WORCESTERSHIRE Cricket Board Limited are playing a major role in the ECB's new 'All Stars Cricket' initiative aimed at attracting five to eight year-olds to the game for life.

WCBL have helped to set up 29 centres across the County where youngsters can participate in the All Stars Cricket (ASC) scheme.

For £40, children will receive eight weeks coaching at one of the centres, plus a bag, ball, bat, cap, water bottle and personalised shirt.

The activity and game based programme is suitable for all skill levels, providing children with the foundations to begin a life-long love of physical activity and cricket while also making friends in a safe and enjoyable environment.

But the more children who take up the game, the more opportunity there will be to discover a new Mitchell, Leach, Joe Clarke or Ben Cox.

WCBL Cricket development director Tom Hill said: "This is probably the most exciting programme we've been involved in because it is so well thought out and so well planned.

"It really is about inspiring the next generation of five to eight-year-olds who are the future of the game to get involved in cricket - and it couldn't make it easier for them "We have 34 clubs across Worcestershire who have all had trained activators (coaches), so they are ready to go.

"From a parents perspective, they will get everything they need for £40, a bag, a bat, a ball, a cap, a shirt with their name on it, and eight weeks worth of coaching, no additional costs.

"All the things you worry about as a parent, how much will it cost, will my child have what they need, are all taken away.

"It's just ensuring kids have a great experience and hopefully sharing that experience with their parents and having a really good family time at their local club."

Hill explained: "Basically they need to log onto the All Stars Cricket website, put their postcode in and find their nearest centre via www.ecb.co.uk/play/all-stars "It's got all details of the coaching dates and local centres. They can pay on-line, order their kit which arrives before the sessions start so they can rock up with their kit bag, looking the part, make some friends and go from there.

"Most of the centres are starting the coaching on May 19 so we are encouraging as many parents and kids to sign up to what we believe is a brilliant offer.

"Hopefully the kids participating will also get a chance to come and view a game at New Road. We want these kids to have a great experience, to have all the kit, feel part of something.

"You look at cricket and what it has to offer. No doubt, we will find the next professional cricketer.

"It is about not only finding the next Daryl Mitchell, Joe Leach, Joe Clarke, Ben Cox, but also just giving kids a chance to try cricket and hopefully they will stay and carry on playing, become a volunteer or even just a lifelong fan.

"Starting cricket at that age and being exposed to the appropriate training, they will learn the basics. For us it is about providing these kids and families with a great experience so they want to come back.

"Cricket teaches nine out of the ten fundamental skills - throwing, striking, catching, running, jumping etc "As five to eight-year-olds, you meet your mates for life generally so it gets kids engaged with other kids, learning about themselves, learning about other people, and really helps them learn those softer skills which are so important to young children."

Hill added: "We've already had over 100 kids sign up in Worcestershire in a short period of time.

"We would love to get to 1,500 kids from Worcestershire signing up for local kids this summer.

"It has never been more difficult to win the hearts and minds of young people and hopefully by this programme it gets more kids with bats and balls in their hands so they can fall in love with the game."

Sam Wyles, WCBL All Stars Cricket co-ordinator, said: “Worcestershire captain Joe Leach has done his fair share of social media work to promote the concept and we are also lucky to have players like Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard sharing their stories on how they got into cricket.

“The biggest centre we have at the moment is Droitwich, who has 33 children signed up already which is staggering especially with the programme being live for only over two weeks.

"Rushwick posted in the local Facebook group for the village and on the back of that they had 17 new sign ups. We encourage clubs to take advantage of social media as much as possible.”