Ash Gardner maintains home support will be crucial for Australia in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. As a kid Ash Gardner dreamed of playing an innings on the hallowed turf of the SCG wearing the green and gold of Australia. Now she’s hoping to be there helping Australia into the finals of the ICC T20 World Cup crown in March. Australia is running the T20 World Cup for the first time with Sydney hosting the opener between Australia and India on February 21 at the Sydney Showground and double header semi-finals at the SCG on March 5. For Gardner, Player of the Final in the 2018 tournament in the West Indies, the chance to play in front of a home crowd is both a thrilling proposition and a major asset for the Australian team. “I’ve played in two World Cups, both away from home, and having our own supporters here will help us enormously,’’ said the 22-year-old, who became the first indigenous Australian woman to play in a cricket World Cup in 2017. “It helps knowing our own conditions, having the backing of my family and friends in the crowd is a massive thing. “It’s an exciting time for cricket and female sport in Australia.’’ Drumming up excitement for the tournament which runs from February 21 to March 8 is a trophy tour being launched on January 8 at Bondi. The World Cup trophy will be in a photo shoot on top of the Harbour Bridge before heading to the Bradman Museum in Bowral as the T20 World Cup charts the history of the women’s game. Ash Gardner in action for Australia. The trophy will then be in various locations in Newcastle and Western Sydney promoting the opening match between Australia and India at Sydney Showground Stadium. “It will be huge, the match against India. It’s a different ground that we haven’t played at much either,’’ Gardner said. “There are a lot of Indians here who support their female team a lot and I think a lot of people will come out and back us as well.’’ The final of the Women’s T20 World Cup is on International Women’s Day with organisers hoping to set a world record for attendance at a women’s sporting event of 90,186 at the MCG. Hosts Australia have won the women’s event four times and are the defending champions. This article originally appeared at:

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