In a resounding affirmation of her standing as one of the world’s premier all-rounders, Ashleigh Gardner has secured her second Belinda Clark Award, capping off a remarkable year of cricketing excellence. The dynamic Australian cricketer previously claimed the coveted award in 2022, and this time around, she faced stiff competition, narrowly edging out fellow teammate Ellyse Perry by a mere 13 votes. Gardner’s tally of 147 votes surpassed Perry’s 134, while Annabel Sutherland claimed the third spot with 106 votes. Ashleigh Gardner’s triumph extends beyond the cricket field as she clinches the Community Impact Award alongside her second Belinda Clark Award, highlighting her remarkable contributions both in cricket and community service.
The defining moment in Gardner’s award-winning journey was her match-winning performance with the ball during the one-off Test in England as part of the multi-format Ashes series. The battleground was Trent Bridge in June, where Gardner’s spin wizardry propelled Australia to victory. Her remarkable figures of 12-165 for the match etched her name in the annals of women’s Test cricket, ranking as the second-best bowling performance in the history of the format. Importantly, this triumph marked Australia’s first Test win since 2015, further elevating the significance of Gardner’s contribution.
Throughout the voting period, Gardner’s prowess with the ball stood out, as she not only outshone her contemporaries but also etched her name in the records. Her tally of 56 wickets across all formats in 30 matches during this period was unmatched. This impressive feat placed her well ahead of the next best, with Georgia Wareham trailing behind with 30 wickets.
🏅 Belinda Clark Award 🏅
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 31, 2024
Gardner’s ability to make significant contributions with both bat and ball underscores her credentials as a true all-rounder. Her consistent performances have not only brought individual accolades but have also played a pivotal role in shaping Australia’s success on the international stage. The Belinda Clark Award, named after another iconic Australian cricketer, is a fitting recognition of Gardner’s dedication, skill, and impact on the game.
Gardner’s first Belinda Clark Award came during the Covid era when the Australian Cricket Awards were held virtually. This time, the accolade was presented in person by Australian cricket legend Belinda Clark, adding a touch of sentimentality to an already special moment in Gardner’s career. The symbolic passing of the torch from one cricketing great to another marked an unforgettable chapter in Gardner’s journey.