England told to play 'brave cricket'

England captains Eoin Morgan and Joe Root have been told to play "brave cricket" with "smiles on their faces" as part of a wider strategy to grow the game.

England captains Eoin Morgan and Joe Root have been told to play "brave cricket" with "smiles on their faces" as part of a wider growth strategy by the sport's national governing body.

After five years with little change in the number of grassroots players, the England and Wales Cricket Board is pushing to boost participation and on Monday launched a campaign targeting five-to-eight-year-olds and their mums and dads called All Stars Cricket.

But as well as trying to "get them young", ECB chief executive Tom Harrison wants players and fans of the future to be entertained and inspired by today's stars.

"(Director of cricket) Andrew Strauss and the England team are very clear that part of their responsibility is playing brave cricket," Harrison said.

He said Root and Morgan understood their responsibility to play exciting cricket for future generations to connect with and for fans to get behind.

"It's a very deliberate strategy. It doesn't work every time but we understand you're more likely to be forgiven for having a bad day if you've tried everything to win a game as opposed to trying not to lose it, which is a key difference."

This commitment to attacking cricket has been seen most consistently with Morgan's limited-overs England sides, particularly in the 50-over format in which England now regularly score more than 300 and last August posted a record 444 against Pakistan.

Having only taken over from Alastair Cook in February, Root has not had a chance to stamp his personality on the Test side yet but a change of attitude is expected.

Harrison said the days of England trying to grind out a one-off Test victory are over.

"People like the fact the team is taking calculated risks, at very competitive limits but also with a smile on their faces," he said.

But his vision for English cricket goes far beyond teaching five-year-olds to copy the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes by swinging for the fences.

He wants more people playing, at every age, in every community, and he wants to translate that into a vibrant sport that stands on its own two feet commercially.

Crucial to that financial well-being, in Harrison's view, will be the new domestic Twenty20 tournament he is planning for 2020 - a product wholly in the ECB's control and not subject to the whims of Indian fans or international cricket politics.

The basic plan is for eight city-based teams of the best players in the world playing each other in a single block of fixtures.

Source: AAP