JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP AND THE CHAIRMAN OF ATSIC MR GEOFF CLARK
The teams to play in an historic cricket match between the Prime Minister's XI and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Chairman's XI in Canberra on 19 April have been selected.
The Prime Minister and the Chairman of ATSIC are delighted that some members of the Australian Test and one-day teams will be participating in the match, and will take to the field alongside up and coming youngsters in a showcase for national Reconciliation.
They will also be joined by a number of Indigenous sporting, political and television stars including Anthony Mundine, Nova Peris, Senator Aden Ridgeway and Water Rats' Aaron Pederson.
Guest players who will appear for the Prime Minister's XI include the Captain of the Australian women's cricket team, Belinda Clark, Olympic long jump silver medallist Jai Taurima, and former Test player Ashley Mallett.
The Prime Minister and the Chairman of ATSIC said they shared the disappointment of Australian fast bowler, Jason Gillespie, who has been forced to stand-down as the on-field Captain of the Chairman's XI due to injury.
They were very pleased, however, that Mr Gillespie would still attend the match and play a captain's role from off-the-field.
Mr Gillespie will be replaced by a 19-year-old Indigenous fast bowler from Queensland, Glen Martin, who has been a member of the state's youth squad and an attendee at the Pace Australia Cricket Academy coached by Dennis Lillee.
The Prime Minister and the Chairman of ATSIC are anticipating an exciting and memorable match at Canberra's Manuka Oval which in part would commemorate the achievements of the 1868 Aboriginal team - the first Australian team to tour England.
Mr Clark said he was particularly pleased that for the first time two Indigenous cricketers would be included in the Prime Minister's XI. The cricketers are 25-year-old batsman, Timothy Dann, from Western Australia, and 17-year-old all-rounder, Kevin Thomas, from South Australia.
Timothy Dann's older brother, Clinton, a Perth A-Grade batsman, is also playing at the match as a member of the Chairman's XI.
The Prime Minister's XI, in addition to Australian captain, Steve Waugh, will include Test batsman, Justin Langer, as well as the new member of the one-day team touring India, Nathan Bracken.
The Chairman's XI will reflect the diversity of Indigenous cricket talent around Australia, with players ranging from national and state to regional A-Grade levels.
Mr Clark said he had focussed on the selection of young players in his team to encourage increased Indigenous participation in cricket.
"I want this match to be the start of a process which will see more Indigenous players representing their country once again. We were the first Australian team and I want us back where we belong."
Ticket prices have been kept low to encourage a large turnout at the match with general admission ranging from $2 for children under 15 years of age and $10 for adults. Grandstand seats range upwards from $20. Tickets are available through Ticketek.
All proceeds will go to the Bradman Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust which owns and operates the Bradman Museum in Bowral, NSW, and actively supports the development of the game.
Further details about the team members are available at the web site www.atsic.gov.au
Prime Minister's XI
Steve Waugh (Captain), NSW
Nathan Bracken, NSW
Sean Clingeleffer, Tas
Timothy Dann, WA
Mark Higgs, NSW
Andrew James, ACT
Mitchell Johnson, QLD
Michael Klinger, Vic
Justin Langer, WA
Shaun Marsh, WA
Kevin Thomas, SA
ATSIC Chairman's XI
Jason Gillespie (Captain - non-playing)
Ryan Bulger, SA
Jacob Sarra, QLD
Matthew Bradley, NSW
Damien Duroux, NSW
Aaron Hoffman, ACT
Ian Redpath, Vic
Clinton Dann, WA
Craig Trindall, NSW
Glen Martin, QLD
ATSIC Chairman Geoff Clark
Senator Aden Ridgeway