For the first time in BBL history it won’t be a white Kookaburra being used when the Adelaide Strikers meet the Perth Scorchers on Saturday.
Instead the ball will be a ‘Thipe Artherrentye-Akngerre’ - the Arrernte word for Kookaburra. Arrernte are the First Nations People of Alice Springs where the game was originally to be played so Kookaburra has changed the name of the ball in honour of the BBL’s Indigenous themed match and as a sign of respect to the Arrernte people.
The ball will also feature colour printing for the first time to highlight Cricket Australia’s Indigenous cricket emblem, “Walkabout Wickets” by Fiona Clarke, a descendant from the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team.
Wiradjuri man, Men’s Aboriginal XI captain, BBL Star and Kookaburra ambassador Dan Christian started the ball rolling with his use of a special Kookaburra bat with Indigenous artwork from Emma MacNeil, and now the themed ball will meet themed bat. Christian has asked the Strikers’ Alex Carey to use the custom made bat artwork in this match to help support the campaign to create a fully-fledged round of BBL celebrating Indigenous cricket and promote the sport within the Indigenous community.
“Despite the game being moved from Alice Springs, I was thrilled that Alex Carey was genuinely excited to use my bat in Adelaide to help support the cause in this themed match. The venue is not important as the concept- I, and the majority of players look forward to a complete Indigenous round in BBL 9,” Christian said.
“This support means a lot to the Indigenous community and it’s vital in promoting the sport as inclusive and welcoming.”
As an Australian-owned company Kookaburra has this year strengthened its support for cricket among Australia’s first people. In addition to the work with Dan Christian during the BBL, Kookaburra are a partner of the NICC and Imparja Cup that sees Kookaburra balls used in the tournament and sees a year-long Kookaburra sponsorship for award winners in the men’s and women’s division. Balls and mini bats have also been donated to NT Cricket for artists to decorate as trophies for the Imparja Cup community division. Kookaburra has also partnered with Cricket Australia to bring cricket equipment to the Clontarf and Stars Foundations.
“As a proudly Australian company its incumbent on us to help Cricket Australia make it a sport for all Australians, particularly our first Australians. These are simple things we can do to help build the momentum and engagement in the Indigenous community,” Shannon Gill, spokesperson for Kookaburra Sport said.
The Thipe Artherrentye-Akngerre ball will also be used for every match as part of the National Indigenous Cricket Championships and Imparja Cup currently being played in Alice Springs.