Meg Lanning, the Southern Stars captain, has become the latest leading voice to say that she wants to play more Test matches. Australia and England play one-off Test as a part of multi-format Ashes series every two years, but that apart there are no days matches in the international circuit.
Outside of Australia and England, the last Test was played between India and South Africa in Mysore in 2014.
“It would be great,” Lanning was quoted saying to The Age when asked if she would like to play more Tests. “Obviously we only play against England in the Test matches. And they’re always great games, and we look forward to those, putting the baggy green on. If there was an opportunity down the track to play more Test matches, we’d love to do it. It’s obviously difficult to fit into the schedule, and obviously at this stage no other countries play Test matches, so that proves a little bit difficult.
“India are rising in the women’s game. I think they could play Test match cricket. You’ve got New Zealand and South Africa as well, who are probably the stronger ones I guess. Only England at the moment, but hopefully those other countries are keen to do it.”
Ellyse Perry agreed with Lanning’s viewpoint. “For me, the multi-series format like we play in the Ashes series against England, is a really transferable series that potentially against other top nations in the world, we could look at doing,” she said.
This demand comes after Tom Harrison, England’s chief executive officer, had told last month that Test matches for women does not answer the commercial demands. In effect he had meant that there is little scope for women cricketers to play Tests around the world.
“I think in the women’s game the Test match spectacle has got a place in Ashes cricket, for example. I think beyond that, what we have to recognise is that the women’s game at some point needs to answer a commercial question, and it’s starting to do that,” Harrison had told Sky TV. “One of the things we need to be careful of is not just mirroring what happens in the men’s game on to the women’s game.”
This was his response to the question Ian Ward posed: “Is there any value going forward in women playing Test match cricket?”
A lot of players have voiced their wish to play Test matches, but there has been no intent shown by administrators from different countries. BCCI, for example, was keen on playing a Test match every series, but teams were reluctant to engage.
In the book ‘The Fire Burns Blue – A History of Women’s Cricket in India’ Jhulan Goswami, who played a big part in India winning the Test series against England in 2006, has elaborated on how much she missed the format.
England have played the maximum Tests – 94, followed by Australia (73), New Zealand (45), India (36), South Africa, Windies (12 each) and Pakistan (3). Ireland, Sri Lanka and Netherlands have played one Test each.
The first Test match was held way back in December 1934 when England beat Australia by nine wickets in Brisbane.