Should Women’s Test Cricket Be Revived?

Women’s cricket is growing rapidly in today’s age. With live telecasts of the matches, more bilateral series and tournaments, the game of cricket is growing for female sportspersons in leaps and bounds. New leagues are coming up and with increased support and facilities, it is definitely an exciting time to be a female cricketer.

We see bilateral series being organized between different countries. India Women’s tour of West Indies is about to kick-off in November. India will be playing 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is against West Indies. Recently, we saw Australia giving a dominating performance against Sri Lanka at home. Currently, Bangladesh is on a tour of Pakistan and are playing 3 T20Is and 2 ODIs as part of this tour. Although various bilateral series between different sides give the players exposure in limited formats of the game, the absence of tests in women’s cricket means that new players are lacking experience in the oldest format of the game. As women’s tests are not held for countries apart from England and Australia (which play only one test as part of Women’s Ashes), most of the test records are held by former players who used to play more tests than the current generation of players.

Mithali Raj Women's test Cricket

Test cricket is the oldest format of the game. It is the original format in which cricket was played. It is the longest format and the most challenging format as well. It tests a player’s ability to bat through tough sessions, to bowl continuous spells over a period of 4 or 5 days. You require patience and persistence along with the required cricketing skill set to see your team through in this format.

It was not long ago that Tests were an integral part of Women’s bilateral series. Till 2014, India and South Africa Women were playing tests while New Zealand, West Indies, and Pakistan played their last test matches in 2004. The scenario changed when the T20 format was introduced. While men continue to play all the 3 formats of the game, Women most often have only ODIs and T20Is in their schedules. The only countries to play Women’s Tests at present are England and Australia, as mentioned before.

Should Women’s Tests be revived? At a time when even the men’s games in the format have seen a decline in viewership, should Women’s Tests be conducted? I think the answer is yes. It is high time that Tests should be conducted between women teams and the format should be promoted in women’s as well as men’s games. Domestic first-class tournaments should be conducted for emerging women players in different countries. Test cricket is one of the purest formats of the game. By playing more first-class and Test cricket, female cricketers can hone their skills. The grind of 4 days also makes you mentally tough. If we want to see women cricketers giving better performances in the future, the International Cricket Council (ICC) should definitely consider adding a few test matches in the bilateral schedules.

More cricket boards should come forward and show interest in this regard. Considering the amount of attention and interest that the world is showing in women’s sports at the moment, the time is ripe for test cricket’s revival in women’s cricket. After all, the current and upcoming generations of cricketers should have the privilege of experiencing what test cricket feels like – the “real” cricket.