Sports-mad youngsters start a game of cricket on the tube

Tube passengers were stumped when two teams of sports-mad youngsters leapt on a carriage and started a game of CRICKET.

The infamous London announcement of ‘Mind the gap’ became ‘Mind the bat’ as the kids – from the national cricket charity Chance to Shine – staged their girls vs boys match.

Since launching in 2005 and backed by NatWest, the charity has so far introduced more than four million youngsters to cricket.

The game, umpired by 10-year-old Mahdi from Bethnal Green, came after Chance to Shine conducted research, which showed that England’s amazing Cricket World Cup win had sparked interest in the sport from children.

More than half (56%) of 8- to 16-year-olds said they were excited about cricket and want to learn how to play.

Of these, more girls than boys have set their sights on the game, with 58% wanting to pick up a bat or ball, compared to 53% of their male counterparts.

Chance to Shine and NatWest are giving thousands of young people the opportunity to play Street cricket, for free, in disadvantaged, urban areas across the country.

Adam Sofroniou from Chance to Shine said, “Street cricket is fast, fun and loud. Our aim is to give all children the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket.

“All you need is a bat, a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape and portable stumps and away you go. Literally there is nothing preventing you from taking part, anywhere – and we have shown this on this London tube train today.”

A third (32%) of 8- to 12-year-olds quizzed said their schools don’t offer the chance for them to play cricket, even though they would like to.

Other barriers preventing children from playing the sport include not knowing where they could do it (29%).

A further 23% also revealed the biggest thing preventing them enjoying the game was not knowing the rules.

Ben Stokes was voted the most popular England player, followed by Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.

Outside London, children living in the East Midlands have become the biggest fans of cricket since the summer with more than a third (34%) wanting to learn how to play. This compares to 28% in the West Midlands and 26% in the South West.

The findings are revealed ahead of England’s fifth and final Ashes Test, which takes place at The Oval and sees the England team playing for pride after losing the series.

Find your nearest, free Street cricket session at chancetoshine.org/street