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Inaugural First Nations Rounds to be held in Weber WBBL|07 and KFC BBL|11

Inaugural First Nations Rounds to be held in Weber WBBL|07 and KFC BBL|11
Inaugural First Nations Rounds to be held in Weber WBBL|07 and KFC BBL|11
©Sarah Reed/Getty Images

The Weber WBBL and KFC BBL will hold their first League-wide First Nations Rounds this season, as the Big Bash reaffirms its commitment to deepening education and meaningful connection with Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

The Rounds will acknowledge, pay respect and celebrate the hundreds of First Nations and traditional custodians of the land and waters encompassing where we are privileged to live, work and play the great game of cricket on.

The WBBL First Nations Round will take place from November 17-21 on the lands of the Kaurna people at Adelaide Oval and Karen Rolton Oval and Yuwibara people at Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay. The round will begin with the Faith Thomas Trophy match between Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers.

The BBL First Nations Round will be held from January 8-14 in venues nationwide, culminating in the Strikers and Scorchers playing for the Jason Gillespie Trophy.

The First Nations Rounds were launched in Adelaide today by the Weber WBBL’s five Aboriginal players – Ashleigh Gardner (Sydney Sixers), Hannah Darlington (Sydney Thunder), Anika Learoyd (Sydney Thunder), Mikayla Hinkley (Brisbane Heat) and Ella Hayward (Melbourne Renegades).

They joined Kaurna elders and a number of non-Indigenous players at Pinky Flat, by the River Torrens, for a beading activity and discussions aimed at connecting to country locally.

All players were dressed in their uniforms designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, each with their own unique stories connected to the traditional lands of each club. The uniforms will feature in both the WBBL and BBL First Nations Rounds, as well as in select additional matches throughout the competitions.

At matches throughout the First Nations Rounds the League and Clubs will showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and ceremony. Along with the barefoot circle, welcome to country and smoking ceremony, an immersive experience for attendees at matches will be created including incorporation of local languages and traditions throughout the matchdays.

Ashleigh Gardner, Muruwari woman and Sydney Sixers player, said:

“I’m delighted that the WBBL will hold a round across the whole competition dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse First Nations cultures from across our country.

“As a proud Muruwari woman, I look forward to representing my tribe and joining with my fellow Indigenous and non-Indigenous players to help educate and connect Australians to country via cricket.”

Rana Hussain, Cricket Australia’s Inclusion and Diversity Manager, said:

“Our hope in launching this round is to frank our commitment to developing our relationship with the traditional owners of the land on which we get to play our game.

“This game has long had a connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the first touring eleven team being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players. Our job now is to make sure the legacy of that 1868 team and their spirit is part of the story of our game and is brought forward with us into the future.

“One way of doing that is celebrating our current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, engaging with and amplifying traditional owner voices and cultures.

“We hope this is just the beginning of a much bigger learning and engagement journey for Cricket”

Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s General Manager of Big Bash Leagues, said:

“The League is proud to launch our inaugural First Nations Rounds as we take further steps to celebrate and honour First Nations people and cultures.

“We are proud of our Indigenous players in both the WBBL and BBL and thank them for the leadership they have shown in inspiring young Indigenous cricketers throughout Australia to play our great game.

“We acknowledge the traditional owners of all the lands on which cricket is played and especially thank those who are hosting us for our First Nations Rounds.”

Tune in to every match of the Weber WBBL|07 and KFC BBL|11 seasons on Seven and/or Foxtel, with matches also broadcast on Kayo, ABC Radio, SEN and cricket.com.au. Tickets are available at cricket.com.au/tickets.