Cricket South Africa (CSA) has today launched the exciting new pilot programme, Meso Cricket during an engaging showcase at the Imperial Wanderers Stadium on Friday, 15 October.
Meso, which is a Greek word loosely translated to ‘somewhere in between‘, is one of the major outcomes from the ongoing schools’ review and is designed to bridge the gap between KFC Mini-Cricket and formalised hardball cricket.
Following a difficult period brought forward by the pandemic, the youth cricket numbers have decreased across the country and through this initiative, CSA is looking to address participation as well as access to the sport.
What sets Meso cricket apart is the accessibility and affordability of the playing equipment required to get a game underway. Lighter, softer and more affordable cricket balls, pads and gloves will be made available, while pitch mats and stumps will be utilised to turn any flat surface into the Newlands Cricket Ground.
“We looked at how we could close the gap between softball and hardball cricket because there are a few entry barrier issues and one is the cost, moving from a game like Mini-Cricket to hardball where all of a sudden you need lots of equipment; pads, gloves, bats, helmets etc.” said Max Jordaan, the CSA transformation stakeholder regulations executive.
“When introducing Meso cricket, we had to modify the equipment and commission a manufacturer to look at a ball that will be developed for the purpose of playing on a hard surface because by in large, with the facilities in the townships, we won’t have turf wickets and much of the cricket is happening on synthetic pitches,” he continued.
“With Meso cricket, we are more cost effective in terms of the equipment, cutting our costs by 50% of the normal cricket bag. That will help us in terms of participation, bridging that gap and growing the game, especially at high schools where we could not get the numbers we were looking for before.
“In my opinion, the cricket pathway is now almost complete; from Mini-Cricket to Meso cricket to hard-ball cricket,” Mr Jordaan concluded.
Targeting the age group between 12-16 years old, the goal of Meso cricket is to ensure the continued involvement of boys and girls in the game of cricket, staying engaged in the sport’s learning processes while introducing the element of competition at previously dormant schools.
Similar to the hard-ball version of the game, a Meso cricket match involves 11 players per team and each side is limited to 15 overs per innings, with the contest not taking longer than 80 minutes to conclude.