'Frustrated' Gardner focussed on shedding batting slump

Riding high in confidence with the ball in her hand, Ashleigh Gardner is now out to make a mark on the India tour with the bat

Ashleigh Gardner has declared herself fully recovered from her marathon Test stint with the ball against India on the eve of the first ODI at Wankhede Stadium.

The allrounder has continued to go from strength to strength with her off-spin, but she is now determined to make her mark with the bat during the six upcoming white-ball games in Mumbai following a lean streak during the Weber WBBL.

Gardner bowled 50 overs in Australia's eight-wicket defeat at Wankhede Stadium, with 41 of those sent down in India's first innings.

It was unprecedented territory for the 25-year-old, who did not bowl more than 25 overs in an innings during her match-winning 12-wicket haul against England in Nottingham in June.

"I was loving it – until the next morning when I got out of bed and I was very sore in parts of my body that I didn't think I used when bowling," Gardner said on Wednesday.

Ashleigh Gardner bowled 50 overs in Australia's Test defeat at Wankhede Stadium // Sportzpics/BCCI

"But it was a really cool opportunity for me. I surprisingly recovered quite quickly, I haven't felt like I bowled 50 overs in a Test match a couple of days ago, so I feel ready to go again."

Gardner arrived in India fresh off a strong tournament with the ball for the Sydney Sixers in WBBL|09, which saw her capture 21 wickets at 18.5.

But her form with the bat was less consistent – she hit 289 runs at 22, with a strike rate of 111, and passed fifty just once.

With six white-ball games to go before Australia fly home from Mumbai, Gardner is eager to perform in the other facet of her all-round game.

"The Big Bash didn't go quite as planned … that's frustrating because I feel like I'm batting well in the nets and it's almost just one of those things where I can't necessarily transfer it into games," Gardner said.

"That's the most annoying thing as a batter, when you feel that you're actually timing the ball well and you're hitting the ball, and you just want it to then happen in games.

"I feel like I'm not that far away, I don't think it's technical, it's just not being able to make clear decisions.

"In a place like India, you have to be really clear on your gameplan and that's something that I'm really going to focus on in these last six games over here in India."

Meanwhile, Gardner said her confidence with the ball was at an all-time high.

The off-spinner is by far Australia's leading wicket taker across all formats in 2023, claiming 55 wickets across two Tests, 11 ODIs and 14 T20Is.

Alongside her 17 Test wickets, Gardner has captured 21 ODI wickets at 13.52, with an economy rate of 3.8, while in T20s she has taken 17 at 19.7.

Australia's next most productive bowlers for 2023 have been Megan Schutt (24), Darcie Brown (22) and Jess Jonassen (20).

"Bowling is one of those skills where you do get more than one shot, with the bat if you get out, you're out (but) with the ball you can show a little bit more resilience," Gardner said.

"That's something that I've done over the last few years, really tried to hone in on what I'm really good at with the ball and being able to utilise that more often than not.

"That comes back to Alyssa Healy having a lot of faith in me with the ball at the moment, which has put my confidence in a really good place.

"I'm in a really good spot with the ball at the moment and hopefully that can transfer over to the bat as well."

Australia's CommBank Tour of India

December 21-24: Test match, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

December 28: First ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

December 30: Second ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

January 2: Third ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

January 5: First T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

January 7: Second T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

January 9: Third T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (T20s only), Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

India Test squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Shubha Satheesh, Harleen Deol, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh Thakur, Titas Sadhu, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar