On January 23, Narrabri will be visited by a true cricket icon – Ian Chappell.
The former Australian captain and Channel 9 sports commentator will be heading to Narrabri for the reunion of the 1988 Qantas Aboriginal cricket tour of England.
The reunion coordinator and the assistant manager of the 1988 Aboriginal squad Les Knox sent an email to Chappell and his old friend responded, “I’d be quite happy to join your reunion celebrations.”
As part of Bob Hawke’s Prime Ministers’ XI, Chappell faced the all Aboriginal squad at Manly Oval on January 13, 1988, before the Aboriginal team travelled to England.
Chappell was a major supporter of the tour and helped select the 1988 side the previous year.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest captains in Australian history, Chappell won 15 tests as captain
including three successful Ashes series. Chappell will be accompanied by two members of the Bob Hawke Prime Minister’s XI that faced the Aboriginal squad in 1988 – Peter Sleep and Lenny Pascoe.
Pascoe played in 14 tests and 29 one day internationals for Australia between 1977 and 1982.
The right-arm, fast bowler took 64 wickets in those 14 test matches with his best numbers coming against England in the 1980 centenary test.
Pascoe picked up 5-59 in the first innings of that match (see page 5 for more details on Pascoe’s appearance in Narrabri).
Sleep played 14 test matches for Australia between 1979 and 1990.
The leg spinner took 31 wickets throughout his test match career including a five-wicket haul against England in the 1986-87 Ashes series.
The Australian representatives will be joined by members of the 1988 Aboriginal side. The team toured England to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the first-ever Aboriginal side that toured England.
The 1988 squad came from all-around Australia for the England tour, spanning all states and territories except the Northern Territory. The 17-man squad played 28 games, winning 16.
“I’ve contacted all of my indigenous players and they’re all stoked to be able to come to Narrabri,” said Knox.
“Two players have passed away which is sad. But the other guys are really excited.”