Bairstow, Cross and Woakes discuss the significance of grassroots cricket
As partner of the ECB, and co-funders of the #Funds4Runs grassroots initiative, LV= Insurance wanted to highlight the significant role that structures can play in becoming an England cricketer. So, we helped them create and launch For the Love of the Game – a three-part series featuring interviews with Jonny Bairstow, Kate Cross and Chris Woakes.
At the elite level, sport invariably projects an image of seamless serenity, and cricket is no different. Cutting-edge facilities, high-spec equipment, tailored training regimes, pristine kit and finely tuned nutritional advice – each a hallmark of what it takes to be an athlete in the modern-day, where everything is set up to ensure success.
Reaching that level, however , can be a chaotic experience, meaning players are often reliant on community structures to help ease the pathway to the professional game. Coaches, mentors, parents, volunteers and bespoke grassroots programs are the beating heart of cricket at the junior level; without them, the top of the game would be starved of oxygen.
In the first episode, which you can watch below, Bairstow discusses the influence his mother Janet had on his success, acting as a vital support mechanism during his route through the Yorkshire youth system.
In episode two, Kate Cross – now in her 10th season as an England international, shares her story of the precious moments spent growing up at Heywood CC, including being the only woman in her age-group team.
In the final episode, Chris Woakes headed back to his local cricket club to meet up with his first coach Keith, reminiscing over a career trajectory that took him from Aston to the Ashes. You can watch both of those on the @lv_cricket account.