Alastair Cook helped to inspire the next generation of England cricketers yesterday (10 February) at the Gray-Nicolls factory in Robertsbridge, East Sussex.Chance to Shine pupils from Robertsbridge Community College worked with Gray-Nicolls' expert bat makers to prepare the England captains bat. He then returned the favour and crafted a bat for the budding young cricketers.Chance to Shine announced a five-year deal for Gray-Nicolls to be their official kit supplier. The partnership is an opportunity to inspire future generations of cricketers and is part of Chance to Shine's mission to spread the power of cricket.Speaking at the event, Alastair Cook said, "Chance to Shine do a fantastic job getting cricket back into state schools. Cricket has to be available for every single person, every single kid to try. Three million children is an extraordinary number."As we all know, with cricket you need equipment, and why not get involved with the best company around in Gray-Nicolls.Fellow pupil, Ella Hall, said, "It was cool to see how the cricket bats were made and to help make one with Alastair Cook."Richard Gray, sales and marketing director at Gray-Nicolls, said, "The whole Gray-Nicolls team are delighted to have been appointed by Chance to Shine. We have admired their fantastic work since their inception and feel very proud to now be part of their inspirational drive to get more children playing cricket and helping to safeguard the future of cricket; a passion we all share."Luke Swanson, Chance to Shine chief executive added, "Gray-Nicolls is a family company with a unique heritage in cricket stretching back more than 140 years. We can't claim such a tradition, but we do share a deep commitment to inspiring each new generation to play and learn through cricket."It is fitting that England's captain and all-time leading test run-scorer, “and a long-time Chance to Shine ambassador“ should launch this new partnership. The support of such icons of the game gives us great confidence that we can spread the power of cricket to many more young players, schools and communities."While thousands of children will benefit from the new partnership, the first person to do so was Samantha Cameron. Chance to Shine co-founder and President Lord Mervyn King presented her with a custom-made Gray-Nicolls bat at a special event at Number 10 Downing Street on 2 February to celebrate Chance to Shine's three-millionth participant.In 2015, Chance to Shine launched a £25million Second Innings appeal to achieve its new mission of inspiring at least a further one million young people by 2020.The pupils at Robertsbridge Community College play and enjoy cricket thanks to National Lottery funding through Sport England. Since 2012, the ££7.5 million National Lottery investment has helped Secondary School pupils across the country to set up their own satellite cricket clubs. The pupils are at the heart of decision making and shape how their school club is run.