After missing out on a Test debut in 2017, Australia all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner is hoping to represent her team against England in the only Test of the 2019 Women’s Ashes, beginning July 18. The 22-year-old could not earn her maiden call-up for the day-night Test in Sydney in November 2017 as Australia opted for an extra fast bowler. Having missed the opportunity, Gardner wants to do everything she can to make sure the outcome is in her favour. “I have had plenty of time to think about what I could have done better to have debuted. Speaking to coaches and things like that, hopefully, I am not too far away from being in that Test team,” cricket.com.au quoted Gardner, as saying.
“It (Test match for Australia Women) only comes around once every two years, and only eleven people can play, which is quite hard, but it is a professional sport at the end of the day. You have to prove to the people that select these teams that I can do it, and I am willing to adapt the way that I play to be in that team,” she noted. Gardner further said that her aim would be to bat for a longer period of time. In the limited-overs cricket, she is considered a quick scorer with strike-rates of 122.34 in ODIs and 129.70 in T20Is.
“If I want to play every format, it is about learning how to bat for longer periods, because my main goal would be to get a Baggy Green (a cap worn by Australian Test cricketers) and be able to play a Test match. It is about being able to prove to the coaches that I can bat time and it is not all about trying to find the boundaries, that I can play a couple of different roles,” she said.
“I can never shy away from what I naturally do, and I think that is one thing that the coaches have always told me, to not shy away from that. But rather than doing it straight away, it is just picking the right time to do it, and in between balls that I can be attacking on, being conservative and playing the right shots,” the all-rounder said.
Gardner would become Australia women’s 174th Test cricketer if receives the cap.
“Receiving a Baggy Green would be a dream come true. Playing for your country is one dream I have been successful in doing, but receiving my Baggy Green would just be the cherry on top, and it is something that I would cherish forever,” she said.