Get Inspired: CRICKET
Cricket is a social sport that can be enjoyed by people of any ability and any gender, in a variety of different formats. These games can be played in a host of environments and range from fifteen minutes to five days in length.
The demands of work, family life and other social activities in today's society means that cricket has had to create more accessible and flexible formats of the game to meet the needs of players.
Traditionally, cricket has always been played at a club on a playing field with eleven players per side. While this still accounts for the majority of cricket played, there are now other exciting opportunities to play new styles of cricket within sports halls, local parks, playgrounds and in some cases, cages!
Why is it good for you?
Cricket provides a thorough workout, whether you're batting, bowling or fielding and shorter, faster formats mean that players' activity is increased to generate even more exercise.
As well as physical exercise, cricket also relaxes the mind, and prides itself on being a sport with a huge social element, both during and after the game.
Cricket is unique in the fact that although it is a team game, the key elements of the game rely on individual skills (batting and bowling in particular).
The England and Wales Cricket Board, known as the ECB, explains more about the various forms of cricket on offer on its website.
These include 11-a-side cricket, provided through the network of over 5,000 recreational clubs; Last Man Stands - an 8-a-side quick-fire format that takes less than two hours; Indoor Cricket, which can be played as 6 or 8-a-side and several different formats that are provided through schools, colleges and universities, such as Kwik Cricket and Indoor 24.
Cricket also provides a number of other opportunities for people to get involved in a non-playing capacity, by volunteering in one of the long list of roles that help to make cricket happen at recreational level.
The ECB offers a directory of county cricket boards to contact for more information about the game in your area of England or Wales - or you can use the Play-Cricket website to find your nearest club yourself.
Cricket has evolved into its present-day form over at least 500 years, with the earliest references to organised games coming from the 16th Century.
The Marylebone Cricket Club, famed as the former global governing body of cricket, was formed at Lord's Cricket Ground in 1787. Almost 100 years later, the Ashes series of matches between England and Australia first came into being, in 1882.
International Test Match cricket, the longest version of the game (lasting up to five days under modern rules), is the format preferred by cricket purists, however, the shorter versions of the game prove to be popular, and the introduction of Twenty20 has proved to be very popular with cricket supporters.
The recreational game continues to thrive, and change with the times. The introduction of short, fast and exciting games alongside traditional club cricket, ensures that potential and current players have a much wider opportunity to 'choose cricket'.