Uncontrolled costs of elite youth cricket in England are pricing people out, says Rob Key | Cricket News

Sky Sports pundit Key, along with former England players Matt Prior and Graeme Swann, questioned the role of counties in making cricket an elite sport earlier this week; Key says his daughter’s entry at U15 level for Kent will cost £710 per season

Last updated: 21/01/22 9:15 pm

Rob Key explains how expensive elite youth cricket can be and how it prices out many potential opportunities

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Rob Key explains how expensive elite youth cricket can be and how it prices out many potential opportunities

Rob Key explains how expensive elite youth cricket can be and how it prices out many potential opportunities

Former England batter Rob Key says the cost of playing elite-level youth cricket is “unchecked” and is taking many people out of the sport.

air sports Expert Key, along with former England players Matt Prior and Graeme Swann, questioned the role of counties in making cricket an elite sport earlier this week.

Key, whose daughter plays U15 cricket for Kent, explained that the combination of trials, coaching, equipment and a tour will cost him £710 per season, before factoring in equipment and travel costs.

That supported Prior’s claim, made to… The times, that he pays “nearly £1,000” a season for each of his two children going through the Sussex trail. However, Key disputed Prior’s suggestion that the system is just a “money-making exercise”.

“I don’t know if that’s fair,” Key told Sky Sports News. “I really don’t know where that money goes. It would be interesting to see.

“There are some counties that do it really well; there are others that cost even more than Kent. It varies depending on where you are, I think Essex actually subsidizes a lot of the coaching, so it’s no surprise that they have players and they’ve done pretty well in the provincial championship and they produce a lot of their own players.

“It has become common, and it probably has been for quite some time, it has become expensive.

“We talk about cricket for everyone, we talk about diversity – all this stuff, bringing the game to everyone, well you just price a lot of people out of the market the way you price it.”

The discussion comes after the England men’s team’s heavy 4-0 defeat to Australia in the Ashes has left the England and Wales Cricket Board with a critical eye over the country’s recent poor record in red ball cricket.

Key believes that the issue of high costs at the youth level in the province is not “on the doorstep” of the ECB, which he says has generated large sums of money for the provinces by signing lucrative temporary employment contracts.

“I don’t think it’s always on their doorstep,” Key said.

“It is also the provinces that have to make sure that they invest in youth cricket in the best possible way. The ECB cannot tell the provinces what to do.

“I just think it probably hasn’t been monitored for a while, and everyone, not just the ECB, provinces should look at how they’re doing because it will help them in the long run. If you have your own players you go on the save a fortune in the long run.”

Responding to Prior’s comments, Sussex Cricket CEO Rob Andrew said: BBC Sports: “We have charged the trajectory program for years. The program for boys and girls costs the club a financial cost and continues to do so.

“We realize that the costs are prohibitive for some families, and where this has been proven, we try to help ensure that no talented individual misses out.

“We are reviewing this regularly and with the appointment of Mike Yardy to the role of academy director, he is conducting his own assessment of the current program he has inherited and we will look at his recommendations.

“We are committed to making the program as widely available as possible and offering value for money for the amount and quality of cricket on offer.”

Sky Sports News have contacted Kent for comment.

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