Melbourne [Australia], Dec 20 : The Big Bash League (BBL) will celebrate Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures with Indigenous-themed matches.
In the ongoing BBL season nine, the addition of specially designed Kookaburra balls will add further significance to the matches.
In each fixture, the same Kookaburra white Turf ball will be used, with the logo replaced by Aunty Fiona Clarke’s ‘Walkabout Wickets’ design. The word ‘Kookaburra’ will be replaced by the equivalent term in each location’s indigenous language.
The clash between the Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Sixers at Traeger Park, “Thipe Artherrentye-Akngerre” will be written on the ball, as the native Kookaburra is known by the Arrente people of Alice Springs.
The Indigenous designs on the balls will complement other new and existing initiatives, headlined by Indigenous-themed kits worn by teams on-field. Five teams – Adelaide Strikers, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder – will sport kits designed by local Indigenous artists in one or two matches each.
Woolworths Cricket Blast participants who take the field at Indigenous matches will also sport a kit with the Indigenous design, as launched before the Adelaide Test match.
All Indigenous matches will also feature a Welcome to Country, while at some fixtures players from both sides will form a Barefoot Circle.
Cricket Australia Head of Big Bash Leagues, Alistair Dobson, emphasised the importance of celebrating Indigenous culture in the BBL.
“The KFC Big Bash League is proud to be a leader in Cricket Australia’s commitment to celebrating Indigenous cultures through the sport at all levels,” Dobson said in a statement.
“The Indigenous-themed matches are always a highlight on the calendar. To bring fans and clubs together for five of these fixtures in BBL|09 is a great outcome and another important step towards reconciliation. We thank our clubs for supporting the concept and look forward to seeing these celebrations come to life again this season,” he added.
Melbourne Renegades all-rounder and Australian Men’s Indigenous team captain, Dan Christian, will again be using a custom-designed Kookaburra bat with Indigenous artwork by Emma MacNeill through the BBL season. He hailed the expansion of the Indigenous footprint.
“The chance for us to celebrate Indigenous culture through the BBL and promote cricket to Australia’s first people is something I’ve been wanting to see for a long time,” Christian said.
“It’s great that Kookaburra is on-board with my bat and the renaming of balls in a traditional local language, but I’m thrilled to see BBL clubs take the chance to celebrate by theming matches around it.”
“With the Melbourne Renegades scheduled to play an Indigenous-themed game on January 21, I think it will be one of the highlights of my career if I get the opportunity to play,” he added.
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