EdgeHillUniversityA young researcher at Edge Hill University is helping to shape the future of cricket in Germany following an investigation into the sport.

Twenty-three-year-old Adam Howard, who is currently studying for a Masters in Sports Development, was sponsored by the International Cricket Council Europe (ICCE) to look into the issues facing all levels of cricket within a country.

Adam, from Skelmersdale, was asked to examine the sport in Germany and create a clear picture of cricket within the country with the views of the stakeholders.

“It was such an interesting project to work on,” explained Adam. “I wanted to make sure the views I collected were not just the members of the cricket board and I was particularly keen to listen to those at grassroots level, especially the kids to find out what their perceptions were of the game. From the outset, it seemed that most Germans didn’t really know much about the sport or didn’t understand the game. I wanted to find out why this was, what barriers there were to cricket and what could be done to improve the sport.”

Despite the language barriers, Adam was able to set up a number of focus groups with young players as well as talking to families and the chairmen of the clubs.

“One of the main problems seemed to be that games were very infrequent and the time and distance to travel to them was an issue,” said Adam. “However, a key strength was the school club links and that children were keen to play. I also found that immigrants in Germany such as those from Pakistan were more interested in the game than those born and bred in the country.”

In his final report, Adam put forward a number of recommendations around four key themes including structure, format, the socialisation of cricket, and resources. He suggested that there should be more regular matches and that games should be shorter to keep the children interested in the sport. Adam also called for an end to segregation and for the game to be more integrated, with a need for more family days and the media to help raise awareness of cricket. He suggested that to help with resource issues, parents could get more involved and help with coaching.

Adam was asked to present his findings at a recent European conference to give other members a chance to discuss his report and to see if there was any recommendations that they could take on board with their own countries.

Richard Hastie of the ICCE said: “Due to our time commitments, quite often we only get a top level view of operations in a country. This research provided us with an in-depth look into one of our members from grassroots level all the way up to board and the ICC. By a third party carrying out the study there was a greater degree of objectivity and it provided us with a more accurate picture of the issues surrounding cricket in Germany and potential opportunities. For example, youth cricket is a major part of the ICC’s Development Programmes strategy, and the format and versions of the game that are played at youth level is often debated and discussed. One of the clear recommendations to come out of Adam’s study was that participants would prefer to play in adaptive, modified versions of the game. This will help support some of our discussions on what type of cricket should be played at youth level.”