Former Australia leg-spinner Kristen Beams believes that five-day Test matches must be the minimum standard in women’s cricket. She added that five-day Test matches in women’s cricket will help in reducing the number of overs in a day from 100 to 90.
The most noticeable difference in men’s and women’s cricket has been that Test matches in the latter last for four days rather than five.
“Five-day Tests must be the minimum standard. Four-day Tests are hard to win, that isn’t rocket science. Australia have now played in three consecutive Test draws with the most recent result coming in that memorable match at Canterbury during the 2015 Ashes tour,” wrote Kristen in her column for cricket.com.au on Wednesday.
“Adding an extra day will also allow for a reduction in the number of overs in the day from 100 to 90, which will put less pressure on bowlers when they’re already making such a big leap from their usual workload in limited-overs matches,” added Kristen.
She has also called for more pink-ball Test matches to be played in women’s cricket ahead of the women’s Ashes Test starting at Manuka Oval from Thursday. “I’m personally pro pink-ball Tests; they provide entertaining cricket when it swings (particularly in the night session) and given the pink ball behaves in a similar manner to the white ball, it seems more relevant to the women’s game.”
Kristen, who represented Australia on 49 occasions, has also suggested for women’s Test cricket to be split into two pools and called upon the nations to prioritise the longest format of the game for women.
“What isn’t realistic is having every country compete in Test cricket against each other in the short term, but it’s a great aspirational goal. Therefore, I’d suggest splitting Test cricket into two pools and go off the 50-over rankings to start with.
“This currently would see England, Australia, India and South Africa in one pool and New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the other. An important piece of the puzzle is what underpins Test cricket within each country. At present there isn’t a structure in place that support the development of Test cricketers because, in simple terms, Tests are one-offs meaning there are plenty of international cricketers who never have the opportunity to play the format.”
The 37-year-old signed off by saying the top nations have to think about the structure to develop women Test cricketers.
“I believe it will be up to the top nations to pilot different structures to help develop Test cricketers, whether that be a longer format in domestic cricket (3-4 days), specialist series where a country may select the best 22 potential Test cricketers to play in a series, or it may be a small step with some 70 to 90-over cricket.
“The latter perhaps being a good starting point for the countries who have not played any Test cricket at all. Ultimately, there needs to be some thinking outside the box and we shouldn’t fear failure in an attempt to come up with the right structures that all countries can adopt in the future.”