Celebrating Indigenous culture will be a strong focus of the fifth installment of the National Indigenous Cricket Championships (NICC) from 27 January – 3 February 2020 which will see Australia’s most talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cricketers represent their state in Alice Springs, NT.
Seven men’s and six women’s teams from every state and territory will compete for national titles in T20 formats at three venues: Traeger Park, Jim McConville and Albrecht Ovals with New South Wales seeking to defend both men’s and women’s titles.
The Imparja Cup – a tournament for Indigenous cricketers from the Northern Territory – will be run alongside the championships. In its 27th year, the Imparja Cup will feature four divisions – Mixed Indoor Cricket, Men’s Major Centres, Men’s Community and Women’s Community.
The championships also coincide with Australian cricket’s Reconciliation Round to recognise, celebrate and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples and cultures through cricket.
On February 1, the Australian Women’s Team along with premier and community cricketers from around Australia will join players from the NICC in ‘one consistent act’ where teams and umpires remove their shoes and join together in a barefoot circle.
Executive General Manager of Community Cricket at Cricket Australia, Belinda Clark said:
“This event provides unique opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cricketers and is a time each year that we can shine a light on the strong contribution that Indigenous Australians have made, and continue to make, to the sport.”
“The NICC is a key element of Cricket Australia’s approach to Reconciliation; providing a strong platform to grow participation, a pathway for Indigenous cricketers and celebrating culture.
“Cricketers and officials will also participate in a day-long cultural immersion to further reinforce the importance of culture and country.
“It’s not just the exploits on the field and the numbers of people playing the game that matter, celebrating culture will make Indigenous and non-Indigenous people more engaged, inclusive and passionate about the heritage of the planet’s oldest living culture.
“We’re also very proud of the efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cricketers who showcase their talents on the national and international stage. Nine Indigenous cricketers are currently playing in State and/or W/BBL teams with the NICC playing an impactful role in their cricket development.
“Once again, we have seen the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants who play organised cricket and participate in cricket programs across the country grow from 64,921 in 2018 to 69,092 in 2019.
“The continued growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cricket since 2013 is a reflection of the commitment of Australian cricket’s leadership and focus on ensuring cricket is a sport for all.
“We thank our partners Northern Territory Cricket, the Northern Territory Government, Commonwealth Bank, Taverners Australia and the Alice Springs Town Council for their generous and ongoing support of the tournament.”