Australia's 2018 Aboriginal XI to open tour against MCC

Australia's 2018 Aboriginal XI to open tour against MCC Tuesday June 5th

 Monday 4th June 2018 

  • MCC to face Aboriginal XI in two T20 matches at Arundel Castle tomorrow

  • The tour commemorates the 150th anniversary since an Aboriginal cricket team became the first ever sporting team from Australia to tour internationally

  • The touring team will visit Lord's on Wednesday as part of their historic tour of the UK, viewing a display in the MCC Museum which explores the history of the 1868 tour 

Australia’s 2018 Aboriginal XI will open their historic tour of England on Tuesday 5th June with a match against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Arundel Castle in West Sussex.

The tour takes place across the first two weeks in June and will see the best current Indigenous Australian men and women players take on a number of county teams in the T20 format, as well as the tour opener against MCC, when two T20 matches will take place.

The event will commemorate 150 years since an Aboriginal cricket team became the first ever sporting team from Australia to tour internationally. In 1868, thirteen Aboriginal cricketers made the trip to the UK. In 2018, the thirteen male players will each proudly represent one of those pioneers by displaying their name on the back of their playing kit.

The women’s squad will wear their own names, as they are the first female Indigenous team to tour the UK and are, therefore, themselves pioneers.
 

Dan Christian, who has played both One-Day and T20 International cricket for Australia, will captain the side. Christian led Nottinghamshire to the NatWestT20 Blast title last summer and will skipper the Trent Bridge outfit in T20 for the next two seasons.

He will be joined in the team by fellow internationals D’Arcy Short and Scott Boland, whilst the women’s team is captained by Ashleigh Gardner, who has played both white-ball formats for Australia.

Speaking about what he hopes to achieve in addition to on-field performance, men’s Aboriginal XI fast bowler Scott Boland said: “I look forward to learning more about Indigenous culture and more about what happened during the 1868 tour.

Visiting the UK with my brother (Nick, also in the team) will be great as we can learn a lot together about the story from some of the older guys and some of the coaches as well.”

The day after the match at Arundel, the squads will also experience a very special trip to Lord’s, where they will view a display at the MCC Museum which explores the history of the 1868 tour. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter is lending Aboriginal artefacts, newly identified from the 1868 cricket tour to the UK, for display at Lord’s throughout the 2018 season.

The first match at Arundel will begin at 11.00am. Before play starts, a short ceremony will mark the beginning of the tour with pupils from St. Philips Catholic Primary School leading the teams out with a giant silk of commemorative artwork, before gifts are exchanged by the two teams.
 

The commemorative artwork, entitled ‘Walkabout Wickets’, tells the story of both the 1866 Boxing Day match and the 1868 tour. It was designed by Aunty Fiona Clarke who is the great-great-granddaughter of Grongarrong (Mosquito), one of the stars of the 1868 team. The design will also be incorporated and painted on to the middle stump for this match.

About Marylebone Cricket Club

MCC is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws and Spirit of the game. There are 18,000 Full and 5,500 Associate Members of MCC.

MCC also has a World Cricket committee, which is chaired by Mike Gatting and contains eminent current and former players and administrators – including Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting. It has a remit to act as an independent think tank, debating issues and making recommendations about the health and state of the game and to commission research.

MCC owns the most comprehensive collection of cricket artefacts and books in the world, housed in its museum and library at Lord’s which is visited by tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world each year.

About Lord’s Cricket Ground

The current Lord’s Cricket Ground is its third incarnation. The first ever match played at ‘Lord’s Cricket Ground’ came in 1787 when businessman Thomas Lord staged a game between Middlesex and Essex at a newly built ground in what was then known as Dorset Fields.

By 1811, MCC had moved to a new Ground in the Eyre Estate of St John’s Wood. This ground proved unpopular but when plans emerged for the Regent’s Canal to be built straight through it, Thomas Lord gratefully accepted compensation and moved the Ground to its current location in 1814.