Australia are all set to take on South Africa in the second ODI of the ongoing three-match series at the North Sydney Oval in New South Wales on Wednesday, February 7. The Alyssa Healy-led side have already taken a 1-0 lead in the series, winning the opening game in Adelaide by eight wickets.
Ahead of the game, star all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner stated that she believes she can perform well with the bat. In 2023, the 26-year-old grabbed a record 58 wickets for Australia across all formats, cementing her position as a leading spinner in the world. However, she did not have the same success with the bat. She recently helped Australia to victory in the third T20I in Hobart, striking an unbeaten 26 and they went on to win the game by five wickets. Notably, this performance made her believe in her batting again.
“The way that my bowling is going at the moment, that’s been the most consistent part of my game. With the bat, it’s being really clear with what my role is and what the scenario needs for me. That’s probably something that I’ve gone away a little bit from over these last few months, I was just trying to hit my way out of a bit of a form slump,” Gardner was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“The way that I batted in Hobart was the blueprint for me, it’s making sure that I’m taking a few balls at the start and then knowing that I can find boundaries later in my innings (and having) confidence in that as well, because that’s what I’ve done through my whole career, being that attacking batter,” she added.
Gardner added that she feels her bowling is consistent even though previously she felt she was only an “okay bowler.” In Australia‘s first ODI held at Adelaide Oval, she made one scalp for 12 runs in five overs. She continued by discussing her experiences bowling in clutch situations and how her diligence had earned her the trust of her captains.
“I think (I’ve improved) just skill wise and being a lot more consistent. I’ve built that trust within my captains to bring me on in those clutch moments, where probably before I was quite inconsistent and they didn’t know what they were going to get from me. I felt like I’ve always been an okay bowler but it’s something that I’ve really worked on.
“I’ve always been a batting allrounder within this side, but now Alyssa being able to throw me the ball in those clutch moments and important moments as well, bowling the last over in T20 games, I certainly never thought being an off-spinner I’d be doing that. I guess it just shows the hard work that I have put in and just the trust that I built within my captains to be able to be given that opportunity,” the 26-year-old concluded.