Why the Indian women’s cricket team deserves more longest format of the game?

The one-off Test between India and England which was played from June 16 to June 19 at Bristol produced some riveting cricket, thanks to the fight shown by the players from both sides. The two sides locked horns against each other in the longest format after seven long years. Though the match did not generate a result, it was nothing less than a victory for India, as the eves managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.

 

Indian Women's Team for the Test against England. PC: Getty Images
Indian Women’s Team for the Test against England. PC: Getty Images

 

India took the field with five debutants, including Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia, and Pooja Vastrakar, while England fielded one, Sophia Dunkley. All the six debutants had an exceptional start to their Test career as they contributed well with bat and/or ball.

India’s opening bat scored 159 runs in the match and in the process shattered many records. All-rounders Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana too played important roles in helping India draw the match against a mighty English line-up. Sharma mustered 83 runs and scalped three wickets, while Rana muscled 82 runs and accounted for four dismissals. The wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia had a dream start to her Test career as she grabbed her chances behind the stumps and contributed with the bat compiling 44 runs. The right-arm seamer Pooja Vastrakar struck with one wicket and made useful contributions with the bat as she scored 24 runs. England’s Sophia Dunkley also ensured that her debut Test was worth remembering. Dunkley scored an unbeaten 74 in the first innings which helped the hosts to reach the near 400-run mark.

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Heather Knight scores 95 Run in 1st Innings vs India. PC: Getty Images
Heather Knight scores 95 Run in 1st Innings vs India. PC: Getty Images

 

While India fought hard to get close to England’s 396, left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone wrecked havoc with the ball as she struck with four-wicket hauls in each innings to rattle the Indian batting. India, who was bowled out for 231, was enforced follow-on. After a rain-curtailed Day 3, the two teams had to play with 108 overs on the fourth and final day of the Test. England was clearly in the driver’s seat going into the Day 4 as the hosts were nine wickets away to win the match, India on other hand was expected to pull out a miracle to save the Test. Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana struck useful half-centuries, not to forget Punam Raut’s well-fought 39, helped India draw the match.

If there were five-day Test matches for women, would the India-England Test produce a result? Yes, for sure, provided there was an uninterrupted day of play. This fixture garnered a lot of attention across media and fans and credit goes to the players for giving justice to their enthusiasm. With the brand of cricket the two teams played across the four days, there is seldom any doubt that the young and budding female cricketers would want to play more Test cricket, which is of course the ultimate format of the game.

The other question that has stuck its head out after the Test is, should there be more Test cricket for women? Again the answer for this question is a yes. India, so far, has played just 37 Tests since its first game in 1976, while England is better off with 96 Tests since its first match in 1934. Introducing a multi-format series across the world of women’s cricket can be the way to go ahead, which will ensure that the teams play Tests, ODIs and T20Is on a regular basis. At present, only England and Australia play in an aforementioned way, courtesy of the Ashes.

Though we live in the fast-paced world where a match result is expected in the quickest possible time, there are no second thoughts when it comes to Test cricket, as it is something that the connoisseurs of the game love to savor and relish. It is just like when you go to a restaurant, you don’t want to eat only starters and come out, you want to enjoy the full five-course meal, isn’t it?

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