Women’s Test cricket is that aspect of the game that really needs a push. Not a cliche. Not some outdated theory; but a great truth of our time.
What we witnessed very recently is perhaps 2022’s biggest cricketing event all around the world: the ICC Women’s ODI cricket world cup. We saw the Australians rule, the English dominate and South Africa, West Indies play fire to fire. India crashed out earlier than expected much like the White Ferns.
But there’s a lot to gather from the teams that played in cricket’s elite event, a showcase fiesta to unfurl some of the finest talents in the women’s game.
Only three of the teams that participated in the mother of all sporting battles where ODI cricket is concerned, play Test match cricket. Factually speaking, of late, we’ve only gone on to see an England, Australia and thanks to their recent Test match in 2021 versus Heather’s knights, India play women’s Test cricket.
It’s almost as if the rest of the teams just don’t have it in their destiny, for that’s how things have been for long, to play Women’s Test cricket.
Spectacularly unfair. Not done. Why’s this even happening! Adjectives and disconsolations run at parallel where it comes to the dearth of Women’s test cricket.
If you don’t believe it, then ask yourselves this-
When was the last time that you saw West Indies’ stalwarts- Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin and Pakistan cricket’s leading lights- Javeria Khan and Bismah Maroof play a Test match?
Fact is, none of the four enterprising women, among the quartet of the most talented women in contemporary cricket- have actually featured in a Test match?
Did you see that coming?
Whilst each of the four fantastical talents in the women’s game have featured in excess of 100 ODIs, to begin with, that they’ve not once featured in a single five-dayer, is the cause of concern.
But while the familiar names, the big ones in Javeria, Deandra, Stafanie and company have not played a Test yet, similar fate is meted out to present day stars- think of the likes of a Laura Wolvaardt, Hayley Matthews and Sidra Ameen?
But just imagine how interesting and deeply arresting might that day be where a Windies Women travel to Pakistan, hypothetically speaking, to feature in a 2-Test series? Or how brilliant might it be when the Proteas touch down at North Sound in Antigua or flex their bicep or shoulders at the Brian Lara stadium in Trinidad and Tobago?
Test cricket, whether in the men’s game or women’s cricket, is the premier format that defines one’s true talent and is considered the beacon of cricketing achievement.
You’ll always rave about 2021 IPL and Faf’s brilliant batting and can go nuts about White Ferns’s commanding 490 run team score in ODIs (at Dublin, v IRE) but where it ‘ll come to defining true greatness in cricket, you won’t abstain from giving the example of Brian Charles Lara’s 400 and the fact that when nothing went right for India Down Under in 2014, then KL Rahul, in his maiden away tour, found a way to dart away 110 runs at the Mecca of Australian cricket: the MCG!
It just doesn’t get any better than that- right?
Perhaps that is why they say, Test cricket is real cricket?
But where it comes to a latest development in Women’s Test cricket, then things are about to change for the better:
As per a report published in CRICBUZZ, better days are in store for women’s five-day cricket and this is what you need to know:
Women’s Tests are on the agenda for the International Cricket Council (ICC) members, who are meeting in Dubai this week. Although the global cricket body is unlikely to launch a WWTC – Women’s World Test Championship – immediately, there will be explorations on how to galvanise the traditional format. The ICC will also discuss if there is a serious case for expanding the duration to five days.
“No, there can’t be a WWTC, but the discussions will be more about the role of Test cricket for women,” said an ICC member, who is very much involved in the initiative and will be part of the meetings that will culminate in Dubai on April 10.
For the record, only 15 Tests were played between 2005 and 2016 among women players. More specifically, there have only been six Tests since January 2015 – four of them between England and Australia. The remaining two involved India, who played against England and Australia respectively, last year.
“It probably opens the channel to have another format added in the bilateral series and that clearly will help the overall standard of women’s cricket,” Mithali Raj, one of the most accomplished women cricketers in the world, had said before the India-England Test in Bristol last June. Harmanpreet Kaur echoed her captain’s views, in Bristol. “It is a great feeling. Playing a Test match is a dream. I want to play many Test matches in my life and I hope we will continue this,” she had told bcci.tv.
We can only hope to see the sun shine brighter than before and let is divine rays touch women’s Test cricket like they’ve not thus far for we all want to see what a Hayley Matthews might do when confronted by the brute pace of Shabnim Ismail over the course of a five dayer. We all want to relish the TV screen showing a Bismah challenging the might of Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman, just the way we are enticed by the mere idea of seeing a Dane van Niekerk go all guns blazing in spinning a web of deceit and trickery around a Javeria Khan or a Heather Knight.
If all round the year, men’s cricket can find reasonably strong representation in bilateral Test series’, why can’t Women’s Test cricket follow suit?