The ECB has launched an app that it hopes can act as a digital solution to keep children active while the UK is in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Junior programmes All Stars (for children aged 5-8) and Dynamos (8-11) have been paused during the lockdown, but the free Dynamos app – which features skill games that can be done at home without the need for much space or equipment – is intended to keep children playing the game while stuck at home.
Ian Bell, the former England batsman, is among the parents who has been using the app at home. “My boy is just turning eight and he’s cricket mad. The app is great because he doesn’t always like listening to me,” he told PA.
“Hopefully this app is exactly what kids need right now. Lockdown isn’t easy when they’re running round the house so hopefully this is something to get them out in the garden doing challenges and picking up coaching tips. At that age it’s all about enjoyment, being healthy and getting outside – whether or not you’re going to go and become the next Ben Stokes.”
The app’s launch comes at a time when families are increasingly turning to physical activity, according to new research published by the ECB. A survey of 500 parents with children aged 8-15 found 53% of respondents are spending more time doing physical activities with their children than before the lockdown, and 61% are planning to continue exercising as a family after lockdown.
Nick Pryde, the ECB’s director of participation and growth said, “Sport is clearly providing families with some much-needed relief during lockdown. As restrictions begin to ease, we hope the app will help kids to have fun whilst picking up some cricket skills.
“We continue to follow government advice and we are doing our utmost to find a way to run the Dynamos Cricket programme as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The ECB expects to receive further clarity from the government in the coming days with regards to recreational cricket. “We completely understand the level of patience that recreational players have had to demonstrate so far, and know that most will be desperate to return to the nets to practice,” said a spokesperson.
“We ask for a little more time to plan out the best way to deliver this opportunity to everyone as safely as possible. We will share further updates towards the end of the week along with a support plan for our clubs to follow.”