More cricket in more multicultural communities. That’s Australian Cricket’s vision, expressed by Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland.
“Our goal is to be Australia’s favourite sport and to achieve this we must be a sport for all Australians,” Mr Sutherland said.
In the likes Lisa Sthalaker (Indian descent), Gurinder Sandhu (Indian), Usman Khawaja (Pakistani), Clive Rose (Pakistani) and Ashton Agar (Sri Lankan), Australia’s South Asian communities have a growing presence at the top of Australian Cricket.
However, it’s the community level that Mr Sutherland says is vital to Australian Cricket’s vision to make sure all Australians, in particular those from South Asian communities, have the chance to enjoy cricket.
Reaching these communities will take a specialised approach. For this, the National Community Engagement Framework has been created.
The Framework is a customised resource for catering for Australia’s multicultural communities. It is an acknowledgement of – and response to – their needs.
“Whether you are a girl or boy, man or woman, a player, umpire, volunteer, or administrator, our new Framework is designed to provide the same opportunities to be involved in cricket for all Australians,” Mr Sutherland said.
There are currently 1.1 million Australians playing cricket, and counting. Firmly in Mr Sutherland and Australian Cricket’s minds are multicultural communities.
Australian cricket’s vision is for people from these communities, in particular those from South Asia, to form 37 per cent of all participants by 2018. The number currently sits at 24 per cent.
This is a significant aspiration but, according to Mr Sutherland, it will bring cricket into line with the reality of the Australian population.
“We recognise that Australian society continues to evolve and become more diverse. It is Australian Cricket’s task to adapt to our ever-changing society to continue to provide all Australians with the opportunity to get involved in cricket,” Mr Sutherland said.
The likes of Sandhu, Khawaja and Agar at the top are an important public display of cricket’s growing diversity but it is clear that getting more kids playing at the grassroots is vital.
The immediate response is dedicated junior multicultural participation programs MILO in2CRICKET, for kids aged 5-8, and MILO T20 BLAST, for those aged 8-12.
Designed to introduce kids to the game and then give them the exciting experience of Twenty20, the programs are part of the push to get more Australians from multicultural communities playing cricket.
Throughout the summer, free come and try days are running in communities across Australia. To
find out more, visit www.playcricket.com.au.