Cricket Australia stands firm as Ashleigh Gardner speaks out
Australian cricket star, Ashleigh Gardner, recently caused a stir when she spoke out against Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to schedule a match against Pakistan on January 26th, a day that holds significant meaning and is considered a “day of hurt and a day of mourning” for the indigenous Australians. In response, CA has now clarified their stance on the matter, stating that the fixture is part of an “ongoing education journey” about the indigenous community.
Gardner, a Muruwari woman, expressed mixed feelings about playing on Australia Day, but stated that she would remain available for selection and use the opportunity to educate others about the history and importance of the day. However, CA emphasized that they had consulted with an Indigenous advisory committee before scheduling the fixture in Hobart on January 26th and will also participate in a smoking ceremony and wear a special Indigenous kit designed by two Indigenous women before the match.
In a statement, Cricket Australia said, “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.”
Gardner received support from several of her Australian teammates, including Jess Jonassen, Alana King, and Hannah Darlington, who voiced their support after she made her feelings known via social media.