Fifteen coaches from emerging cricket nations in the East Asia-Pacific (EAP) region will visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) tomorrow (Wednesday 4 December) at 1500 for a coaching clinic.
The 15 coaches, from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa and Vanuatu, will be presented with innovative tips and coaching methods to conduct clinics in their own countries where equipment and resources are limited.
The techniques, which resemble the imaginative approaches adopted by young children playing cricket in backyards across Australia, include using taped tennis balls, rubbish bins for stumps and empty plastic bottles for batting tees.
The coaching clinic forms part of a five-day coaching and junior development seminar conducted by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Development Program.
ICC EAP Development Manager Matthew Kennedy said the game was expanding well in the region and the clinic was a practical way to show coaches how to overcome perceived barriers to playing cricket.
"The game at the junior level in the East Asia and Pacific countries is expanding at a rapid rate with more than 10,000 boys and girls being introduced to the sport for the first time over the past 12 months," he said.
"Even though they may lack equipment and resources to cope with this growth at the moment, they have the interest and desire to develop the game, so we need to educate them on how to get around this problem.
"We see kids across Australia adopting clever ways of playing cricket when they don't have equipment by substituting items around them in place of the real thing.
"That's how many Australian kids learn the basic skills, by playing anywhere at anytime and with anything that resembles a set of stumps, a bat and a ball. The same principle applies to many of the schools, villages and communities of these nations, especially the Pacific Islands.
"This is the mentality we need to encourage coaches to adopt and pass on to players in their own countries," said Mr Kennedy.
The five-day seminar will focus on coach education, developing junior players, increasing participation in the non-traditional cricket playing countries and learning about cricket in the Australian culture.
Various specially designed sessions over the week will address other matters such as recruiting and retaining volunteers and maximising the use of limited playing and practice space, which is a challenge in places like Japan.
Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy (CBCA) head coach Bennett King and Melbourne Storm Rugby League player Marcus Bai will be on hand at the MCG session to give additional coaching tips to the visiting group.
Bai, a PNG national and one of the most recognised sporting figures in the East Asia-Pacific region, will act as a guest speaker during the five-day seminar. He will provide insight for the coaches and share the experiences behind his success since arriving in Australia in 1997.
The ICC Development Program covers five regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia, East Asia - Pacific and Europe.
The East Asia-Pacific region, supported by the Australian Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket, services 10 countries - the Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The development of cricket in these regions has made solid progress since the inception of the program in 1998 in areas such as administration, provision of equipment, junior and school programs, coach and umpire education and facility development.