The donation from Sport England, using funds from the national lottery, will help kickstart 'Chance to Shine', an initiative aimed at reversing a trend of declining participation by offering playing and coaching opportunities in schools, as well as forging links with cricket clubs.
Schools cricket in England has been hit hard by the growing dominance of football and by the sell-off of hundreds of school playing fields over the last two decades.
Sport England chairman Lord Carter said the scheme could help produce the next Andrew Flintoff, the hero of the Ashes triumph, but said broader participation was the main goal.
"It means that thousands more children will have the opportunity to play organised, structured cricket at school, some for the first time," he said.
Sport England is the body, which distributes government and lottery funding to community sports programmes. Its investment in Chance to Shine will cover the period from November 2005 to March 2007.