Cricket Losing Out In Schools

By Peter Hulthen

In my last few years in education I could see the writing on the wall .

One of the unsaid that is besetting our Australian Cricket is that it is not promoted in schools to anything like the extent it should be. Sports such as Rugby League, Basketball , AFL and some others have local coaching directors who go around schools promoting their particular sport. In my sixteen years at Townsville Central, we never laid eyes on anyone from Cricket Australia or from any cricket organisation for that matter.

The main cricket coaches were two male teachers Dick Hiatt , Terry Franzmann and myself. We are now all retired. Terry had taken away a couple of QLD school boys cricket teams and was an excellent coach. Central now has only one male teacher for 250 kids. Many other schools

have no males and many don’t play inter school Cricket.

The closest many kids get to being involved with cricket is kanga cricket played with plastic balls and bats and usually supervised by female teachers . Don’t get me wrong but many of these teachers maybe good at softball, vigoro or rounders but would not know a googly from a doosra. They might ne able to tell you the names of some of the wags but would not know that Lords is a cricket ground in England. They would not know a Chinaman from a Madras Curry.

Honestly the only way many boys and girls are exposed to cricket these days is if they have interested parents who take them to the local cricket club. Many kids are immersed in League or Football, which now runs for a major part of the year squeezing out cricket.

Central had other sportsmen visit such as players from the Qld Reds, NQ Cowboys, Crocodile Basketballers but never one State or Test Cricketer. For an number of years now schools in Townsville had their very own Adopt-a-Cowboy. Children of all ages could interact with real

live footballers who might even hear them read or come to their fetes or other school events. Even beach Volley ball player, Natalie Cook visited our school and showed off her medals.

During my time as a Principal, I had the honour of putting in a cement wicket at 90 % of the schools where I was Principal. Cricket is now very low on the list of priorities for the mainly feminised Education System especially in Primary Education.

It is really time for Cricket Australia to capture the hearts and minds of our young people. I have contact with over one hundred boys in the local football club. Only once has someone brought a cricket bat down to training . Very rarely does the conversation get on to the subject of cricket even when games are being played during the rugby season.

We need to encourage more males with a cricket background to do Primary Teaching. Our school was a major prac school for JCU. It was a rarity to see young males going through to become primary teachers.

Thanks for listening



  1. Is there a program for coaches of junior teams ala AFL? Or is CA relying on the goodwill of the blokes who have always been there?

    Possibly this is where the review should start…

  2. Schools should make children do the KFC chicken dance.

  3. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Hi Peter. My biggest problem with primary school sport is the fact that P.E teachers are not employed to run balanced comprehensive programs. There is insufficient emphasis on overall ongoing skill development. I dislike the commercial, visiting stars approach.

  4. Similar to Pamela, I think the problem generally is the lack of PE teachers in Primary Schools generally. In NSW, PE is delivered at many schools (those that can afford it) by contractors and some take their kids to universities or other similar sporting centres where the program is provided for them.

    When I was teaching many years ago, even at inner-city schools with very diverse multi-cultural backgrounds, the lunchtime pick-up games of cricket happened every day in summer. I particularly remember a young Chilean boy who bowled with the most perfect Dennis Lillee action you could see. These games are perfect as:
    1. There are no adults involved to muck it up
    2. The kids are very good at catering for different skill levels.
    I wonder if this still happens? And the endless games of street cricket we used to have in summer? And backyard cricket?

  5. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Mark, in many of the schools I work at in NSW and ACT the boys still play their own games of cricket – as boys did in the past in the way you have mentioned.

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