“We’ve chatted quite a bit about it, especially over the last couple of months,” Cummins said. “We just think it’s really important to do our bit. We’ve decided to do the barefoot circle.
“I think we’re going to look at doing it at the start of each series. It’s a pretty easy decision for us. As soon as you try and learn a little bit about it, it just becomes a really easy decision.
“Not only as a sport but we as people are absolutely against racism. I think we could probably put our hands up and say we haven’t done enough in the past and we want to get better.
“This is one small thing we’re going to introduce this summer. In addition we’re going to try and do a lot of work on our education where we’re trying to learn as much about our history here in Australia in particular.”
“We think the most marginalised group [in Australia] is the First Nations people … the Indigenous people. We think the barefoot circle is a great way to celebrate them,” he said.
“Some people might want to take the knee, some people might want to show it in different ways and absolutely we’re all for that. But we’ve kind of come together as a team and think this is the best way we can demonstrate anti-racism as well as celebrating the Indigenous culture here.”
Australia will open their summer against India in a one-dayer at the SCG on Friday week.
Cummins’ leadership claims have grown immeasurably in recent months, for he has been made the sole vice-captain to Aaron Finch in the white-ball teams and now sole deputy to Tim Paine in the Test side. He had shared the red-ball duty with Travis Head last summer but a move to a traditional leadership set-up, and clearer lines of communication, meant Cummins was voted the best option.
Just because Cummins, 27, is vice-captain does not make him the automatic favourite, let alone successor, to Paine when the wicketkeeper, turning 36 next month, decides to retire.
Cricket Australia supported a recommendation as part of the Dr Simon Longstaff report into the sport’s poor culture in 2018 that the role of vice-captain be “de-coupled” from that of “heir apparent” for the captaincy. This was done with a view to having a more caring, team-orientated relationship between the captain and his deputy, something that hasn’t always been the case.
Cummins, though, said he hadn’t given a great deal of thought as to whether he wanted to be a future captain.
“I still see my job as helping Painy out in that Test side as much as I can,” he said.
“Since being vice-captain for the last 18 months or so, of course you think about the game a bit more when you are out there. Off the field, you are a bit more aware of what is going on.
“Sometimes as a bowler it’s easy to go down to fine leg and drift. Just trying to make sure I learn in case it [captaincy] ever comes up.”
Chris Barrett is Chief Sports Reporter of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.