Cricket NSW will provide extra support for Indigenous, Country and Inclusion players after the postponement of National Championships this coming season.

Cricket Australia announced that this season’s National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC), National Indigenous Cricket Championships (NICC) and Toyota Australia Country Cricket Championships will not be going ahead, with all three championships set to return next season.

The National Cricket Inclusion Championships is contested by teams representing Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Blind and Low Vision and players with an Intellectual Disability.

The difficult decision to postpone the Championships is based on limitations with travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, along with the increased burden placed on players, volunteers and staff due to COVID19 requirements.

The decision has been guided by government and medical advice, and in consultation with each  State and Territory association.

The three Championships, their participants and communities remain vitally important to New South Wales and Australian Cricket, with teams to receive targeted assistance for player development through the season.

Interview with Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon regarding the postponement of the National Country, Indigenous & Inclusion Championships

This will include programs for teams with the possibility of training sessions, mentorships, intra-state matches, BBL attendance, personal development and satellite coaching.

For NSW Indigenous players a highlight will be the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander T20 Cups for Men and Women, representing the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.

Six matches will take place during NAIDOC week on November 12 and 13 at Raby Sports Complex, Campbelltown.

Cultural activities will be incorporated into the event and there will be close engagement with schools that have high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrolments.

There will be a pilot program, “Cricket Connecting Culture” focusing on engaging Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students and educating them on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Woolworths Cricket Blast centres with a specific focus on indigenous participants will begin in the coming months. These will be funded by Cricket Australia’s Woolworths Community Fund.

An Indigenous shirt will be worn by WBBL and BBL teams, with WBBL teams wearing these during First Nations Festival Weekend, taking place during NAIDCO Week from 8 to 15 November.

Woolworths Cricket Blast All Abilities centres will also start over the coming months. These are also funded by CA’s Woolworths Community Fund.

Cricket NSW will work with the organisers of our Inclusion and Country Championship teams to look at other activities which will continue their playing and coaching development and involvement.

Details will be announced in due course.

Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said: “It was a very tough decision made collectively between Cricket Australia and all the States and Territories.

“It was a decision that was left until the latest moment to see how things were transpiring in what is a very unusual season for us ahead.

“Ultimately the decision was made to provide as much certainty to those players in National Championship teams as possible.

“That combined with some borders being closed, the increased COVID responsibilities and the increased costs led us to make this unfortunate decision.

“These players are very important members of our cricket community and we’ve already done a lot of work in the background to see what we can provide for our Country, Indigenous and Inclusion cricketers.

“We’re all very proud of them and we’ll help them as much as we can.

“Our Community Cricket and Country Cricket staff have put together some wonderful programs to support our cricketers providing a mix of playing and training experiences.”