On International Women’s Day in March this year, the first Australian Indigenous women’s cricket team was announced by Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove at the Government House in Canberra.
A squad of 14 Indigenous Australian women make up that cricket team - led by Ashleigh Gardner - and are now flying out to India for a 10 day tour. They will be coached by Shelley Nitschke, four-time Australian Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
This trip is the first of its kind and is being supported by Cricket Australia (CA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-India Council. The women will take on six cricket teams of both men and women including matches against the Yuvraj Singh Cricket Academy, Delhi women’s team and Mumbai Cricket Association women’s team.
"The team will build on the success and opportunities that the men's national Indigenous side has enjoyed, helping our most talented female Indigenous cricketers reach new heights through additional high performance opportunities,” CA CEO James Sutherland said on the CA site.
“Indigenous cricket participation has hit a record 26,000 participants and female participation – as cricket's fastest growing area – is also at record numbers of 290,000. We wish the team every success for the tour."
A statement from CA said that the program will help build an understanding between Australia and India through sports and Indigenous culture.
Team captain Ashleigh Gardner, 19 is a rising star for the Sydney Sixers in the Women’s Big Bash League and is honoured to be leading the team on this inaugural trip.
“Cricket is one of my favourite things to do, and not only that, to get the chance to represent my people, and First Nations Australia – I’m really looking forward to it,” she told NITV in March.
NITV News will be touring India with the girls and keeping you up-to-date on all that’s happening.
The squad consists of Emily Bowden (WA), Sara Darney (NSW), Carly Fuller (QLD), Ashleigh Gardner (c, NSW), Jacinta Goodger-Chandler (VIC), Samantha Gordon (NSW), Haylee Hoffmeister (NSW), Febi Mansell (SA), Sally Moylan (vc, NT), Kavita Pepper (WA), Natalie Plane (VIC), Roxsanne Van-Veen (NSW), Taylor Wigg (TAS) and Samara Williams (WA).
Good luck to the team. NITV News will be following their journey, with our own Natalie Ahmat accompanying the cricketers on their tour of India - stay tuned.