WBBL - Thunder v Sixers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 10: Ash Gardner of the Sixers fields during the Women's Big Bash League WBBL match between the Sydney Thunder and the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on December 10, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
WBBL - Thunder v Sixers

Australian star Ashleigh Gardner has been left frustrated over the decision to schedule a game on January 26.

Australia are currently in their final tune-up for the T20 World Cup, which will be held in South Africa between February 10 and February 26.

Australia enter the tournament as defending champions, having previously held the crown during the tournament last played on home soil before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Their final tune-up is three T20s against Pakistan, which followed three 50-over matches that have been played over thelast week.

The T20 matches have been scheduled on January 24 at North Sydney Oval, January 26 at Blundstone Arena and January 29 in Canberra, with both teams to then fly to South Africa.

But taking to her Instagram account, Gardner has taken exception to the game on January 26.

A proud indigenous woman, Gardner confirmed she will take part in the match, but said the fixture doesn't sit well with her and said she will use the match as a platform to educate.

“As a proud Muruwari woman and reflecting on what Jan 26 means to me and my people it is a day of hurt and a day of mourning,” Gardner wrote on social media.

“My culture is something I hold close to my heart and something I'm always so proud to speak about whenever asked.

“I also am fortunate enough to play cricket for a living which is something I dreamt of as a kid.

“Unfortunately this year the Australian women's cricket team has been scheduled to play a game on the 26th of Jan which certainly doesn't sit well with me as an individual but also all the people I'm representing.

“As a national team we have a platform to raise awareness about certain issues and I'm using this platform to hopefully help educate others on a journey to learn about the longest living culture in the world.

“For those who don't have a good understanding of what that day means it was the beginning of genocide, massacres and dispossession.

“When I take the field for this game I will certainly be reflecting and thinking about all of my ancestors and people's lives who changed from this day.”

A Cricket Australia spokesman confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald that no mention of Australia Day has been used by Cricket Australia for three years.

“For the past three years, Cricket Australia has referenced the day as 26 January, rather than Australia Day, which reflects our vision of being a sport for all and providing a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone involved in cricket.

“Cricket Australia acknowledges 26 January is a day that has multiple meanings and evokes mixed feelings in communities across our richly diverse nation. We respectfully acknowledge it is a challenging day for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for some people the day is regarded as a day of mourning.

“Cricket Australia understands and acknowledges Ash's position and appreciates her leadership and the contributions of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the game of cricket.

“We will use the T20 international scheduled for 26 January as an opportunity to continue our ongoing education journey with First Nations people.”

Australia won the recent three-match ODI series 3-0, and will enter the T20I series as favourites to do the same, with Gardner taking five wickets and scoring 19 runs in her only bat during the series.