National team star and Muruwari Ashleigh Gardner has criticized Cricket Australia’s decision to schedule a T20 game against Pakistan on January 26.
The second Indigenous woman to play Test cricket for Australia, Gardner said the day the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788 was a “day of hurt and a day of mourning” for Indigenous Australians and that playing a match on that date did not go well. with her.
As part of its reconciliation action plan, CA is consulting with an Indigenous advisory committee which approved the decision to play the game in Hobart on January 26. The game will be the second in Australia’s three-game T20 series against Pakistan.
The Australian team will perform a barefoot ceremony before the game and wear a special Aboriginal-themed jersey to celebrate Australia’s first peoples. CA is expected to confirm more details later on Sunday.
But AAP understands the decision to play the game on Jan. 26 didn’t sit well with the group of players, of which Gardner has been a regular member since 2017.
“It is a day of suffering and a day of mourning”, Gardner tweeted. “Unfortunately this year the Australian women’s cricket team are scheduled to play a game on January 26 which is certainly not good enough for me as an individual but also for everyone I represent.”
Gardner said she would use her profile as a professional cricketer to educate others about the connotations of the day.
“For those who do not have a good understanding of what this day means, it was the beginning of genocide, massacres and dispossession,” she wrote. “When I take the field for this game, I will definitely reflect and think of all my ancestors and all the people’s lives that have changed since that day.”
In 2021, CA became the first major Australian sports body to phase out the term Australia Day to describe January 26. Then Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticized the decision.
The Australian women’s team last played on January 26 in 2016 and the men’s team in 2019, but Big Bash matches are often scheduled on that date.