Australia all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner has criticized the schedule of the second T20I against Pakistan, to be taken place in Hobart on January 26 — also known as Australia Day.
Gardner said Australia Day, which some refer to as the anniversary of the first British fleet’s arrival in Sydney Harbor in 1788 and the beginning of European colonisation, is “a day of hurt and a day of sadness” for Indigenous Australians.
The match, which will take place at Bellerive Oval in Hobart, was authorized as a part of Cricket Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which involved consultation with an Indigenous advisory council.
“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,” Gardner said on social media.
“My culture is something I hold close to my heart and something I’m always so proud to speak about whenever asked. I am also fortunate enough to play cricket for a living which is something I dreamed of as a kid.
“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.”
Along with Faith Thomas, Jason Gillespie, and Scott Boland, the off-spinning all-rounder is one of four Indigenous cricketers who have represented Australia in Test matches.
In an effort to spread the word about the significance of the day, Gardner will still be available for the fixture.
“My culture is something I hold close to my heart and something I’m always so proud to speak about whenever asked. 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 added.
Before the game, Australia will conduct a smoking ceremony and go on a tour around the neighborhood’s mountain Kunanyi to learn more about the locals.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia acknowledged that “January 26 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.”
Australia series Itinerary
January 24 – First T20I at North Sydney Oval No.1, North Sydney
January 26 – Second T20I at Blundstone Arena, Hobart
January 29 – Third T20I at Manuka Oval, Canberra