Ashleigh Gardner condemned the national women’s cricket team’s decision to play a Twenty20 international against Pakistan on Australia’s national day on January 26.
Gardner, who is the second indigenous woman to play test cricket for Australia, said the national day is a “day of hurt and a day of mourning” for her people. In a tweet Gardner said playing a match on the day “certainly doesn’t sit well with me as an individual but also all the people I’m representing.
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“For those who don’t have a good understanding of what that day means it was the beginning of genocide, massacres and dispossession,” she said. “When I take the field for this game I will certainly be reflecting and thinking about all of my ancestors and peoples’ lives who changed from this day.”
The holiday commemorates the arrival of the “first fleet” which brought first white settlers to Australia in 1778. However, some indigenous Australians commemorate the day as Invasion Day or Colonization Day because the arrivals set in motion the seizure of lands and the diminution of the indigenous Australian culture.
Cricket Australia has yet to confirm details of the match but the Associated Press reported the Australian players will likely perform a barefoot ceremony before the match and wear an indigenous-themed uniform.
In 2021, Cricket Australia became the first national sports body to phase out the use of the term Australia Day. Then Prime Minister Scott Morrison was highly critical of the move. The Australian women’s team last played on national day in 2016.