Growth in East Asia Pacific cricket, says ICC

Published: Thursday, May 4, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Participation in the International Cricket Council's East Asia Pacific (EAP) development program expanded by 21 percent in the regions 10 ICC member countries last year, the ICC said.

EAP officials said a total of 32,804 participants were involved in formal cricket programs within the region, a massive growth since regional research figures were first collected in 2001.

"Although we cannot yet compete in terms of participation with the regions long established sports of soccer and rugby, this significant and continual growth over the past five years indicates that crickets popularity within many non-traditional areas of the Pacific Islands and Eastern Asia is on the rise," ICC EAP Regional Manager Tim Anderson said in a statement.

Anderson said cricket was making considerable strides in Indonesia, Vanuatu and Japan.

He said Indonesia has junior development programs in Jakarta and Bali that include over 10,000 children, while cricket is seen as the fastest growing sport in Vanuatu.

Japan received ICC Associate membership last year and has 22 active cricket grounds, the EAP said.

"The extensive and sustainable growth of cricket in countries without a traditional link to the game demonstrates the success of the ICC Development Programs objective to take cricket beyond its traditional boundaries and become a truly global sport," Anderson said.

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