David Cameron pledges government support for English cricket

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Prime Minister David Cameron is pledging Government support to help English cricket reach "the next level".

Following last winter's Ashes success, England begin the 2011 season with their eyes on India's number one Test ranking.

Cameron identifies the ongoing success of the national team, and the right grass-roots structures, as key to cricket's growing popularity.

He told The Cricketer magazine: "The single biggest factor is to have a successful national team - and it's great that we've got one right now.

"The three Ashes victories of recent years will have had a huge impact on the sport's popularity.

"As a government, I want us to help in whatever way we can to build on that success and popularity and take it to the next level.

"Over the last 18 months alone, the number of young kids playing at junior clubs has increased from 160,000 to nearly 180,000 - which is a great sign for the future."