• The first indigenous woman to play Test Cricket for Australia, Faith Thomas speaks with the Western Australian Womens Imparja Cup team on February 12, 2015 in (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
New opportunities for aspiring Indigenous Women's cricket players with the announcement of the first Indigenous Women's team selected to tour India in May, an announcement coinciding with International Women’s Day, and re-writing cricket's history books.
Cricket Australia
8 Mar 2016 - 3:43 PM  UPDATED 8 Mar 2016 - 3:43 PM

Indigenous cricket history has been made with the selection of Australia’s first national Indigenous women’s team, which will tour India in May.

The squad of 14 will travel to Delhi and Mumbai from May 20-30 for two 50-over matches and four T20s against Delhi, Mumbai, Payadde Sports Club and Global Cricket School women’s teams, as well as the Cricket Club of India and Bombay Gymkhana men’s teams.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the team was announced today at a special reception in Canberra hosted by Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove.

The team has been selected based on performances at the recent National Indigenous Cricket Championships in Alice Springs – which had a record number of female participants – as well as performances at club level around the country.

Eighteen-year-old Commonwealth Bank Shooting Star and Sydney Sixer Ashleigh Gardner will captain the side, supported by former Australia under-19 and ACT Meteor Sally Moylan as vice-captain.

Gardner and Moylan attended the reception at Government House in Canberra today, joined by Faith Thomas – the first Indigenous Australian to represent Australia in sport when she made her Test debut in 1958.

Former ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and four-time Australian Women’s Cricketer of the Year Shelley Nitschke will coach the team on the tour.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for each of the women selected. 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.

“The first national Indigenous women’s team comes at a time when both Indigenous and female cricket are thriving. 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.”

The tour of India is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-India Council as a program that will build awareness and understanding between Australia and India, in this instance through sport and Indigenous culture.

Two secondary school students and one teacher from the Stars Foundation will join the squad on tour as part of the partnership between Cricket Australia and the Foundation, through which 500 Indigenous girls play cricket as part of their education.

Women's Indigenous cricket squad:

Emily Bowden (WA), Sara Darney (NSW), Carly Fuller (QLD), Ashleigh Gardner (NSW), Jacinta Goodger-Chandler (VIC), Samantha Gordon (NSW),  Haylee Hoffmeister (NSW), Febi Mansell (SA), Sally Moylan (NT), Kavita Pepper (WA), Natalie Plane (VIC), Roxsanne Van-Veen (NSW), Taylor Wigg (TAS).