The ECB and ICC announced this week their strategic plan to use the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to boost cricket participation and help drive the long-term growth of the game in England and Wales.

It will use the iconic global sporting event - the biggest prize in world cricket - to inspire and engage 1 million young people, aged between 5 and 12, in the next year.

A core pillar of this plan is the Cricket World Cup Schools Programme which launched on Tuesday (25 September) and will aim to engage over 700,000 school children across England and Wales in conjunction with Chance to Shine.

The launch event was held at Lord’s Cricket Ground - host venue for the ICC Cricket World Cup Final on 14 July 2019 – where current England players David Willey and Heather Knight joined former cricketers Isa Guha and Graeme Swann along with local school children from St. Edwards Primary School.

Together, they took part in a classroom session, using cricket as an educational tool; one key element of the World Cup Schools Programme where teachers can sign up to an online portal full lesson ideas that take cricket into the classroom [here].

The strategy builds on the wider ECB framework of Cricket Unleashed and supporting the South Asian Action Plan launched earlier this year, the strategy has four key aims to drive growth throughout the game:

1. Creating stronger, diverse, family-friendly clubs: A World Cup Small Grants Scheme will see £1,000 grants made available for 3,000 recreational cricket clubs and 3,000 clubs will throw open their doors for special Cricket World Cup events

2. Expanding the reach, relevance and scale of cricket within 8,000 Primary Schools: A World Cup Schools Programme - developed in conjunction with Chance to Shine – to bring cricket to the playground and classroom. It will engage up to 15,000 teachers through the Cricket World Cup teachers’ portal and offer World Cup Kwik Cricket competitions in schools.

3. Expanding the accessibility of All Stars Cricket: The ECB’s flagship entry-level scheme for 5-8-year-olds will benefit from a ICC Cricket World Cup take-over to further extend the reach of the programme. This will be coupled with a commitment to drive the growth of All Stars Cricket in inner-city areas in conjunction with the South Asian Action Plan.

4. Attract New Fans: Engaging families in cricket through the ICC Cricket World Cup by tailored marketing, in-stadium experiences and out-of-venue activities

ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison said:

“Having the ICC Cricket World Cup played here in England and Wales gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We must turn the excitement of a World Cup on home soil into a guaranteed route to draw more players and volunteers to recreational cricket. Cricket can inspire its next generation of fans and players by taking the tournament into clubs, playgrounds and classrooms across England and Wales and we will be working hard together to make the most of this moment.”

ICC Managing Director ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Steve Elworthy, added:

“The ICC Cricket World Cup arrives back to England and Wales for the first time in 20 years and now is the time to seize this priceless opportunity and use the tournament as a platform for growth to create a new generation of fans and players. Through our dedicated Schools Programme, we are excited to take cricket into the classrooms across England and Wales as well as giving young people the unique chance to be part of sporting history. I know how important education through sport can be and we want to encourage as many schools as possible to be part of the programme and provide this unique opportunity to their pupils.”

Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch MP said:

“Cricket World Cup 2019 will be the biggest cricket tournament to date; showcasing the best of England and Wales on the global stage. By attracting thousands of visitors to our shores and inspiring the next generation of cricket superstars to pick up a bat and ball, I am confident we will have a cricket legacy for the nation to be proud of.”

Graeme Swann, Ambassador for the Cricket World Cup 2019 Schools Programme, said:

“I am delighted to be part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Schools Programme and play a part in inspiring a new generation of fans and players through this great tournament.

Hosting a World Cup here in England and Wales presents a unique opportunity to use the impact of the tournament to grow the game at grass root level and give schools the opportunity to be part of the special atmosphere a World Cup brings.

I played in the 2011 World Cup and it is the biggest stage in cricket with the world’s eyes on you - and now as a fan I find myself excited by what the Cricket World Cup promises deliver for the sport next year.”