Indigenous cricket star Ashleigh Gardner has called out the decision to schedule an Australian women’s international on January 26.
Australia’s women’s cricket team is playing Pakistan in a three-match T20 International series, starting on Tuesday.
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The second match in Hobart has been scheduled to take place on Thursday January 26, a decision that “doesn’t sit well” with Gardner, the reigning Belinda Clark medallist.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“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.
“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.”
Gardner said she will take the field and play on January 26, which the all-rounder described as a “day of mourning” that marked the “beginning of genocide, massacres and dispossession”.
“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,” Gardner said.
“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 peoples lives who changed from this day.”
Cricket Australia has not scheduled any Big Bash League games on January 26 this year and won’t refer to the day as Australia Day in any marketing or publicity of the women’s T20 game in Hobart on Thursday.
Australia wrapped up a 3-0 clean sweep of the ODI series against Pakistan on Saturday, as Beth Mooney scored her third ODI century with a career-best 133.