Emily Martin (Bowden), Kavita Pepper and Samara Williams were named in the women’s national squad, while Dane Ugle and D’Arcy Short were selected in the men’s team.
WACA Aboriginal Programs Coordinator Larry Kickett feels the selection of the five WA players is a positive sign that the Association’s efforts to engage more Aboriginal cricket participants is paying off.
“It’s a major boost for Aboriginal cricket in WA to have five players chosen in the initial male and female national squads,” Kickett said.
“For the selected players, it is a great reward for their hard work and dedication.
“Not only have the achieved personal goals, they will also be role models for future players who will see cricket as a way to display their talent.
The WACA is the first state association to employ a specific role dedicated to Aboriginal engagement.
“Our community engagement team is working closely with our elite team and there is now a clear pathway for Aboriginal cricketers to reach the high performance program.”
The extended squad announcement is the first step in preparation for the 2018 tour of the United Kingdom, as they commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1868 Aboriginal team which was the first sporting team from Australia to tour internationally.
Cricket Australia’s National Talent Manager Greg Chappell reflected on the rapidly increasing pool of Aboriginal players performing at high levels all over the country.
"In recent years we have seen a noticeable rise in Aboriginal cricketers coming through the talent pathway. Now more than 60 male and female Aboriginal cricketers are playing First XI Premier Cricket and several are having an impact in the WBBL and BBL,” Chappell said.
"All players who have been selected in these squads are not only great cricketers but also strong Aboriginal role models who, I have no doubt, will inspire the next generation”
The men’s squad will play a series of matches in late August against a Queensland XI, Papua New Guinea and the National Performance Squad, while the women’s squad will take part in a high performance camp from 5–11 August at the Bupa National Cricket Centre.