Aboriginal cricketers Ashleigh Gardner and Hannah Darlington are hoping to emulate the heroics of Gulidjan man Scott Boland when the Australian women’s team begins its Ashes campaign in Adelaide tomorrow.
It’s the first time two Indigenous players have been selected for Ashes duty.
Darlington, a Kamilaroi woman and right arm medium pacer, has made a meteoric rise through domestic ranks on her way to national selection and a likely Ashes debut.
"You grow up watching the Ashes so it’s exciting that I’m going to be a part of an Ashes series starting tomorrow," she said.
"I think starting at Adelaide oval, which is such an iconic ground, is going to be super exciting."
A mainstay of the Australian team, Gardner received her baggy green cap when Australia last toured England in 2019. The batting and off-spinning all-rounder is excited to have another Indigenous player by her side.
"Hannah's an extreme talent and I've been fortunate enough to see her career progress over the last 6 years when I first met her in Alice Springs at the National Indigenous Cricket Championships and I've seen her grow as a cricketer and a person as well," Gardner said.
"This year she got to captain the Sydney Thunder at a pretty young age and it just goes to show where her career's at and how much confidence she has in her own ability."
Gardner says Australia's female First Nations cricketers don't have to look far for inspiration, after watching Boland dismantle England's batsmen during the men's Ashes.
"It couldn’t have happened to a better person," she said.
"He’s an absolute legend and I was so proud of him taking a bag of wickets in every game he played. I always felt like something was going to happen when he had the ball in hand."
Australia's has been dealt a major blow with star batter Beth Mooney ruled out of tomorrow's series opener after sustaining a broken jaw in a training mishap. Darlington said it will be up to other players to contribute in her absence.
"Obviously Moons is a key player within not only the T20 format but within this whole squad," Darlington said.
"I think she provides the stability either at the top of the order or wherever she finds herself but yeah it was a nasty blow."
The Women’s Ashes starts in Adelaide tomorrow night with the first of three T20s…before a one-off Test and three one-dayers.