Australian cricketers, including skipper Meg Lanning, have come out in support of their teammate Ashleigh Gardner for her stand against Cricket Australia (CA) for scheduling a game on the upcoming January 26.
Notably, Gardner had raised concerns about the date of the second T20I fixture against Pakistan at Blundstone Arena, stating it was not appropriate for the national side to be playing on what is known as Australia Day – which is also the anniversary of the day the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788 and recognized as a “day of hurt and a day of mourning” for Indigenous Australians.
Lanning termed Gardner’s stance as a ‘brave’ decision to speak out about her concerns around the playing on January 26, mentioning all the players are united in their support of the star all-rounder. The Aussie skipper revealed that the team had been discussing their anxieties around the schedule and how they would approach playing on that date since the fixture for the three-game series was changed last July.
Originally, the second T20I was scheduled to be played at Manuka Oval on January 27, but the game was moved to Hobart after South Africa men’s team pulled out of their January ODI series, which left the Tasmanian capital without an international match for the 2022-23 summer.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions as a group around the game. We’re fully supportive of Ash and her stance and her feelings and views around it. It’s something that we can’t control in terms of the scheduling and playing on that day, but something that we would like to do is just acknowledge the sadness and grief that day does bring for First Nations people. Secondly, we’re going to try and use the opportunity that we have to educate ourselves, to try and create a better understanding of what it means and their culture, and that’s what we’re using this opportunity to do,” Lanning told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
“It’s a really united front within the group, and as I said, we really support Ash and her feelings around the day. Putting out her views and feelings on the issue is a very brave step, I think, and she’s been a really great leader within our group, but also in the community on the issues that First Nations people face. It can be pretty daunting, sometimes, getting some of the feedback that she gets, but we’re very supportive of her, and we’re 100 per cent behind her,” added Lanning.