The latest ICC annual research performed by the ICC Development Program has shown that the number of people actively participating in cricket outside the Test-playing countries increased by 17 per cent in 2007.

338,051 people across the five ICC global development regions are now involved in the game. The ICC reports that in comparison to the 2002 figures - when there were 144,047 participants - this demonstrates a 135% increase over the past five years. The ICC's Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy says: "These are impressive figures and confirm that the ICC Development Program is heading in the right direction."

What is most encouraging is that of the 338,051 cricketers active last year, 264,991 of them were juniors.

Other significant findings by the ICC Development Program are:

Grounds - 5% increase in 2007, a 45% increase since 2002

Qualified Coaches - 5% increase in 2007, a 143% increase from 2002

Qualified Umpires - 7% increase in 2007, a 141% increase from 2002

Mr. Kennedy goes on to say: "They are also evidence of the dedication and commitment of cricket-lovers around the world. It is a tribute to the local workers who have shown enormous devotion - in many instances unpaid - to the development of cricket within Associate and Affiliate Member countries. Together with our members we will now look to build upon these results to ensure that the growth and improvement of cricket outside of the ICC's Test-playing nations in sustained in the long term."

Asia's playing numbers have almost tripled since 2002 and while much of that may be due to better record-keeping, ACC Development Manager Sultan Rana says, "Much of the rise in player numbers worldwide is undoubtedly due to the increase in women taking part in the game and is a great example of cricket's potential for future growth."

For more information about the ICC Development Program go to: http://icc-cricket.yahoo.com/development/development.html

ICC Development Program Annual Research graphs 2007

Related: ICC Development Awards

Filed February 26 2008