A return to Antigua has rekindled fond memories for Australia allrounder Ash Gardner, but for team success rather than personal glory.
Just under a year ago, Australia claimed the T20 World Cup title by beating England in the final with Gardner named Player of the Match for her standout all-round contribution of 3 for 22 followed by an unbeaten 33 off 26 balls.
Gardner and the Australians are now back on the island to begin their limited-overs tour of West Indies with the first ODI on Thursday. That match will be played at the Coolidge ground before the final two ODIs are staged at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, the scene of Australia's triumph last year.
"When I think about West Indies I just think about the World Cup and the team performance, it's nice having those memories personally but the team comes first," Gardner said. "It's nice coming back here to a place where we've had really good success and hopefully we can create some more really good memories."
Australia have not had a huge amount of time to prepare for the series, which involved a 36-hour journey to the Caribbean for most of the squad plus a 14-hour time difference. They have not had any official warm-up matches, instead using two inter-squad matches two days ago as their first hit out since the end of the Ashes series in England in late July.
"It's been quite difficult coming from Australia, trying to get back into the swing of things, but it's been really nice to be back," Gardner said. "We didn't realise the first game was so close but we are all really keen and ready to go, trained hard coming off a really successful Ashes."
There will be some changes to Australia's batting line-up from the Ashes with Nicole Bolton, who opened in the Ashes ODIs, not making this trip. Rachael Haynes is one option to take her place at the top of the order alongside Alyssa Healy, but it could also mean more chances for Gardner up the order having not batted higher than No. 7 in her 24 matches.
"I'd love to if I got the opportunity, that's what those [warm-up] games were all about, giving people an opportunity to bat in different positions to what they normally do," she said. "If I got the opportunity to bat as high as possible I know I'd try to take it with both hands."
These ODIs - which are followed by three T20Is - are part of the Women's Championship. Australia (22 points) are currently second behind England (24) but have played six games fewer, having won 11 of their 12 matches, while West Indies (11) are second bottom. The top four teams automatically qualify for the 2021 World Cup.