“I would have loved to play in a U19 World Cup,” says Ashleigh Gardner

Ashleigh Gardner, the Australian superstar was in conversation with Nasser Hussain and Frankie Mackay on ICC’s 100% podcast where she said that she is eagerly awaiting the ICC Women’s U19 World Cup.

ICC Women's U19 T20 World Cup Trophy Launched. PC: ICC
ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup Trophy Launched. PC: ICC

The tournament, the first of its kind will feature sixteen teams squaring off against each other and the fact that the best of the best will rub shoulders in a marquee event like this is something she is definitely looking forward to. While also reflecting on how an opportunity in the form of a tournament like this was not there when she started playing, she reiterated how this World Cup will present the youngsters a chance to get exposed to quality cricket and something to look forward to and it would greatly help the game grow globally as well.

Ashleigh Gardner. PC: bbc.com
Ashleigh Gardner. PC: bbc.com

“It was myself and (teammate) Heather Graham, who are at similar ages and we would have loved to have played in a U19 World Cup as we thought we would have been very good.

“But yeah, obviously it’s fantastic for those young players to have something to strive for (now),” said Ashleigh Gardner.

Sharing her thoughts on playing in India and the ongoing series, she brought up how playing in front of a packed crowd in all the T20Is has been quite an exciting experience.

Where to get tickets for 2nd T20I between India vs Australia Women’s Match?. PC: BCCiWomen / Twitter
Where to get tickets for 2nd T20I between India vs Australia Women’s Match?. PC: BCCiWomen / Twitter

Especially, in the 2nd T20I that happened at the DY Patil Stadium, 45,000+ people thronged the stadium which she reckons was special and that is the second largest crowd that she has played in front of. She also opined that the Indian fans are very loud and animated so it felt like there were a lot more people and that acclimatizing to the noise levels was quite arduous as well as even the singles and doubles were being cheered upon and that although the Aussies knew that they weren’t getting the support, they were still playing without taking other variables into consideration.

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While contemplating on the legacy she intends to leave behind, Gardner said that she is proud to don the role of being a role model for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and she was vocal about the same during the recently concluded WBBL as well. She wants to leave an everlasting impact not just during her playing days but after it as well. She wants to leave a legacy for future generations of Indigenous children who wish to pursue the sport and can actively inculcate a healthy lifestyle. That has always been her goal, something that is bigger than cricket and using her position to do the right thing with her teammates is what she aspires to do.

Source: ICC 100% Podcast

I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.

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