The Australian women’s cricket team is about to take to the field in the first international sporting match in this country since the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
And all-rounder* Ashleigh Gardner can’t wait.
“We have had the world’s longest pre-season* so I think we’re all keen to play some cricket,” Gardner said.
Gardner, 23, and many of her teammates spent 14 days in quarantine* in Brisbane ahead of their first T20 match against New Zealand on September 26.
Five players from NSW and the ACT — Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Erin Burns and Maitlan Brown — quarantined on one floor of their hotel, while six Victorian players — captain Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Wareham, Annabel Sutherland, Molly Strano and Sophie Molineux — quarantined on another floor.
The players were only allowed to leave for daily training sessions under tight restrictions.
Here’s what a typical day in quarantine looked like for Ashleigh Gardner:
- 7.30am: Breakfast — poached eggs and avocado on toast before a heavy training session or muesli and yoghurt for lighter training days.
- 9am-11.30am: Morning training every second day – batting, bowling and fielding practice in 30 minute rotations*. As a spin bowler, Gardner bowled about 20 overs* during two 30 minute sessions. She also batted for two 30 minute sessions, while the fielding session covered skills and fitness.
- Noon: Return to the hotel for lunch about 12.30pm and some time to relax in the common room with teammates or alone in her room. Gardner said she watched a lot of Netflix and enjoyed playing table tennis with her teammates to “kill some time”.
- 4pm-6.30pm: Afternoon training on the days when there was no morning training: fielding and strength training were the focus.
- 7pm: Dinner — a choice of a vegetarian or meat meal. Gardner said she and her teammates also treated themselves by occasionally ordering in food after the quarantine period ended.
- After dinner: The team might watch some TV together (comedy movies were a favourite), have a chat or play some more table tennis.
- 11pm: Time for bed.
While the quarantine period ended on September 21, the team will remain in its Brisbane hub while it plays three T20 and three One Day matches against New Zealand at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field from September 26 to October 7.
Limited tickets were released for the first match and quickly sold out, ensuring a small but enthusiastic* crowd.
But it will be a long way from the 86,174 people who saw the team play its last match — the T20 World Cup final win against India at the MCG on March 8.
Gardner, who made her T20 debut* for Australia in 2017, said the team’s 85-run World Cup victory was one of her career highlights, made even more special by the fact it was the last time a crowd packed the MCG.
“The most amazing thing is that’s the last sporting thing in Australia that people will remember, the MCG being filled for the World Cup,” she said.
“To be there at that time playing in front of all those people was an absolute honour.”
Champions of the World
- all-rounder: bats and bowls in a match
- pre-season: the training period before competition starts
- quarantine: separated from others
- rotations: moving from activity to activity
- overs: groups of six deliveries from a bowler
- enthusiastic: have great interest and enjoyment
- debut: first appearance
- How many days did Ashleigh Gardner and her teammates spend in quarantine?
- What did Ashleigh Gardner have for breakfast on heavy training days?
- Which team are the Australians playing in the T20 and One Day series?
- What game have the cricketers enjoyed playing in quarantine?
- What did the Australian women’s team win when it last played?
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Draw a Cartoon
Create a program of five activities for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team. The purpose of your program is to help the players develop teamwork skills while they are training under strict quarantine rules. Write sentences explaining how each activity will help the players.
Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education
Write the words for a special team song or chant that will help the players to stay motivated and build up their team spirit!
Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability
Proper Noun Police
A proper noun is a noun that names a particular person, place or thing. It always has a capital letter.
How many proper nouns can you find within this article? Find them all and sort them into the category of name, place, time (date/month).
Can you find any proper nouns included in your writing?
What are they?
Can you sort them into their categories?
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