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Less clashes and more Ashes

It may come as news to observers of this summer's Ashes series, but researchers have found that despite the sledging in the slips and the boo-boys on the terraces, cricket has not lost its civilising influence.

A study on a scheme that promotes cricket among young people in inner cities found it improves behaviour and encourages teamwork.

The study, carried out by academics at Loughborough University, examined the impact of StreetChance, a project launched last year in 10 London boroughs.

StreetChance uses a modified tennis ball - covered with electrical tape to make it behave like a cricket ball - in 20-ball-a-side games, and so far has involved about 7,000 young people.

As well as stopping the participants from hanging around street corners, researchers found the game promoted teamwork and improved behaviour. Tolerance and discipline increased among the players. So next time there's trouble brewing in class, get the cricket bats out. Or maybe not.

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