Outspoken Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner’s standing in the world cricket community has been recognised as one of three inclusions in the official ICC T20 team of 2022.
While the men’s team didn’t include a single Australian after their dismal World Cup defence in November, Gardner and teammates Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath were named in the women’s team.
Gardner, the reigning Belinda Clark medallist, has been the subject of online attacks this week after taking aim at Cricket Australia for scheduling a T20 international match on January 26.
She vowed to play in the game in Hobart, where the players will hold a smoking ceremony before the match and embark on a walk around local mountain kunanyi, as the game remains a key part of Australia’s build up to its own World Cup defence in South Africa in February.
Gardner was recognised for her all-round achievements in 2022 which included becoming just the third player in women’s T20s to score over 200 runs in a calendar year while averaging 50-plus and striking at a rate of 150 or more.
She averaged 72 as Australia went unbeaten in all but one match and won Commonwealth Games gold.
Star opener Mooney earned her spot on the back of a mountain of runs at an average of 56 at the top of the order in her 14 games.
McGrath, who rose to the No.1 batter ranking in 2022, smacked 435 runs for the year in T20Is, with four half-centuries in 11 knocks, while also taking 13 wickets with the ball.
But while the women rose, the Australian men failed to make an impact through 2022, which included bombing out of their home World Cup defence before the finals.
Australia finished with a 12-7 win-loss record from matches in 2022, which included series losses to India and World Cup winners England.