While his team finished third in the four-team Aboriginal and Torres Strait T20 Cup tournament at Albury-Wodonga, Sydney Sixers skipper Brett Russell said the success of the team – and the competition - was immeasurable.
“I was proud to represent where I’m from and was proud to be a role model for the younger players in our squad,” said Russell, a member of the Dunghutti and Birpi tribe.
Russell, who plays his cricket for the Warnervale Cricket Club’s first grade team on the NSW central coast, said he admired the collaboration between Cricket NSW and Cricket Victoria to successfully deliver the tournament despite the previous interruptions brought on by COVID.
“Its spectacular to see the tournament expanding, and even better to know the pathway for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids is visible, said Russell.
“More events like this are great for bringing Indigenous kids into the sport.”
Russell praised the emerging young talent within his Sixers Squad, praising Dunghutti member Lesley Smith for his cracking leg-spin, Worimi representative Angus Ping’s stellar batting performances, and the brilliant all-round performance of Worimi Ngemba member, Ray Steadman.
The T20 competition combines cricket and culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cricketers from across New South Wales, and, in this year’s tournament, players representing the Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars side.
NSW Men’s indigenous coach, Jeff Cook, said he was grateful to have the chance to guide and mentor both Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers representatives.
“The initiative of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander T20 Cup is to identify and give young players an opportunity to represent NSW in the National Indigenous Cricket Championships and further develop as a player and person,” he said.
The Sydney Sixers were defeated by the competition’s two eventual grand finalists, Sydney Thunder, and Melbourne Stars, but Russell said each player was grateful to have received the opportunity to play competitive cricket against top quality sides.
Cricket NSW would like to thank Cricket Albury Wodonga, Cricket Victoria, the players, volunteers, and officials who help ensure events such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander T20 Cup are delivered successfully.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander T20 Cup uses cricket as the vehicle to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and is part of Cricket NSW’s ongoing commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as outlined in the Cricket NSW Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).