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Sports News

Australian men's cricket team to do 'barefoot circles' as anti-racism statement

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian men’s cricket teams will stand in a circle with bare feet at the start of international series in support of the global anti-racism movement and to recognise the country’s indigenous people, fast bowler Pat Cummins said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third One Day International - England v Australia - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester - September 16, 2020 Australia's Pat Cummins REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff/Pool/File photo

The players will make the gesture for the first time ahead of the one-day international series-opener against India in Sydney on Nov. 27.

“In Australia, we think the most, I guess, marginalised group is the first nations people and the indigenous peoples,” Cummins, vice-captain of Australia’s test and one-day teams, told reporters in a video call.

“And we think the barefoot circle’s a great way to celebrate them.

“Some people might want to take the knee, some people might want to show it in different ways and absolutely we’re all for that.

“But we’ve kind of come together as a team and think this is the best way we can demonstrate anti-racism as well as celebrating the indigenous culture here.”

The Australian men are following the lead of the national women’s team who formed a barefoot circle with New Zealand players in Brisbane ahead of the limited overs series in September.

Last month, five indigenous players and eight team captains in the professional Women’s Big Bash League made the gesture to “connect to country and acknowledge the traditional owners of the land,” governing body Cricket Australia said.

Australian cricket has grappled with how to support the anti-racism movement since the country’s one-day team was publicly criticised by former West Indies bowler Michael Holding for not taking a knee during the limited overs series in England in September.

Cummins said Australia’s players would also try to “do a lot of work” learning the country’s history.

“You could probably put our hands up and say we haven’t done enough in the past and we want to get better, so this is one small thing we’re going to introduce this summer,” he said.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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