Queensland Cricket has finalised both Men's and Women's State Indigenous Cricket teams, who are set to return to Alice Springs for the upcoming National Indigenous Cricket Championships scheduled to take place from the 21st to the 28th of February.
With last year's victory still fresh in memory, the Queensland Women's team is gearing up for a remarkable back-to-back performance, aiming to secure another title. Whereas the Men's team is still seeking their first competition win for the coveted trophy.
The teams boast an exceptional representation of players from across the state, reflecting the diversity and talent present in Queensland's cricketing community. The squad is a testament to the success of various initiatives implemented throughout the year, with players identified through premier and community cricket competitions, the Eddie Gilbert Talent Identification program, and the newly introduced Men's State Indigenous Challenge.
Cricket fans will be thrilled to learn that Queensland Women's team will be strengthened by the inclusion of the Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat superstar, Mikayla Hinkley. However, Hinkley's participation in the tournament will be contingent on the outcome of the Fire's WNCL campaign, as Cricket Australia has relaxed rules on contracted players, allowing greater flexibility in team selections.
Queensland Cricket’s First Nations Project Officer, Kieren Gibbs, is excited about this season’s campaign, citing a mixture of youth and experience within the program.
“We’re currently experiencing a changing of the guard within the programs with a few players moving on, and some younger players coming in, so it’s exciting to see if this will freshen up the sides.” He said.
Queensland Cricket’s ongoing development of the indigenous pathway is a key priority within the organisation’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which was released mid-2023. John Butterworth, Queensland Cricket’s Head of Operations, Growth & Engagement summarised the additions to the program this season.
He said, “A big step in the expansion of the indigenous pathway this season was the Michael Mainhardt State Indigenous Challenge, which was sponsored by Taverners Queensland, and saw a North Queensland side play against a South Queensland side as a feeder into the State team.”
All eyes will be on the Queensland teams as they embark on their journey to Alice Springs, aiming not only for victory but also to inspire the next generation of Indigenous cricketers and leave an indelible mark on the National Indigenous Cricket Championships. Those who cannot make the trip to the nation’s centre can keep across the NICC results via the PlayHQ app.