Kevin Pietersen has offered to coach cricket in schools to help rise participation figures

Total playing numbers in England and Wales in 2014 were recorded at 844,000, down from 908,000 for the previous season

Kevin Pietersen: “We need to encourage people of all ages to take part. #ILoveCricket.” Photograph: Paul Thomas/Pa

Kevin Pietersen: “We need to encourage people of all ages to take part. #ILoveCricket.” Photograph: Paul Thomas/Pa

 

Former England star Kevin Pietersen has offered to participate in school cricket coaching after expressing disappointment in falling participation levels.

The England and Wales Cricket Board revealed the results of its National Playing Survey on Wednesday, showing a seven per cent decrease in participation among the over-14s.

Total playing numbers in 2014 were recorded at 844,000, down from 908,000 for the previous season.

Poor weather this summer was cited as a potential factor in the drop, but the announcement has been met with consternation within the game.

Pietersen, whose own participation levels this year fell somewhat following his sacking by England, took to Twitter to have his say.

Tweet me

In a series of messages, the country’s leading international run scorer wrote of his dismay at the figures and even opened the door to some grassroots work himself.

“Been off Twitter for a while, but couldn’t stay off when I heard about today’s announcement re drop off in cricket participation over here,” he said.

“We’ve got a fantastic pool of talent here in UK and the thought of kids dropping out and not fulfilling potential is frightening and needs changing.

“Any school cricket coaches or after school clubs doing winter training, tweet me and I’ll pick a couple next week to join you...?

“We need to encourage people of all ages to take part. #ILoveCricket.”

Pietersen’s offer is sure to gain plenty of interest, his star power apparently undimmed by his removal from the international scene and the subsequent controversies caused by his autobiography.

The challenge

Announcing the survey results, ECB chief operating officer Gordon Hollins said: “ECB recognised the participation challenges that have been facing all team sports and we were determined to gain a greater insight into those issues and find long term solutions.

“To do that ECB changed the way in which it measured participation last year and introduced the new National Cricket Playing Survey as part of our wider efforts to gain a greater understanding of what drives grassroots cricket participation.

“Thanks to an excellent response ECB now has a much clearer picture than ever before of who plays recreational cricket, what type of cricket they prefer to play, when they want to play it, and we are now setting about finding ways in which we can best address their needs going forward.

“We are already working in partnership with our 39 County Cricket Boards as part of a detailed participation review.”

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