Women’s Test Cricket on ICC’s Agenda in Dubai Meeting

The members of the ICC (International Cricket Council) will meet on April 10 in Dubai. One of the agendas of this ICC meeting will be women’s Test cricket. Though the chances of launching a women’s WTC (World Test Championship) look bleak in the immediate future, there could be talks about ways to promote the longest format in the women’s game. Apart from this, there could be discussion around increasing the duration of a women’s Test from four days to five days.

 

Women's Test Cricket on ICC's Agenda in Dubai Meeting. PC: ICC/Getty Images
Women’s Test Cricket on ICC’s Agenda in Dubai Meeting. PC: ICC/Getty Images

 

An ICC member, who will be a part of the meeting in Dubai on April 10, said, “No, there can’t be a WWTC, but the discussions will be more about the role of Test cricket for women.”

While the international women cricketers play a lot of ODIs and T20Is, the number of Tests played by them is very less. Also, not all the nations play Test cricket. Australia (76 Tests), England (97 Tests), India (38 Tests), and New Zealand (45 Tests) are the top Test nations as far as women’s Test cricket is concerned.

Between 2005 and 2016, only 15 women’s Tests were played and since 2015, only six women’s Tests were played, out of which four involved Australia and England and the remaining two saw India taking on Australia and England in one-off Test last year.

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With regards to women’s Test cricket, India’s ODI and Test captain Mithali Raj told bcci.tv before the India-England Test last year in June, “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.” Raj’s deputy in ODIs and Tests, Harmanpreet Kaur, ahead of the India-England Test told bcci.tv, “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.”

As has been the case with women’s cricket over the years, it all boils down to whether the game will attract broadcasters, crowds, investor money and the like. However to begin with, the work needs to start at the grass-root level. There are not many cricket playing nations who have a well-established domestic structure that will provide a platform for the women cricketers to play multi-day matches. The ICC has found that most member nations, excluding Australia, England and India cannot afford multi-day domestic competitions.

There is seldom any doubt that including more Tests in the women’s game will do more good than harm to the sport. It will be interesting to see how the April 10 ICC meeting takes shape in Dubai, since the future of women’s Test cricket will be at stake.

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I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.

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