Pat Cummins has revealed that the Australian team has decided to form a barefoot circle before the start of each series to address racism and acknowledge the culture of indigenous people. He added that the players think they haven’t done enough in the past and hence, they want to do their bit now.
Since the emergence of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, cricket teams have been doing their bit to show their solidarity with the movement. On that front, West Indies legend Michael Holding had criticised the Australian team for not taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, during the limited-overs series in England.
The Australian Test and ODI vice-captain revealed that Australian players will form a barefoot circle to acknowledge the culture of indigenous people before every series along with showing solidarity against racism, starting with the ODI contest against India. Cummins admitted that the team has not done enough in this regard in the past and hence, want to get better at it.
"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."
On being asked about the Australian team's decision against taking a knee as England and the West Indies had done earlier this year, Cummins insisted that the team wanted to celebrate the indigenous people of his country and the barefoot circle is the perfect symbol for that. He added that the players are free to show their support in whichever form they like.
"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 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.