Ashleigh Gardner explains why she spoke out against Australia Day match vs Pakistan on January 26

Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner has come forward and spoken out about why she vented her ire against the Australia Day match vs Pakistan on January 26 and the criticism she received after raising concerns about playing cricket on the day.

Earlier, Gardner criticised Cricket Australia’s decision to play an international match on Australia Day and described it as a “day of hurt and mourning” for the Indigenous community, ahead of last month’s T20I match against Pakistan at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena.

Later, speaking to reporters after Saturday’s T20 World Cup win over New Zealand at Paarl’s Boland Park, she admitted she went through “a couple of dark days” following the ordeal.

“Social media has a lot of good things, and I knew when posting that statement that there was going to be backlash,” she said.

“I think I underestimated how much I copped, and I guess I tried my best not to look at all that stuff, but I feel like it‘s only human nature to read comments.

“It was a moment where I stuck to my guns, and I put that statement out there because that‘s what I believed in, and I just have to stick true to what I said. I guess I’ve just tried to flip that and turn into a positive, and it’s sparked conversations.

“Not everyone‘s going to agree with everything that people say, and that’s totally fine, as long as I change some people’s minds about certain things, whether it’s social issues or not,” she added.

“The support that I had from my teammates and support staff was huge, because it was a couple of dark days there where I was like, ‘Why did I do that?’

“But knowing that it was for a good cause, and then just trying to take that confidence with that going into my cricket as well, sticking to my guns with how I play cricket, and then I guess how I act off the field as well.”

On January 2nd, Gardner took to social media and expressed concerns regarding the fixture, and wrote, “For those who don’t have a good understanding of what that day means, it was the beginning of genocide, massacres, and dispossession.”

The holiday on January 26 commemorates the arrival in 1788 of the “first fleet” which brought the first white settlers to Australia.

But some indigenous Australians commemorate the day as Invasion Day or Colonization Day because the arrivals set in motion the seizure of lands and the diminution of the indigenous Australian culture.

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