Development Cricket Structure

No doubt over the winter many clubs will be discussing, developing and fine tuning their approach to Development Cricket, and it will be the same here at NBCC, only as we have no team to develop we will be working with a number of our Club Partners to help them with their planning, and delivery.

This is the first time we have written about Development Cricket in any depth on this site, although Chris has shared his thoughts on his personal blog several times.

Probably fair to assume that the first question facing a Club would be ‘Who are we developing?’ and that the most likely answer will be the transition of juniors to seniors cricket. A question we would pose and suggest is pondered on is “Why not everyone?” Think about it. Cricket has changed so much. We hardly see the draw anymore. Bowlers of all ages are limited in the number of overs they can bowl per game. Formats have got shorter – 45 overs, 40 overs, 35 overs T20 and with that has come a need to score at faster run rates.

Are there really no players in your club who wouldn’t benefit from a development plan? Shouldn’t that development plan include some time in the development team a) passing on their skills and experience, b) practising some new skills, c) getting fitterm d) improving fielding one or two specific positions?

This post will concentrate on the structure to developing a team, the structure towards developing a club through coaching is covered in this post.

And yes, I am aware that the real world causes all kinds of issues, but I think of the following as a Blueprint, which you try and follow as much as possible!


I can’t stress how important it is to communicate.

Not just at the start of the season when you ‘let people know’ that you have a development team, but at this time let them know the reasons, the objectives, the structure, the roles and responsibilities, the measures of success and crucially expectations.

When someone new joins the team be it parent standing in for a game, an oldie returning to the club, or a junior progressing into senior cricket, make sure they are fully aware of the above. Let it slip once, twice and before you know it the team is made up of players not knowing what is going on.

When the team is announced each week publish it in proposed batting order and identify who the main bowlers will be at the weekend. Give people time to prepare, think, and if necessary ask for reasoning behind the decisions. Yes, late withdrawals/additions will effect this as will match situation but you are then amending, not making it up on the spot.

Pre game reinforce to all players their roles and responsibilities. Allocate seniors to watch over juniors and keep them motivated, engaged, awake! Have a word with the opposition captain and let them know your teams structure and objectives. They may decide to ignore you, or they may adapt their approach to accommodate.

Post game don’t let players drift off. Have a quick chat and encourage everyone to have their say. Take the opportunity to explain decisions that may have resulted in players not getting as much game time as anticipated.

Development Plans

What are you trying to develop” Batters and Bowlers for sure, but fielding is often overlooked. Are you looking to develop potential leaders, in which case are they being included in decision making during the game?

Every junior should have a development plan for the season, and know what opportunity the current game is providing them against that plan. All rounders can’t necessarily bat and bowl every game. A bowler may need to concentrate on opening, middle of death overs throughout the season. A potential opening batter doesn’t need to open every game, when time in the middle lower down the order may increase confidence. A junior wicket keeper may benefit from 20 overs at slip next to an experienced wicket keeper and then swap over.


Absolutely crucial that this position is filled correctly.

Basically two options:

  1. An experienced senior with captaincy experience.
  2. An older Junior that is being developed for future captaincy as a senior or in older junior cricket.

Whichever you have the individual must be willing and available to play the whole season in the development team. Of course holidays, illness and injury will have an impact, but the main thing is that the captain wont be ‘poached’ by another senior team at any stage in the season, for whatever reason.

The development team in ‘their’ team. They need to know it better than anyone else. They need to know the players, their development plans, their form and expectations.

Personally I would prefer a junior that may become a good captain, rather than a senior with no captaincy experience.


Can debate this for many an hour, and will be very dependent on available resources, but I suggest a few ‘rules’:

  1. Batters in particular are not asked to bat out of position unless is a specific part of their development plan.
  2. Juniors are not exposed at the tail end of the batting order, or by having two bowl at the same time.


My preference would be:

  1. Senior
  2. Senior
  3. Junior
  4. Junior
  5. Senior
  6. Junior
  7. Senior
  8. Junior
  9. Junior
  10. Senior
  11. Senior


I would try and always have an experienced senior bowler at one end and rotate the juniors at the other end. I would open the bowling with a couple of overs at each end from an experiences bowler and close the innings with 3 overs at each end from an experienced bowler.

Mentor & Monitor

Cricketers love to talk, especially about things that start with “if”, but they are not so good at performance measurement!

Mentoring is a lovely word, that most think they know what it means and many are wrong: it isn’t just about passing experience down, it is about listening, asking questions, prompting thoughts.

I would suggest that if you have someone in the club with mentoring experience they run some sessions on what mentoring is. If you don’t have someone, find someone that will come in and help you.

I have put mentoring and monitoring together, not because the mentor should monitor the players, but they should ask questions to ensure the players are monitoring themselves.

Players have to take responsibility for their development, the club has to facilitate it, the Captain has to manage it (or senior pro if a junior Captain), and the mentor has to support the player.