'Easy thing to do is nothing': Players to take stand against racism
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'Easy thing to do is nothing': Players to take stand against racism

National vice-captain Rachael Haynes says her teammates' desire to develop a better understanding of prejudice in this country is a driving force behind the decision taken by Australia's and New Zealand's players to take a stance against global racism and Aboriginal deaths in custody.

After their male colleagues were slammed by former West Indies great Michael Holding for not taking a knee during the tour of England, Meg Lanning's team will form a Barefoot Circle in recognition of the inequality between black and white Australia.

Australia's players are supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement but this gesture on Saturday continues the steps taken by the side last season regarding reconciliation.

It has been driven by senior players Lanning, Haynes, Alyssa Healy and Ash Gardner. Gardner is just the third Indigenous player to wear the baggy green.

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An elder will deliver a Welcome to Country and an official statement of support in the crowd, as opposed to on the field due to COVID-19 protocols, before players carry a giant 12x12-metre silk featuring artwork by Aunty Fiona Clarke onto Allan Border Field. Clarke is a direct descendant of a member of the Aboriginal team which toured England in 1868.

The barefoot circle, which is about connecting to country while acknowledging and paying respect to the traditional owners of the land, will also take place at training or before games each time they visit a new city.

Warrnambool artist Aunty Fiona Clarke created the Walkabout Wickets design, which has adorned Australian jerseys.

Warrnambool artist Aunty Fiona Clarke created the Walkabout Wickets design, which has adorned Australian jerseys.Credit:Rob Gunstone

The team will wear the Walkabout Wickets logo designed by Clarke on the collar of their shirts this season.

Haynes says the team, which six months ago lifted the Twenty20 World Cup in front of more than 86,000 fans at the MCG, wants to use its profile to raise awareness about racism in Australia.

"The easy thing to do is nothing, to be honest, but it's really positive our team has recognised they need to use their profile to build awareness around these things," Haynes, a member of the team which lifted the Twenty20 World Cup in front of more than 86,000 fans at the MCG six months ago, said.

She said she did not want their actions to be seen as "tokenistic".

The Australian women's team wore  jerseys featuring the Walkabout Wickets artwork for a match against England earlier this year.

The Australian women's team wore jerseys featuring the Walkabout Wickets artwork for a match against England earlier this year.Credit:Getty

"From our point of view we want to have a better understanding of racism in our country and also what we can do to better support people who experience it, I feel like that's a big part of it," Haynes said.

"A lot of the players just talking when we came into camp spoke about how they felt like it was something they wanted to learn more about.

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"As a team we want to support everyone in our group in doing that and provide little opportunities in the year so that there's real confidence around advocating and supporting our Indigenous athletes as best we can."

Meanwhile, star all-rounder Ellyse Perry's hopes of playing in the first match of Australia's international summer were dealt a further blow on Thursday after she missed the 40 overs a side practice game against the White Ferns.

The team's hierarchy and sports science staff were due to make a call overnight on her availability for Saturday's series-opener but there must be considerable doubt as to whether she will get on the park.

The 29-year-old has not played a competitive game since suffering a severe hamstring injury in the field in the final group game of the T20 World Cup against New Zealand in March.

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