The England & Wales Cricket Board have suffered a blow in their efforts to widen the reach of the game among children and families, with the news that Matt Dwyer, their highly rated director of growth and participation, is leaving to take up a new role in tennis administration in his native Australia.
Dwyer, who joined the ECB in 2015 from a similar role with Cricket Australia, was the prime mover behind All Stars Cricket, an initiative which was rolled out last summer in a bid to attract more five- to eight-year-olds to get involved with the game.
Approximately 37,000 children were enrolled in the scheme last year, with a further 20,000 so far signed up for 2018, following this year's launch which took place at Edgbaston earlier this week.
Dwyer was a key influence at the ECB as they look to reframe the sport in England and Wales ahead of the launch of the new-team T20 in 2020. During his time at Cricket Australia, he championed the Big Bash as a means to grow spectator interest and participation levels, and was also involved in setting up the MILO kids cricket scheme, the template that was adapted for All Stars Cricket.
He is now set to return to his home city of Melbourne in July to become Chief Tennis Officer at Tennis Australia.
"Matt leaves for a great role with our best wishes," an ECB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "We are of course very sorry to lose him after three fantastic years at ECB, where he has laid significant foundations for cricket's future growth through his passion, commitment and appetite for the game.
"He leaves with Participation & Growth at the heart of ECB's strategy to grow the game and our trajectory remains the same. We are proud to have such a terrific team of people delivering across both ECB and County Cricket Boards on key programmes such as Women's Soft Ball Cricket and All Stars Cricket - which has 20,000 kids signed up for 2018 already, ahead of our projections."
"We are delighted to welcome Matt to tennis and believe his impeccable sporting credentials and sound business experience will help us continue to grow the sport at all levels," Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
"We welcome Matt's proven leadership skills in both sport and business to this new executive role which will oversee the two major pillars of our sport, participation and performance."