Thursday, September 29, 2022

Cricket NSW and UTS launch season, landmark strategic partnership

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Cricket NSW has launched one of the most important strategic partnerships in the organisation’s storied history, joining forces with the University of Technology (UTS) to form The Cricket Lab.

It is another step in CNSW’s strategy to partner with other world class organisations for the benefit of cricket in the state.

The new collaboration aims to break new ground, to explore new and brilliant possibilities for cricket and the university, to deliver local and global impact and meaningful societal benefit. 

Spearheaded by CNSW’s Head of Sports Science and Sports Medicine, Patrick Farhart, and Chief Strategy Officer, Chris Muldoon, alongside Distinguished Professor Aaron Coutts, Head of School, School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, and Associate Professor Adam Berry, Deputy Director of the Data Science Institute at UTS, the 5-year Strategic Partnership Agreement between the organisations will see focus across a gamut of areas.

The initial focus areas of the partnership will aim to: 

– Cultivate and penetrate innovation more deeply into both parties 
– Improve collaborative and original research outcomes and opportunities  
– Improve university students’ outcomes and opportunities  
– Facilitate staff learning and development opportunities; and 
– Use cricket as a vehicle for community engagement and social good. 

In a practical sense, some of the projects already underway, or in planning, include:

Project130 – a State-wide project designed to improve the potential of female fast bowlers, with the end game of moving from bowling an average of 115kmh to 130kmh. This would be a world first research project to develop a formative set of data which predicts potential and physiology type to increase speed and reduce injury risk. While high-performance focused, this project would also provide inspiration for young girls to play and stay in the game and a source of competitive advantage for NSW and Australian cricket. 

Student placements – UTS students will take on placements within the existing CNSW Pathways program, providing never experienced before servicing of the Pathways programs in terms of sports science support. Students will also provide sports science services for Premier Cricket clubs.

Online Cricket Performance Hub – the creation of an online hub providing unprecedented levels of cricket, sports science and high performance related expertise that would be accessible to the cricket community.

Heat Stress Index App – the development of a Heat Stress Index App for Community Cricket to ensure safer, more enjoyable on field experiences. This will be trialled in Premier Cricket this summer.

Curriculum Development – the two organisations will work together to create a curriculum for post graduate studies that would benefit growth and high performance aspects of cricket

Connecting Cultures – providing opportunities for students from Southeast Asian countries to enjoy a better out of classroom experience throughout their studies, via a connection to cricket

The two organisations began collaborating in 2018 upon the establishment of the UTS School of Sport and Exercise Rehabilitation in the SCG/Moore Park precinct and are now co-designing a shared vision to create a world-class sport and university partnership for mutual benefit.

In 2021-22 CNSW commissioned the UTS Data Science Institute for the Player Journey Intelligence Project.

The purpose of the project was to gain a deeper understanding of the typical season-to-season journeys of community cricket participants and identifying the critical moments in these journeys that lead to players quitting or staying involved with playing cricket. Ingesting 5 years of data from MyCricket, the project has clustered groups of players with similar behaviours through machine learning to define their characteristics and understand the relationships between retention and player journeys.

The outcome is a practical retention analysis tool which allows our community cricket team to better understand the critical moments where player retention is at risk and design interventions and alternative offerings to improve their experience and continue their player journey. 

Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said the benefits of the collaboration would have a big effect on the future of cricket.

“Part of Cricket NSW’s strategic vision is to be regarded as a world class organisation and one of the ways we have identified achieving that vision is by working with world class partners,” Germon said.

“We see UTS as exactly that and we have been able to get together to create a long-term partnership that will be mutually beneficial and delve into almost every area of our business.

“Some of the work will help us in our goal of doubling the number of 5-12 year olds playing cricket, but there will be other areas like the 130 Project or the strengthening of our support networks for Pathways and Premier Cricket that could have far reaching effects on the success of not only our teams, but Australian cricket as well.

“We are also very fortunate that we now have a new facility, Cricket Central, a world-class hub for talent development and realisation, inclusive community engagement, and a collaborative home for sport knowledge and innovation.

“Cricket Central is a learning centre and the strategic partnership with UTS is designed to promote and accelerate collaboration on research, education, and innovation opportunities across the spectrum of elite performance, pre-elite, and community cricket.”

Lee Germon, CEO, Cricket NSW on September 20, 2022

Photo Credit: Cricket NSW

UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise) Glenn Wightwick said, “This collaboration, which applies UTS expertise to the challenges facing the cricket community, aligns with the university’s mission to solve real world problems for the public benefit. There is a real opportunity here to ensure the longevity and enjoyment of the sport for players and fans alike.”

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