Juggling focus on the WBBL as well as preparing for the demands of Test cricket in Mumbai will be a new challenge for Australia's players
Test on Gardner's mind as Sixers hit the road
The Sydney Sixers finally have their Weber WBBL|09 campaign up and running and now Ashleigh Gardner wants them to ride that wave of momentum into a challenging stint on the road.
Ensuring another appearance at the business end of the season will be top priority for Gardner and fellow Aussie star Ellyse Perry over the coming weeks, but hovering in the backs of their minds will be another looming challenge.
Indian cricket officials released the schedule for Australia’s multi-format tour yesterday, which begins with a Test at Wankhede Stadium on December 21, just 19 days after the WBBL final.
The Aussies initially believed it would be a pink-ball game, but it has now been confirmed as a daytime affair, while building themselves up physically to handle the demands of a Test in the Mumbai heat is another priority they will need to juggle in the coming weeks.
While they are familiar with white-ball cricket in India, having played T20I series in Mumbai in 2018 and 2022, this will be the first Test Australia’s women have played in the country since 1984.
"I don't mind it being a day Test – it’s obviously going to be really hot ... but it's just a really cool challenge," Gardner told cricket.com.au on Saturday.
"The (support) staff flagged during the West Indian series (that we’d need to) make sure that bowlers are ready with loads and time on feet as well.
"We're getting some red balls sent – it was pink balls and now it's back to red balls.
"So just being able to be adaptable also really helps.
"It's obviously going to be quite a tough little period focusing on WBBL cricket, bowling T20 cricket and knowing in the back of my mind that I need to get ready for a Test match.
"(But) I'm certainly looking forward to it, it’s going be a great challenge and something to look forward to."
Australia's multi-format tour of India
December 21-24: Test match, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
December 28: First T20, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
December 30: Second T20, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
January 2: Third T20, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
January 5: First ODI, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
January 7: Second ODI, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
January 9: Third ODI, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
Saturday's win against the Renegades snapped a three-game losing streak to start WBBL|09, a period that saw the Sixers also grapple with the shock news Alyssa Healy would miss the season through injury.
That game was also the first stop on a 14-day road trip for the Sixers, who now fly to Perth ahead of games against the Scorchers, Adelaide Strikers and a second game against the Renegades.
They will then return to Melbourne to play the Stars on November 8 before returning to Sydney.
"I feel like we haven't been that far off and it's been a bit of a frustrating start and it was really nice to finally get a win and now we've got some momentum going into that (road) trip," Gardner said.
"I feel like we were so close on a couple of occasions and we probably just let ourselves down in small moments of the game.
"I think (getting on the road) was what we needed, to be honest.
"I think sometimes it's actually best when you're away with your team because you do more social things and you're together as a group and you really gel as a group, which we probably missed those first few games.
"Now that we're spending 10 to 12 days on the road, it's going to help team morale … and obviously winning is fantastic in that regard as well."
Weber WBBL|09 Standings
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