|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
The 2011 earthquake had hit cricket in Christchurch hard. Lancaster Park sustained severe damage and the city had to wait three years before hosting an international match. Now, they have a brand new home ground, Hagley Oval, which will kick off the 2015 World Cup and this documentary from Future Christchurch charts how the cricket culture has endured in the city, featuring interviews with local boys like Richard Hadlee, John Wright, Stephen Fleming and Lee Germon among others.
Last week's figures about the decline in participation in English club cricket set alarm bells ringing although they were only confirmation of what many had been saying for years. The ECB has promised to take action to reverse the decline, but for some clubs - often with rich histories dating back decades - it may already be too late. In the Sunday Telegraph, Nick Hoult looks at the stories of various village and town sides that have hit hard times and speaks to those trying to balance the books and keep a vital part of the game alive.
Close geographically to Thixendale but a world away in terms of cricket is the Lancashire League, which once could rival county cricket for crowds and star overseas players. Now many clubs are faced with big debts and the days of signing overseas stars such as Allan Donald (Rishton), Learie Constantine (Nelson) and a young Shane Warne (Accrington) are long gone.
"It is in the league's rules that you have to sign an overseas player but you have to pay them a salary of over £5,000 for the summer, an air fare, you can't get car insurance for the summer for less than £1,500 and then you have their accommodation costs. Overall it is about £10,000 which could easily pay for three level three coaches doing 100 sessions a year with the kids," Michael Brown, the chairman of Burnley Cricket Club, said.
In an extensive interview with BBC Sport, Joe Root and Gary Ballance reminisce about their early years in Yorkshire's cricket set-up and the time they spent as house-mates in a village called Idle. Root, a practical joker according to Ballance, recalls an incident involving Ryan Sidebottom and a sock that paid a quirky tribute to the legend of the Yorkshire Snipper.
Root grins knowingly, then adds: "The worst one was when I did it to (veteran fast bowler) Ryan Sidebottom after dropping two catches off him. At the end of the day's play he was sitting next to me in the dressing-room and was already absolutely furious.
"Then he got out of the shower, pulled his first sock on right up to the top of his thigh and just blew up. All the lads were trying not to look at him and laugh. I just knew I had to get out of there or I would be in a bit of pain."
Ayslum seekers to Australia have to undergo mandatory detention to assess health and security issues. Most of them are smuggled into the country via boats from Indonesia, but the journey isn't the safest and deportation is only a phone call away. Phil Mercer of the BBC meets a group of Tamils from Sri Lanka who have taken to the cricket field as a way to escape the dread they feel about going back home.
"It helps them to almost feel that they are part of the community they want to be a part of," said Deenu Rajaratnam, the Sydney league manager for Last Man Stands, which runs the global T20 competition.
"Here they are getting a chance to actually live like anyone else on the field. They are equal, they are competing. They have the same chance of hitting a six, or a four or of getting a wicket as the opposition."