Attack and defence: Sarah Beard. Photo: Dallas KilponenSarah Beard is proud to be doing her bit to defend the nation as a member of the Royal Australian Navy, but on Friday she will go on the attack against India at Drummoyne Oval, as a member of the inaugural Governor-General’s XI.
After being selected for the Twenty20 match following some commanding performances in the recent International Defence Cricket Challenge in Canberra, Able Seaman Beard may even snap a military salute before the match when she is introduced to Sir Peter Cosgrove, who, as Governor-General, is also the Commander-In-Chief of Australia’s defence force.
“I’ve met the Governor-General before, during our navy cricket tournament, and while it was formal – we addressed him as ‘his excellency’ – we spoke as we normally would,” Beard said. “We haven’t gone into camp yet so I don’t know if the [Governor-General XI] has been briefed on how [we should] address him, but I’m sure they’ll be courteous and polite.
“I’m extremely honoured to be in the team; it’s a big deal to be selected as the only ADF player. My family, my partner and friends are coming to watch and I want to do well for them and for the team.”
Beard’s selection has highlighted the important place cricket still enjoys in the military’s sporting culture. At the end of both world wars the brass formed national teams and the Australian Services XI that competed in the 1945 Victory Tests in England contained the likes of Keith Miller and Lindsay Hassett.
“There’s 10 or 12 defence sports we’re encouraged to play and cricket is a popular one,” Beard said. “Our inter-service match against army was very hard fought … the RAAF has dropped the ball a bit, unfortunately … but the games against the army are always competitive.”
Beard said India had a tremendous motivation to start their tour of Australia off on the right foot against a representative team that is without the likes of Meg Lanning, Alex Blackwell and Ellyse Perry due to their WBBL commitments.
“I imagine it’ll be tough because India will want a win under their belt before taking on Australia,” she said.
Governor-General XI: Jess Jonassen (c) (Qld), Sarah Beard (ADF), Holly Ferling (Qld), Grace Harris (Qld), Delissa Kimmince (Qld), Tahlia McGrath (SA), Sophie Molineux (Vic), Beth Mooney (Qld), Bridget Patterson (SA), Alexandra Price (SA), Molly Strano (Vic), Amanda-Jade Wellington (SA).