CA launching ~~Long Live Club Cricket Day~~

Published: Monday, September 26, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Skipper Ricky Ponting will be among Australia's beaten Ashes team who will make rare appearances for their clubs as the domestic cricket summer officially gets underway this weekend.

Cricket Australia (CA), in Monday launching 'Long Live Club Cricket Day', said that Ponting, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Jason Gillespie will be playing for their clubs on Saturday.

Australian cricket is in inquest mode after their upset 2-1 Ashes series loss to England earlier this month. The national side will get together next week for three one-day internationals against a World XI in Melbourne, before a six-day Test match in Sydney from October 14.

CA said the 'Long Live Club Cricket Day' initiative was to recognise and celebrate the role of Australias club and premier clubs who provide an important step in nurturing and developing elite cricketers.

"When the initiative was presented to the players to see if we wanted to be involved, we didnt think twice," opening batsman Langer said Monday.

"Unfortunately, our busy playing schedules dont always give us the chance to get back to club cricket but that changes this weekend and Im really looking forward to joining my mates at Scarborough (in Perth)."

"The more we can nurture the club system the better, and thats why initiatives like this are so valuable."

Young Test batsman Michael Clarke played for his Sydney club Western Suburbs last weekend, opening the batting and scoring 16.

Australia has 155 premier cricket clubs, and more than 4,000 community clubs.

In 2004-05, CA said there were 478,326 cricket participants in Australia, including 274,733 participants in traditional club cricket competition (including womens).

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