In a rather debatable and contentious remark, ICC chairman Greg Barclay expressed his doubts over the future of women’s Test cricket, citing the limitations and challenges currently. He is of the opinion that the white-ball game is the future of the women’s game.
Remarkably, only 143 Tests have been played since the format’s inception in the women’s game in 1934. Australia and England faced off in a one-off Ashes game in January, while India’s last game came against their English counterparts last year.
South Africa played its last Test in 2012, while none of New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies teams have played a Test since 2004. Sri Lanka, Ireland and Netherlands played their lone Tests in 1998, 2000 and 2007, respectively.
Barclay cited the lack of facilities and planning at the domestic level as a major challenge to the format’s growth.
“To play Test cricket you have got to have structures domestically. They don’t really exist in any of the countries at the moment. I can’t really see women’s Test cricket evolving at any particular speed.
That is not to say any countries that choose to play Test cricket can’t do so. But I don’t see it being any part of the landscape moving forward to any real extent at all,”he remarked on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.
Barclay also added that the Women’s Tests should be played over five days, rather than the current regulations of four days – an idea previously backed by England captain Heather Knight and bowler Kate Cross. Notably, each of the five women’s Tests played since 2017 have ended in a draw.
He stressed that limited-overs cricket is the way to go forward and will help in enhancing the women’s game’s growth further.
“If you look at the way cricket is going, there is no doubt that white-ball is the way of the future. That is the game that is sought after by the fans, where the broadcasters are putting their resources, and what is driving the money.”