Australia will play two Tests this season and there is a push to see more of the format
Test cricket has returned to the women’s game this year for the first time since 2019 when England playing India in June with Australia set to face India in a day-night Test at the end of September followed by an Ashes encounter in January. Since 2004 only England, Australia, India, South Africa and Netherlands have played Tests.
Currently the only way for players to hone their long-format skills is if specific warm-up matches are arranged. There is a push among female players for more opportunities to play Test cricket and Perry sees having a proper structure at the level below can have multiple benefits.
“We’ve got so many young players in domestic squads now a lot of them haven’t played a lot of cricket and don’t get a chance to play a lot of cricket, particularly at domestic level just because of the way that the summer set up.
“So for them to be exposed to longer days in the field, or longer days batting, it just gives them an incredible resource to improve their skills and develop as cricketers. So to me that it’s sort of a bit of a no brainer in a little lot of ways because it serves that dual purpose.”
In Australia, if a state player does not have a WBBL deal they will play maximum of eight days of cricket in a season as part of the WNCL – plus a possible final – and there have been calls to expand that competition.
The chief executive of the Australia Cricketers Association, Todd Greenberg, said last month that he would be bringing the topic of long-form cricket in the women’s game to the next round of the MoU discussions with Cricket Australia which will take effect from the middle of next year.
“An easy headline is to say our female players want to play more Test cricket,” Greenberg told the Nine newspapers. “But the reality of that statement is to play more Test cricket, you have to have long-form cricket available to females at a domestic level and right through the pathway. That will occupy as much of our attention as the top of the pyramid.”
Peter Roach, Cricket Australia’s head of cricket operations, has previously said that all options are on the table but setting up a multi-day competition is not the only solution.
“What is worth pointing out is that there’s a lot of different ways to prepare players for international cricket,” he told ESPNcricinfo in July. “We understand Test cricket is a passion for them which is great and we’d be disappointed if it wasn’t. The players’ association is working through that with us at the moment to say what’s the best way to structure our domestic cricket in the future. We often default to answer of it being more, but there’s different ways of finding the right solution.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo