Veteran Australia allrounder Ashleigh Gardner has criticised Cricket Australia for scheduling a T20I match against Pakistan on January 26. Gardner, a Muruwari, shared that it was not appropriate for the team to be playing on what is known as Australia Day – the day the first fleet arrived in 1788 – and is considered as “hurt and a day of mourning” for Indigenous people as well.
However, she has also shared that she will remain available for selection for the match, which is the second T20I in the series against Pakistan -. She further added that she will use her position to educate others on the history of the day.
“As a proud Muruwari woman and reflecting on what Jan 26 means to me and my people it is a day of hurt and a day of mourning,” Ashleigh Gardner posted on social media on Sunday morning. “My culture is something I hold close to my heart and something I’m always so proud to speak about whenever asked. I also am fortunate enough to play cricket for a living which is something I dreamt of as a kid.”
— Ashleigh Gardner (@akgardner97) January 21, 2023
Ashleigh Gardner made headlines with her all-round show across formats
“Unfortunately this year the Australian women’s cricket team has been scheduled to play a game on the 26th of Jan which certainly doesn’t sit well with me as an individual but also all the people I’m representing,” Ashleigh again stated.
However, as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan, CA has consulted with an Indigenous advisory committee that gave a nod to play the fixture on January 26 as well. Notably, the Australian team will perform a barefoot ceremony prior to the match and wear a special Indigenous-themed jersey in a bid to celebrate Australia’s First people as well.
“As a national team we have a platform to raise awareness about certain issues and I’m using this platform to hopefully help educate others on a journey to learn about the longest living culture in the world. For those who don’t have a good understanding of what that day means it was the beginning of genocide, massacres and dispossession. When I take the field for this game I will certainly be reflecting and thinking about all of my ancestors and people’s lives who changed from this day,” Ashleigh Gardner shared in her post.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia too have responded on Gardner’s statement.
“Cricket Australia acknowledges 26 January is a day that has multiple meanings and evokes mixed feelings in communities across our richly diverse nation,” a CA statement read. “We respectfully acknowledge it is a challenging day for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for some people the day is regarded as a day of mourning.”
“Cricket Australia understands and acknowledges Ash’s position and appreciates her leadership and the contributions of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the game of cricket. We will use the T20 International scheduled for 26 January as an opportunity to continue our ongoing education journey with First Nations people,” it further added.
Tuesday, Jan 24: North Sydney Oval, 1:45pm
Thursday, Jan 26: Blundstone Arena, Hobart, 7:05pm
Sunday, Jan 29: Manuka Oval, Canberra, 1:45pm
Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (c), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Fatima Sana, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz, Tuba Hassan