IND vs AUS: Australian team to form 'barefoot circle' during India series
The Australian Test and ODI vice-captain said his team considered the move as the best way to begin addressing racism, both at home and around the world
Australian players will form a barefoot circle to acknowledge the culture of indigenous people before every series, starting with the ODI contest against India, said pacer Pat Cummins, who admitted that his team has not done enough to support anti-racism movement. The Australian Test and ODI vice-captain said his team considered the move as the best way to begin addressing racism, both at home and around the world.
"We've decided to do the Barefoot Circle. We're going to look at doing it at the start of each series and it's a pretty easy decision for us. Not only as a sport, but we as people are absolutely against racism," Cummins was quoted as saying by 'ESPNCricinfo'. "We can 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 added. Earlier this year, West Indies legend Michael Holding has criticised the Australian team for not taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, during the limited overs series in England. Asked why they decided against taking a knee as England and the West Indies had done earlier this year, the 27-year-old said the team wanted to celebrate the indigenous people of his country.
"I think the most obvious one was in Australia; we think the most marginalised group is the First Nations people and Indigenous peoples, and we think the Barefoot Circle's a great way to celebrate them," Cummins said. "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 come together as a team and think this is the best way we can demonstrate anti-racism as well as celebrating indigenous culture here." The Australian quick added that individual players are free to recognise racial discrimination by taking a knee.
"(It's) empowering anyone to make a certain demonstration, whether it's taking a knee or whatever it is, we'll 100% support them in that. It all boils down to the idea racism exists and we want to do our bit to help stop that and try to be better. "...everyone's absolutely on board with the Barefoot Circle and I'm not sure anyone will take it any further than that," he added. Cummins said the Australian players will also try to learn the country's history. The Barefoot Circle is a statement taken up by Australian cricket more broadly to connect with Aboriginal culture and the land on which matches are played. The Australian women's national team had also formed a barefoot circle with New Zealand players in Brisbane ahead of the limited overs series in September. Last week, the Sheffield Shield teams had gathered in a barefoot circle before their matches to mark the start of NAIDOC week, while the Women's Big Bash League players have taken a knee to support the BLM movement.
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