Ashleigh Gardner in action. ©Cricket Australia

In the international cricket only Australia and England are playing the test cricket, and that too only 1-Test in every two years when they meet in The Ashes.

Considering the rarity and the frequency of the format, it is hard enough to cement your place in the squad, but breaking through into an already settled playing XI is more difficult.

Australia’s established limited overs star Ashleigh Gardner is facing the same issue. She was on the verge of a Test debut in 2017 Ashes series, but eventually missed out as the hosts Australia opted to pick an extra seamer. Now almost two years later Australia will be playing another test, this time in England where Gardner is hoping to earn a maiden cap.

“I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I could have done better to have debuted,” Gardner told cricket.com.au.

“Speaking to coaches and things like that, hopefully I’m not too far away from being in that Test match team (this time).

“It only comes around once every two years and only eleven people can play which is quite hard but it’s a professional sport at the end of the day.

“You have to prove to the people that select these teams that I can do it and I am willing to adapt the way that I play to be in that team.”

Gardner is known for her destructive batting and more than useful off-spin bowling in the limited overs format but she’s keen to test her credentials in the long term format which requires patience and temperament than power to dispatch every ball beyond the boundary.

“If I want to play every format, it’s about learning how to bat for longer periods because my main goal would be to get a Baggy Green and be able to play a Test match,” she said.

“It’s about being able to prove to the coaches that I can bat time and it’s not all about trying to find the boundaries, that I can play a couple of different roles.

“I can never shy away from what I naturally do, and I think that’s one thing that the coaches have always told me, to not shy away from that.

“But rather than doing it straight away, it’s just picking the right time to do it and in between balls that I can be attacking on, being conservative and playing the right shots.

“If I had to pick somewhere that I would like to bat in a Test match, it would probably be around number seven, where I don’t think my role would change a hell of a lot from a one-day innings.

“Obviously that depends on the situation of the game, if we’re at 250 or 300, I think my role would be to play that attacking role and score as many runs as I can, and try to be that attacking off-spinner with the ball in the team as well.”

“Receiving a Baggy Green would be a dream come true,” she said. “Playing for your country is one dream I’ve been successful in doing, but receiving my Baggy Green would just be the cherry on top and it’s something that I would cherish forever.”

Gardner is eyeing a vacant top order batting spot due to Perry’s move to Victoria. She said, “If I want to bat higher up the order I need to be able to bat longer periods of time, that’s something that I really want to try and focus on over the next year or two, on cementing my spot in that (ODI) team and trying to bat as high as I can.

“I think there’s a really good opportunity for me to be able to bat hopefully in the top four (at NSW) and score as many runs as I can while I’m there.”

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