Bruce on the Boundary – Slam can bring people back to cricket

Posted On 29 Aug 2019 at 7:32 pm

Luke Wright has praised Sussex’s initiative in setting up as new midweek T20 tournament which aims to get more people playing cricket.

The Sussex Slam will start next summer and is designed for players who struggle to commit to longer games at the weekend but still wants to play the game they love in an organised competition. Team entry is just £25.

Innovative playing regulations mean matches take no longer than two and a half hours so they can easily be fitted in after work on summer evenings.

Player eligibility rules, bowler over-limits and not-out retirements for batters will give every team a chance of victory and every player a chance of starring for their team. Each team is guaranteed at least four or five matches, initially in a group stage in a competition that keeps fixtures as localised as possible. Finals will take place at the First Central County Ground at Hove.

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Games can be played at any time within a two-week window to give both sides the best chance of securing a pitch and getting a team together. On top of that, team and player administration can all be done on a mobile phone. Teams can choose a nickname and have a logo to match their identity. They even have the option to play in a bespoke kit.

Wright said: “I’ve got mates who have been lost to the game because of family or work commitments so the opportunity to bring people back to the game is a great initiative.

“The final is at Hove which will make it competitive and there is a health and wellbeing element too. What can be better than going outside and doing some exercise to get rid of some of that office stress.”

Wright believes initiatives such as the Sussex Slam are vital if cricket is to build on England’s World Cup success and Ben Stokes’s headline-grabbing performance in the Headingley Test.

“The more we can get playing the game after the summer we’ve had with the World Cup and Ashes the better,” he added. “We have to capitalise on this moment in cricket because the last time something like this summer happened was when we won the Ashes in 2005 and I don’t think enough was done then.

“At Sussex we’ve been getting outstanding crowds for T20 and sold out six of our seven games so the interest in cricket is strong. I hope lots of people will sign up for the Sussex Slam.”

Wright should be back at the helm on tomorrow night (Friday 30 August) when the Sharks, who have already booked a home quarter-final, complete their South Group matches in front of another sell-out crowd against Gloucestershire at Hove (7pm).

With Alex Carey playing in Australia’s tour match against Derbyshire, Ben Brown will keep wicket while George Garton is in the squad for the first time this season after recovering from injury.

Follow Bruce Talbot on Twitter @BruceTalbot1.

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