ACA’s answer to Australia’s cricket woes

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) recently developed a ‘Premier Cricket Program’ to keep former first-class players involved with cricket clubs in coaching and development roles.

The program aims to close the gap between State and Premier (Grade) cricket and provide a future of more developed cricketers with higher competition at State and International level.

One club attempting to bring through these future stars is Sydney based Manly Cricket Club.

Manly has created their own ‘Pathway program’ and aims to incorporate ACA funds to bring young cricketers through junior and Shires cricket into the Sydney Grade Cricket competition.

Manly First-Grade captain and former Victorian and Adelaide Strikers representative, said that the grant is integral to Australia and Manly’s future.

“I think the worst thing we could do now in Australian cricket and in all levels of cricket is to go too young and put players in a side when they’re not ready,” Crosthwaite said.

“The fact that for instance at Manly we can keep Tim Cruickshank around in a coaching capacity…(and) with all our young batters coming through the ranks from the pathway, to have a player like that and for this grant to be available is only going to strengthen Manly cricket and then in turn Australian cricket.

“Having senior guys around our junior programs, guys who have been at that professional level, is essential.

“I think this is huge thing for Australian cricket and club cricket.”

Manly’s recipient of the ACA grant, Tim Cruickshank, described Manly’s pathway as “one of the best junior development strategies in Australia.”

He said that pathway programs are particularly important in a sport that “relies so heavily on the continued production of juniors for the game to flourish.”

Cruickshank has taken on the task of Manly’s U21 coach and will look to instil first grade principles into young cricketers.

Australia A, New South Wales and Manly all-rounder, Stephen O’Keefe, is one of many cricketers contributing to the ACA program and says Manly’s pathway is a sign of success.

“Yes I definitely agree it is (a good development initiative),” O’Keefe said.

“While playing sport, it’s important to have balance in life, and the Manly initiative takes a holistic view of the cricketer, which I think can only benefit on and off the field.”

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