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Smith joins Cummins in calling for new Australia Day

Scott Bailey and Joel Gould -

Steve Smith has joined his Test captain Pat Cummins in calling for a change to the date of Australia Day.

One day after Cummins created headlines by voicing his push for change, Smith said he too believed it was time for a rethink on January 26.

One of the most recognisable names in Australian sport, Smith said he had consulted Indigenous teammate Scott Boland before forming his view.

"I was speaking to Scott Boland about this just the other day and as Australians, you want all Australians to celebrate that day," Smith said.

"All Australians don't (with) the way it is at the moment.

"Maybe that is the way forward, (changing it) to have all Australians celebrating on that day."

Smith's position comes as Cricket Australia face scrutiny from some sectors around a decision to not use the term "Australia Day" in marketing the Gabba Test against West Indies.

CA's stance remains in line with a decision the sport took in 2021 to drop the term from promoting BBL matches on the day, with some teams instead wearing Indigenous strips.

That call prompted scathing criticism from then Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who labelled the decision as "ordinary" and told Cricket Australia to have "a bit more focus on cricket and a little less focus on politics".

The organisation has adopted a similar stance in both 2022 and 2023, with Ashleigh Gardner particularly upset last year the women's team was made to play on the date.

This summer marks the first time the men's team has played on January 26 since 2019, with the date falling on a Friday and Tests later in the summer creating a challenge for officials.

Cummins on Monday backed CA's decision not to market the match as an Australia Day Test, as it was routinely called in the past.

"(The issue) is not new," he said.

"This conversation comes up every year and Cricket Australia has been pretty consistent the last four or five years with the way they approach it.

"In a sport like cricket, which has such diversity and millions of people supporting it and playing it, you get a good spectrum of the community and a good feel for what the community expects.

"Knowing a couple of those players that you mentioned, you hear the stories and their feelings. So it does gather extra importance."

In turn, Cummins became the highest-profile sporting personality to push for a change of date given the historical context around January 26 for Australia's Indigenous community.

"I absolutely love Australia. It is the best country in the world by a mile," Cummins said.

"We should have an Australia Day, but we can probably find a more appropriate day to celebrate it.

"Once you start realising Jan 26 and why it is chosen, Australia Day is meant to be a celebration of everything Australia and our history.

"(So) we could choose a better date."

Scott Bailey and Joel Gould - AAP


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