The iconic Kookaburra Turf cricket ball will be re-styled to include First Nations languages during all the Indigenous-themed matches throughout one of Australia’s largest cricket competitions this season.
The first Indigenous-themed match of the Big Bash League (BBL) kicks off in Alice Springs on Friday with the classic balls renamed to the local Arrernte language of ‘Thipe Artherrentye-Akngerre’, which translates to 'kookaburra'.
Cricket Australia’s Indigenous cricket emblem will also feature on the balls for the very first time in a match.
Kookaburra Sport said the re-design is a “great opportunity to help bring elements of Indigenous culture to the wider Australian community that might not necessarily see it”.
“Kookaburra has been an Australian-born and owned company… anything we can do like this is something important to us,” the company's head of communications, Shannon Gill, told NITV News on Friday.
“We feel it is a great way to bring Indigenous culture to other parts of Australia and to show to Indigenous people that cricket cares about Indigenous communities.”
Dan the Man
The company currently have a sponsorship with Melbourne Renegades star and Wiradjuri man Dan Christian and said he had influenced the way Kookaburra Sport interacts with Indigenous communities.
“He has become more interested [in acknowledging Indigenous culture] and wanting to promote Indigenous communities… and being an Australian company, that is something we are compelled to do,” Mr Gill said.
“And the Indigenous-themed matches seemed like a good and nice thing to do, to not only re-name the ball but to acknowledge Indigenous languages.”
The ball will also be used for each of the National Indigenous Cricket Championship matches as well as the Imparja Cup, which is currently being played in Alice Springs.
Mr Christian said the new design provided an opportunity to celebrate First Nations culture and promote the sport of cricket to Australia's first peoples.
“It’s great that Kookaburra is on-board… [with] the re-naming of balls in traditional local language,” he said.
On Monday, the second Indigenous-themed match is set to be held in Adelaide where the balls will be re-named, Ngungana, meaning 'kookaburra' in the traditional tongue of the Kaurna people.
As the event travels the country over the coming season, the match balls will continue to be re-named in respects to local First Nations languages.