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CA tips its cap to Indigenous pioneers

Men's and women's Indigenous players to be assigned cap numbers ahead of historic tour of the UK next year

Cricket Australia will assign individual cap numbers to every man and woman to have played for its national Indigenous teams, including the pioneering group of players who embarked on a historic tour of England almost 150 years ago.

Players who represent Australia's men's and women's national teams have long been assigned cap numbers in the three forms of the game; for example, Cameron Bancroft became Australia's 451st male Test cricketer last month while Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney and Amanda-Jade Wellington were given Test numbers 170, 171 and 172 respectively when they made their debuts in the recent women's Ashes Test against England.

Ground-breaking Gardner puts Stars in compost

The same honour will now be officially given to those who've represented the national Indigenous teams in order to celebrate the legacy of past players and inspire future generations.

The assigning of cap numbers comes ahead of a men's and women's Indigenous tour of the UK next year to mark the 150th anniversary of a group of Aboriginal cricketers and their pioneering tour of England in 1868.

The 1868 tour, which came nine years before the first official Test match between Australia and England in 1877, was the first instance of an Australian sporting team embarking on a tour overseas.

Players in the 1868 squad had also played in a historic Boxing Day match at the MCG in 1866, the 150th anniversary of which was celebrated during the Australia's MCG Test against Pakistan last year.

The marathon 1868 tour included 47 matches against various teams across England, with the tourists winning 14 games, losing 14 and drawing 19 in front of crowds in the tens of thousands.

The likes of Johnny Mullagh (who is said to have finished the tour with an astonishing 245 wickets and almost 1700 runs) and Jonny Cuzens became famous on this tour and it’s their footsteps that will be retraced by the modern Indigenous players next year.

Australia T20 allrounder Dan Christian will captain the men's Indigenous team, which will also include Victoria paceman Scott Boland, Queensland quick Brendan Doggett and Hobart Hurricanes opener D'Arcy Short. Southern Stars allrounder Ash Gardner will captain the women's Indigenous team and play with the likes of Sydney Thunder teenager Hannah Darlington.

"It'll be a great honour for me to be a part of it," Christian said earlier this year. "It's nice recognition for all the guys who play in the National Indigenous Championships and it'll hopefully promote the sport a little bit more in the Indigenous community.

"There's a few guys that are in and around the states squads so it should be a pretty strong team."

2017 National Indigenous Squad (Women): Ashleigh Gardner (c), Carly Fuller, Christina Coulson, Clodagh Ryall, Emily Martin (Bowden), Emma Manix-Geeves, Hannah Darlington, Haylee Hoffmeister, Jacinda Goodger-Chandler, Jemma Astley, Kavita Pepper, Maddison Greenhalgh, Marinda Hale, Molly Ward, Natalie Plane, Roxanne Van-Veen, Sally Moylan, Samara Williams, Sara Darney, Zoe Fleming

2017 National Indigenous Squad (Men): Dan Christian (c), Alex Melville, Ben Abbatangelo, Brendan Smith, Brendan Doggett, Cameron Trask, Damon Egan, Dane Ugle, D’Arcy Short, Jonte Pattison, Joshua Lalor, Liam Ward, Nathan Price, Nick Boland, Rhys Ward, Ryan Lees, Sam Doggett, Scott Boland, Zac Chapman

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