Before the Second World War, the majority of the English team were of a working-class background. When England took the field against New Zealand, that number dropped to one-third. BR from the Economist investigates the worrying trend.
Today's schools, obsessed with academic league tables, prefer to concentrate on more scholarly subjects. This means shunning cricket, which is seen as taking too long to play compared with other sports. Finally, cricket has also fallen victim to the ubiquity of football, which now dominates the sports media and is the primary sporting obsession for most youngsters.
This has led to a vicious circle. As fewer people play the game, there are fewer new teachers competent at coaching it. While most physical education teachers feel comfortable overseeing a football kickabout, cricket requires them to impart more technical skills. If they do not have them, they are more likely to turn to a simpler sport such as rounders to fulfill the "striking/fielding" requirement of the national curriculum.