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Tim Van Noort -- former South African Indoor Cricket World Cup Captain
ICW: Australia and New Zealand also showcased their Under 19 talent at that tournament (the World 19 & Under Championships in New Zealand in 2003). The glaring absentees were the England Under 19s. Given that the development of youngsters is essential for any sport to thrive, what future for the sport in England?
As you might know I have been living in the UK for the past 5 years. I played for Stumps of Villa Park for a couple of years, but have not played for a while now due to the lack of a centre in my part of the country (and a couple of nagging injuries). The old question will be going through peoples minds - why is Indoor Cricket not a huge success in a country where it never stops raining? Well I wish I had the answer, but I will go some way by saying that it comes down to money -- or the lack thereof -- to get quality centres up and running for the long term! Simple. There are definitely the talented players over here, but they need a place to ply their skills… by the way we did have a pretty good summer last year - I almost got a a tan!
ICW: Do you mean lack of money to "build" new centres, or just a lack of money to keep them up and running?
*Before I begin this answer, I must stress that these are just my views on the situation. A thorough explanation would probably be best obtained from the British Indoo Cricket Association.* The centres are usually built in old warehouses (from my experience anyway), but I must say that overheads are extremely high, having looked into setting up a centre myself. Things are a bit more seasonal in this country as well. During summer people tend to stick mainly to outdoor cricket whereas in South Africa (and possibly other countries) we had probably 60 % of players (men and women) that only played Indoor Cricket and had hardly ever played outdoor cricket. A very different market!
ICW: I hear tales of there being dozens of centres in the 1980's and early 1990's in the UK, so obviously there once was a market that has now gone. That would indicate something other than a lack of money to build new centres--they once had the centres.
You're right, it isn't totally because of a lack of money. As I mentioned above, it is very interesting to note that the game is such a success in places like South Africa and Australia where it is hot and sunny. I am not even certain if it comes down to marketing, due to the fact that in South Africa I think it was a total word of mouth network to promote the sport! I don't think I ever saw an advertisement for the sport in my time there. I think in the short term the centres were pretty successful but medium/long term they obviously struggled.
ICW: I think your thoughts on marketing are true, to a point (at least from the Australian perspective). When the sport was developing in Perth, it was all word of mouth. The game was new and refreshing, and it only took a couple of years for all those interested enough to play to find a centre and enter a team. But since the sport pretty well established itself, there began a slow decline in the number of centres (and therefore the number of players)-and I'm not sure if the centres closed because of dwindling numbers, or other financial problems. . . .
Perhaps after a stage of 'word of mouth' advertising companies take it for granted and not enough money is pumped back into the sport? I apologise for answering a question with a question…
ICW: I think you're right there Tim. It's the opinion of a lot of people here in Australia that the days have long passed where word-of-mouth is sufficient, and what is required now is a concerted promotion effort to attract younger players, and retain "older" players. For an example of the latter, amongst players of my vintage, there is a lot of dissatisfaction that the Australian Masters competition has an Over 30 division (plus an Over 35 and Over 40). Obviously the Over 35's and 40's are valid, but many would like to see an Over 45 division replace the Over 30's. But that's another story, and I must admit to a conflict of interest on that issue :) So, back to you Tim:
ICW: Other than nearly representing England recently, what other involvement do you currently have with indoor cricket?
Yip - I am a british citizen so almost made the Ashes tour, but pulled out due to a number of injuries. I now run my own full-time cricket coaching company, and I hope to get involved in some indoor cricket coaching in the near future. All my coaching is now outdoor focused, but I am itching to do some indoor coaching. As mentioned it is just the problem of a 3 hr trip to get to a centre here. I suppose in South Africa I was spoilt as I had probably 10 centres within an hour of my home in Johannesburg!
Indoor Cricket World's interview with Tim van Noort concludes in Part 4, in which Tim talks about those indoor cricketers who have most influenced him.