Ind vs Aus 2nd Test: Player of the match medal to honour Australian aboriginal cricketer

Ind vs Aus 2nd Test: Cricket Australia (CA) has announced that the Player of the Match of the second Test between Australia and India will be awarded the Mullagh Medal, named after the legendary Johnny Mullagh.

The medal, titled ‘Mullagh Medal’, is named after the skipper of the Australian indigenous side that toured the UK in 1868. It was the first organised group of Australian sporting teams touring internationally. “The best player in the Boxing Day Test will be awarded the Mullagh Medal, named after the legendary Johnny Mullagh, captain of the 1868 cricket team who became the first Australian sporting team to tour internationally,” CA said in a tweet.

Australian all-rounder Dan Christian along with women’s cricketer Ashleigh Gardner had led an indigenous team on a tour of England two years ago to mark the 150th anniversary of the event.

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The all-rounder feels the Mullagh Medal, which will be given to the man of the match at the end of the Boxing Day Test, is a great way to acknowledge the ‘Aboriginal touring group’.

“I think it’s a fantastic way to acknowledge that (1868 Aboriginal touring group), but also off the back of our tour a couple of years ago on the 150th anniversary of their tour, that things are still progressing,” cricket.com.au quoted Christian as saying.

“So it wasn’t just a token tour, it’s great to see that we’re still going on from there: we’ve got the Barefoot Circles (before some matches), we’re using the Walkabout Wickets symbol that was designed for that tour, and now we’ve got the Mullagh Medal on the biggest stage we’ve got in Australia, so it feels like we’re moving in a nice direction,” he further said.

“It means we’re moving in the right direction for sure, and hopefully we see lots more Indigenous kids coming through, and we can have another Ash Gardner, and get another male into the Test team as well,” he added.

In November, Team India and Australian players had formed a ‘Barefoot Circle’ to respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, connect to each other as opponents and pay respect to the country ahead of the first ODI.
Barefoot Circle is a statement taken up by Australian cricket more broadly to connect with Aboriginal culture and the land on which matches are played, and has already been adopted by the national women’s team, Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) clubs, and more recently the state teams in the Sheffield Shield earlier in November.

This is done barefoot as a way to connect to the country, but also a moment to reflect that we are all common ground.

The circle is often part of pre-series activities and has started in Reconciliation Round as a stance of anti-racism, commitment to reconciliation, and strength together.
Meanwhile, India and Australia will lock horns in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, beginning December 26.

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