An Ode to the Aboriginal Cricketers: Australian Team Unravels Their New T20 Jersey

The Australian cricket team is all set to wear their new ‘indigenous’ jersey in the upcoming T20 series against India. The jersey is a tribute to the indigenous people of Australia and their contributions in cricket. Recently, a photo of Mitchell Starc, an Australian left-arm pacer wearing the new jersey, has been uploaded in Australian cricket’s official Twitter handle.

In the tweet, Cricket Australia said, “The Australian men’s team will celebrate our First Nations people this summer by wearing this incredible Indigenous playing shirt for the entirety of the #AUSvIND Dettol T20 series”. The jersey is designed by KirraeWhurrong woman Aunty Fiona Clarke and Butchulla and GubbiGubbi woman Courtney Hagen. Aunty Fiona Clarke is the direct descendant of the legendary cricketer ‘Mosquito’ Couzens (known as Grongarrong ), the aboriginal player who was an integral part of the 1868 Australian team. An indigenous jersey was first worn by the Australian Women’s cricket team early this year in a match against England.

The shirt tells the story of the first-ever Australian team and their overseas tour in 1868.  In their three-month journey, a group of aboriginal cricketers played 47 matches in the UK.  However, since the first test match in 1877, only four indigenous men and two indigenous women had played cricket for Australis. The design is dedicated to the past, present and future of the aboriginal cricketers. The large circle in the jersey represents the Lord’s and the smaller ones indicate the team’s various meeting points during that journey. The blue river like twirls signifies the ‘river and land: Connection between families. The yellow stars in the jersey represent their ancestors of the aborigines and those who came before them. The green circles signify the strength between people and the continuation of life. On the back, there is an emblem that states the thousands of years of men stood strong and fought for the community. The new jersey is adopted to recognize and encourage the presence of indigenous Australians in cricket.  The unveiling of a jersey dedicated to the aboriginal people when discussions about the discriminations in sports have gained momentum indeed shows a proactive sign.

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