26th May: Chennai S. Kings v Mumbai I, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
If you fancy yourself as the next best thing in cricket, now is the time to get yourself on to an Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy course at a venue near you.
The Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy, in partnership with the Co-operative gives aspiring young children the opportunity to learn new cricket skills or perfect their tactics and game by qualified coaches in a fun environment.
Flintoff and Activate Sport are looking all round the country for new talent this Summer. “The academy has grown year after year and this year we have 60 venues. It's great, as we get to see so many kids of different abilities enjoying the game, being active and playing with a smile on their face, all over the country.”
“Cricket has given me so much, and I want to pass on my passion of the game to as many youngsters as I can." says Andrew. “It would be great to produce the next star, but it is just as important to inspire someone who has never played the game before, to take up the sport and for it then to have a very positive impact on their life regardless of how good they become.”
By his own admission, his first game of cricket a quarter of a century ago did not perhaps give too many clues as to what was to come. Standing out near the boundary ropes, a six-year-old Andrew Flintoff was filling in for a player who had dropped out of an under-13s match in Lancashire and had to make do with a handed-down Manchester United tracksuit instead of cricket whites.
He also endured the ignominy of being out first ball when he eventually got to the crease, but his love of the game had nevertheless been ignited.
Flintoff, 32, said: "I never had the chance to play cricket when I was at school, we just played football. I was a centre-half and I was rubbish.
"But my dad played for a village side and I suppose I was always near a cricket field growing up. I watched the Ashes when I was a kid and always dreamed of playing for England, but never thought it would happen.
"Hopefully the academies can help get kids interested in cricket themselves. If we find a star of the future, all well and good, but that's not really what it is about. It is about getting the kids out there and enjoying the game."
“Having said that, the more enthusiasm we spread, the bigger pool of future stars we are likely to be able to choose from. Hampshire is the original home of cricket and Surrey, being next door, has been closely involved with the game as a result. There is a fantastic tradition of cricket in the county and we want to make sure the future potential is just as good.”
A survey of 189 parents whose children attended an Activate Sport camp at Easter showed that 92% of them strongly agreed or agreed that their child enjoyed the camp.
Andrew says “I’d like to think I will have a big involvement. I will be very hands on when it comes to the creative side of things and I will be helping to select and train the teachers who will be delivering the summer courses.
Andrew Flintoff, Darren Maddy, Lou Vincent, Dean Headley and Alex Tudor will be visiting the camps on the following days:
[Pro] [Date] [Date of Camps] [Location]
Darren Maddy, 24th July, 2pm, 23-27 July, Stockport Grammar School
Lou Vincent, 24th July, 1.45pm, 23-27 July, Sherborne School, Dorset
Lou Vincent, 24th July, 9.45am, 23-27 July, Colston School, Bristol
Dean Headley, 8th August, 6-10 August, Wycliffe School, Gloucester
Alex Tudor, 9th August, 6-10 August, Cathedral School, Hereford
Andrew Flintoff, TBC, 6-10 August, Bolton School
Andrew Flintoff, TBC, 6-10 August, Bishopsgate School, Egham, Surrey
Andrew Flintoff, TBC, 15-17 August, Berkhamstead School, Hertfordshire
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