Tom Greig, 11, son of the late Tony Greig, gets in some batting practice. Photo: Graham Tidy GGT
Almost 400 cricket-loving children from the ACT and New South Wales have converged on Canberra this week to take part in the Kookaburra Cup, an annual Twenty20 tournament that encourages young people to embrace cricket, regardless of the format.
Among them is Tom Greig, son of the late cricket broadcaster and former captain of England, Tony Greig.
Tom's team, Sydney's South Eastern Scorchers, is one of 46 community-based cricket clubs that will take part, with teams travelling from as far north as Hornsby to compete in the three-day event.
Twenty20 is viewed by Cricket ACT as the ideal way to promote the game to the next generation of players and fans, and chief executive Mark Vergano said he is not concerned about placing too much emphasis on the shorter forms of the game.
''Twenty20 is just the way the game has evolved,'' he said.
''The shorter forms seem to get the younger kids in, but as they get older the majority still develop an interest in Test cricket and the longer formats.
''But for an early-season hitout you can't really go past Twenty20.
''It enables the kids to play lots of different games against different opposition over just a few days.''
With participation in the Kookaburra Cup almost doubling since its inception in 2005, Vergano believes it is the tournament's unique ability to offer a tour-like experience to travelling teams that makes it so appealing, more so than the specific competition format.
''It's popular because these are all kids that normally wouldn't get a chance to tour together.
''That sort of experience is generally reserved for representative teams, not community-based teams.
''The travelling teams get to travel to the national capital, play the game that they all love, and spend more time with their teammates.''