After the Australian women's team, the men’s team will also wear an indigenous jersey during the upcoming T20I series against India. The specially-designed shirt is aimed at recognizing indigenous people, and encouraging their involvement in the sport.
The Aboriginal people of Australia are the descendants of the continent's original inhabitants, who lived in the area before Europeans arrived. The current population of indigenous people is estimated at around 800,000, which is around 3% of the total population of Australia.
This jersey is aimed as ode to those races. Unveiled on Wednesday, the jersey contains references to the history and traditions of the indigenous people, and was designed by two indigenous women, Aunty Fiona Clarke and Courtney Hagen.
There is a feeling among indigenous activists that cricket in Australia is not multi-faceted, and is a white man's game. Very rarely do players of Aboriginal descent make it to the highest level of Australian cricket.
In fact, only four indigenous men and two indigenous women have ever played cricket for Australia. Jason Gillespie, Dan Christian, D’Arcy Short and Ashleigh Gardner are some famous cricketers who are descendants of indigenous people.
The Australia women's side first wore an indigenous shirt in a match against England earlier this year. They have been proactive in addressing issues of race in the sport. Some teams and players in the Women’s Big Bash League have also acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee before the matches.
“Last year as a squad we started to think about how we wanted to represent (Indigenous culture) and to participate in one of the first Indigenous rounds in cricket from an international perspective (in January) was really special," vice-captain Rachael Haynes told cricket.com.au.
"We want to continue those themes, but we also want to have more purpose around what we do. So it's not one-offs, we want to do things throughout the year and make it a learning experience,” she added.
Mitchell Starc is excited to wear Australia's indigenous jersey
Australian pace bowler Mitchell Starc revealed that he is excited to be part of the movement, and is looking forward to wearing the indigenous jersey. Starc said that he is happy that the men’s team is taking a cue from the women’s team in taking the movement forward.
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“The women's team have worn a similar artwork to our one, the Test team have worn the logo on our collars a few times and the WBBL teams have all got it on their guernseys this year so it's really exciting to have the chance as a men's team to wear our first Indigenous jersey,” Starc told cricket.com.au.
Australia's ODI & T20I squad against India
Discussions are also ongoing between CA and Australia’s men's team over how to best recognize the Black Lives Matter movement this season. There were controversies earlier this summer, after the English and Australian teams decided not to take a knee during their series.
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