Gardner lights path for Indigenous cricket

Australian cricketer Ash Gardner is honoured to captain the Governor-General's XI, but it is what her elevation to the role can do to inspire Indigenous sportspeople that most excites her.

The proud Muruwari nation woman will be the first Indigenous captain of the Governor-General's XI when she leads the team against Pakistan in a 50-over clash at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Friday.

Gardner, Faith Thomas and Hannah Darlington are the three Indigenous players to represent the Australian women's cricket team in any format.

Jason Gillespie, Scott Boland, Dan Christian and D'Arcy Short are the four Indigenous men to do the same since the trailblazing Aboriginal side toured England in 1868.

"As sportspeople, you probably need to put your career and what you are doing in sport into the bigger picture," Gardner told AAP.

"For me it is being able to inspire the next generation of young Indigenous sportspeople, whether it is cricket or not.

"There has been such a low number of Indigenous cricketers that have played at the highest level. Hopefully people like myself, Dan Christian and D'Arcy Short can try and change those trends and make cricket look attractive for people who maybe once thought it wasn't for them.

"There is more to sport than sport, and it is actually trying to change the next generation that hopefully follow in your footsteps."

The late, great rugby league player Arthur Beetson became the first Indigenous Australian to captain his country in any sport, lighting a path for many others to follow their dreams.

Gardner's elevation to the captaincy, a role she may well play for the Australian team in future, can have a similar impact.

"The line that 'you can't be what you can't see' is quite true in cricket at the moment with the number of Indigenous players that do play at the highest level," she said.

"It is traditionally quite a white sport, so it is probably not overly attractive for Indigenous communities.

"It is certainly going to be a challenge for CA (Cricket Australia) to keep growing it in those areas, but the way we are going about it ... hopefully reaching out to more communities can encourage people to try cricket and fall in love with it."

The 25-year-old, who captained the national Indigenous women's team on a tour of India when she was 18, said she had worked on her leadership over the past year and a half during a period in which she was the 2022 Belinda Clark Award winner as the best female cricketer in Australia.

As captain on Friday, the allrounder will be true to herself as a person and cricketer.

"In the past when I have captained I am someone who goes with their gut a lot, and that probably feeds into how I play my cricket, being quite fearless and trying to take the game on in all areas,'' Gardner said.

"I have got plenty of young and up-and-coming players that I can lead, which is really exciting. I'll be able to tap into them and chat to them about their games and where they can see themselves going in the next period."