New Delhi : All-rounder Ashleigh Gardner has criticised Cricket Australia (CA) for scheduling Australia women’s second T20I against Pakistan on January 26, citing it being an uncomfortable scenario for the Indigenous community.
Ashleigh, hailing from the Indigenous community, said it was not appropriate for the side to be playing the second T20I against Pakistan at Hobart on January 26, which is also known as Australia Day.
She added she will remain available for selection in the match despite being uncomfortable about the whole scenario and will try to educate others on the history surrounding 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. 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,” said Ashleigh in a note on her social media accounts on Sunday morning.
“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.”
“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,” she further wrote.
A CA spokesperson said in a statement that they understand the opposition from Ashleigh’s point of view. It also said acknowledgements will be there before the match, with players set to wear an Indigenous jersey, as well as wristbands and socks with the Aboriginal flag, apart from a barefoot ceremony taking place.
“For the past three years, Cricket Australia has referenced the day as 26 January, rather than Australia Day, which reflects our vision of being a sport for all and providing a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone involved in cricket.”
“Cricket Australia acknowledges 26 January is a day that has multiple meanings and evokes mixed feelings in communities across our richly diverse nation.
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.”