Ashleigh Gardner’s remarkable journey in cricket reached new heights as she earned the prestigious 2021-22 Belinda Clark Award, recognizing her as Australia’s finest female international player. Her ascent in the cricket world has been a testament to her talent and dedication.
Gardner’s introduction to the international scene began in February 2017 when she made her T20I debut against New Zealand. Shortly after, she donned the Australian colors for her ODI debut, again facing New Zealand. Notably, in 2019, her journey took an even more significant turn as she received the Baggy Green, Australia’s Test cap, from fellow First Nations cricketer Dan Christian. This momentous occasion made her the third Indigenous player to represent Australia in Test cricket and the second woman to do so.
Gardner’s cricketing prowess was evident even before her international debut. She claimed the Player of the Tournament title at the 2015 Imparja Cup, a testament to her skills. Her journey continued as she represented Australia’s development squad, the Shooting Stars, before her exceptional performances with both bat and ball for the Sydney Sixers garnered the attention of national selectors.
As a two-time T20 World Cup champion with Australia, Gardner has consistently displayed her power-hitting abilities and crafty off-spin bowling, making her an invaluable asset in all formats of the game.
Beyond her sporting achievements, Ashleigh Gardner has emerged as a strong advocate for First Nations people and their culture. In 2020, she established the Ashleigh Gardner Foundation, dedicated to providing Aboriginal children with a healthy start to their school day. Her commitment to both cricket and her community showcases her as a remarkable athlete and a responsible citizen.