Australia’s most talented Indigenous cricketers are set to take to the fields of the Red Centre this week for the National Indigenous Cricket Championships (NICC). Beginning today, seven men’s and six women’s state and territory teams will compete for national titles.
The tournament will also provide an opportunity for up-and-coming Indigenous players to put their hand up for selection for the women’s and men’s National Indigenous squads. The Indigenous squads have an extra carrot on offer this year with both teams set to tour England to commemorate 150 years since an Aboriginal XI toured the UK in 1868.
Kieran McMillan, Cricket Australia’s Head of Community Cricket & Key Partnerships said:
“Over the last three years the National Indigenous Cricket Championships has provided a platform to grow participation as well as shine a light on Indigenous talent. “In the last 12 months alone two past stars of this event Ashleigh Gardner and D’Arcy Short have gone on to make their debuts for Australia. Remarkably just yesterday Gardner and Short also played in the Rebel WBBL and KFC BBL Finals respectively.
“We’ve also seen yet another huge spike in Indigenous participation over the last 12 months with now more than 54,000 participants; close to 50% growth since this time last year,” said Mr McMillan. Running concurrently with the NICC will be the Imparja Cup that features community teams from across Australia. Celebrating its 25th year the Imparja Cup includes 50 teams across Community Women’s, Community Men’s, Major Centres, Indoor and School Cup competitions. Men’s matches start at 10am local time today with the women’s competition beginning on Wednesday.
54,346 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders participated in cricket in the 2016-17 cricket season. A 47% increase on 2015-16, and an increase of over 45,000 participants since 2013-14.
6 State contracted players
7 BBL and WBBL contracted players