Monday, 26 November 2012

Women's Test Cricket

It has been a fabulous week of Test Cricket for the men - Bangladesh debutant Abul Hassan hit a century batting at number 10 against the West Indies; New Zealand are setting Sri Lanka a decent first innings score; England have demolished the Indians with some fine spin bowling; and South Africa defied the odds to cling on for a draw against the Aussies.

There really is something very different about Test Cricket. It is a long game and every session is important. Team's fortunes can fluctuate wildly over the 4/5 days of a Test Match, and one poor session can cost you the match.

For the purist it is the best form of the game, but the problem is that it does not generate the crowds it used to, not even in the sub-continent. Fewer and fewer people are prepared to take a whole day off work to watch just part of a game of cricket, especially if they can dip in and out of the game on television, or watch the highlights at a time that suits them. Test Cricket is therefore becoming a televisual experience.

So what has happened to Test Matches for the women? The first Women's Test Match was played in 1934 between England and Australia in a 3 match series, and series continued to be played post war between the major nations right up to the late 1990s. But in the new millennium only 23 Tests have been played in total, and in the last 5 years only 3 Tests have been played - all of those between England and Australia. India last played a Test Match in 2006 and New Zealand in 2004.

The argument against Women's Test Matches is presumably that they are costly to stage, generate little or no revenue and that the players simply could not afford to take the time off to play them. But perhaps now, as the era of truly professional women cricketers becomes a reality, the time is right for the women to be allowed to pit themselves against each other in the longer form of the game.

I have yet to see the international fixtures for the 2013 season beyond the ODI World Cup in February, but I assume the Australians will be touring England this summer. If so, I for one, would love to see a three match Test series between the teams, as well as three ODIs and three 20 over games. What do you think?
[Just learnt that there will be 1 Test this summer v the Aussies at Wormsley starting on 13th August]



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  2. Just read there will be 1 Test this summer v Aussies at Wormsley starting on 13th August!