Former Black Cap and current Northern Knights captain Daniel Flynn is aiming to inspire more youngsters into the sport ahead of the 2016 junior cricket season.
Flynn, 31, who was born in Rotorua, was joined in Rotorua today by Knights teammates Brett Hampton, Tony Goodin and Bharat Popli at Rotorua Cricket Association's junior registration day.
In the first of several sign up opportunities before the season starts on October 15, Flynn and his teammates offered up their expertise and coached a number of youngsters on the Village Green.
The left arm slow bowler said it was "vital" for him to give back to the community and believes the popularity of the sport will only continue to rise.
"It's really important for me. I was born in Rotorua and grew up close by [Tauranga] so Bay of Plenty cricket is dear to my heart," he said.
"It was great to see all the young guys down here and I want to show them all the opportunities there are in the game.
"Cricket is a real career path now. It's becoming a lot more professional. There's a lot more interest around the sport nationally and I want to now start seeing a knock-on effect at grass roots level.
"It's always difficult for the sport competing against the likes of rugby but I'm confident in a rise in the number of participants."
Popli, New Zealand's domestic cricketer of the year who plays for Rotorua Indians, said the region offered an "excellent" pathway for talented youngsters.
"I've been playing with my Rotorua club for the last four years, it's an amazing club to be involved with," he said.
"It's important to get players started as soon as we can because they pick up and learn the key skills of the game.
"Enjoying the game is what really drives me. I just want to keep playing cricket with the same passion and enthusiasm I had during my childhood.
"It's a wonder sport and teaches you a lot of life lessons. It's great for team building, socialising and offers a great life balance."
Junior cricket in Rotorua caters for 5 to 15-year-olds with various grades - Superstars, Super Sixes, Incrediball and Hardball.
Rotorua Cricket Association cricket co-ordinator Karen Kyle said: "The youngsters are the future of cricket and in the area we need to be helping them develop through.
"Even if there are kids that have never picked up a bat and ball before they should come along and give it ago."
For more information about local junior cricket visit