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Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 12:00 UK

Warrington's Matt King is the inventor of the 'Crackit'

By Paul Garrity
BBC Radio Merseyside

Matt King
King recently had his iconic hair cut for charity

Warrington centre Matt King will always be best known for his skill on the rugby pitch, but one day he may also be remembered for inventing the 'Crackit'.

The 'Crackit' is a hybrid of a cricket bat and a tennis racket and allows children of all ages to play cricket without the use of a heavy wooden bat.

The 29-year-old Australian, who moved to England from Melbourne Storm in 2007, says it was the experience of playing cricket with his five brothers and his sister as a child in Casino, New South Wales, which helped him develop such a simple idea.

"I've called my little invention the 'Crackit'," King told BBC Radio Merseyside. "It's a lightweight version of a cricket bat, but it's strung and is just like a tennis racket.

"It's designed to help kids play cricket a little bit easier and hopefully get families outside and enjoying the outdoors together. Where I grew up in Australia, if you're not at the beach in the summer time, you're in the backyard playing cricket.

"I've got five older brothers and a younger sister and she used to really struggle with the big old wooden bat that we all used.

"She used to race into the back shed and grab a tennis racket and come out and continue playing with it."

King says the 'Crackit' is a work in progress but the idea has quickly transformed into reality, after many years contemplating the project.

"The idea has been cooking up inside my head for a long, long time," King continued. "But it's only been in the last 12 months that I've decided to get off this lazy bum of mine and do something about it.

The Crackit
King hopes his Crackit bat will make cricket more accessible for children

"We've designed one at the moment and it's a working prototype, but it's a little bit heavier than we would have liked. We're in the process now of getting the weight down and still trying to maintain the strength it has at the moment.

"I'm speaking to some manufacturers at the moment, and the more questions I ask, the more I realise I'm really flying by the seat of my pants."

King has become a popular figure at the Halliwell Jones Stadium since his move from the NRL in 2007 but is not getting carried away and thinking about a change of career just yet.

"It would be nice to think that this little idea is going to build me a house and I could put my feet up," said King. "But I'm not hanging my hat on the idea.

"I realise that life isn't that simple. It would be nice if it did well and it's been a lot of fun and I'm having a good time getting it off the ground."

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