England Women v India Women, only Test, Wormsley August 12, 2014

Can India make case for Test future?

Melinda Farrell
  shares 16

Play 02:58
'Wormsley is the quintessential English cricket ground'

The last time England Women hosted their Indian counterparts in a Test match Tony Blair was Prime Minister. It was a summer of turmoil in cricket with England dramatically awarded the fourth Test of their home series against Pakistan when the tourists refused to play following accusations of ball tampering. When England and India Women last played a Test, Beyonce and Jay-Z were top of the charts with their hit Déjà Vu.

India caused a major upset by securing their first series win against England with a five-wicket victory in Taunton in August 2006, but there will be no sense of déjà vu for most of the India squad when this year's stand-alone Test begins at Wormsley: only three of the players - Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Karu Jain - played at Taunton. In fact, they are the only current squad members to have experienced Test cricket at all.

This match takes place in a wider context than a four-day contest. It is more than a return to the international stage for India, or the first Test in seven years that does not involve England taking on Australia. And it is far more than an excuse to enjoy the picturesque surrounds of Wormsley.

International women's cricket stands at a crossroads, possibly the most important of its history.

Over the past 16 months, the ECB and Cricket Australia have thrown down the gauntlet to other cricketing nations by increasing player payments to the point where top-tier contracted players can be fully professional. England have also recently secured stand-alone sponsorship while other national boards have made their players semi-professional by introducing central contracts.

But there are no central contracts for the India squad. Many of the players have government jobs working for the railways, taking administrative roles such as ticket clerks. The railways offer security and allow players to take time off for training and competition.

While this set-up is regarded as semi-professional, it's a far cry from the facilities and opportunities now available to the England players and, while the BCCI should be applauded for supporting this Test and tour, there is a danger that India will be left behind if serious investment does not follow.

India have slipped from second to seventh in the World Cup-based rankings since the 2006 Test and the match at Wormsley could be an indicator of what is to come in international competition, a widening gap as Australia and England reap the benefits of full-time training and increased sponsorship.

While the rarity of Tests make it a challenge for female players to become accustomed to the physical and mental demands of playing the longer format, not to mention adapting to the tactical changes, the back-to-back Women's Ashes series have given England the chance to play two four-day Tests against Australia in the year leading into this match and should give them another significant advantage.

England may have buckled against Australia in the most recent T20 and 50-over World Cup finals but in Tests they have proven to be formidable opponents, holding out for a draw in last year's contest at Wormsley and securing a thrilling victory at the WACA in January.

Those two venues played a big part in the type of cricket played and it remains to be seen what the Wormsley pitch offers this time around. While the pace and bounce of the WACA provided the perfect conditions for both bowlers and batsmen to test each other, last August's docile pitch in Buckinghamshire offered little to the bowlers and made scoring runs tediously hard work - Laura Marsh scored the second slowest half-century by any England player - hardly what the women's game needs as it fights for recognition. To this end the ECB has specifically asked for a pitch that allows for more entertaining cricket.

Ultimately, though, it is difficult to make any educated predictions when virtually an entire side will be making their Test debuts. England must be favourites, based on experience and recent successes, while the Indian players have a rare opportunity to show they are worthy of investment and a place on the world stage.

And, if they do, it is to be hoped they will not have to wait eight more years to experience deja-vu when walking out to represent their country in a Test.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY PeerieTrow on | August 13, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    @yoogi: Garbage! What do you mean by, "replicating tests"? They are PLAYING official test cricket and their results will go down in cricket history. Welcome to the 21st century!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 13, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    great performance against the odds. keep going.,:-)

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | August 13, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    Yes the Indian women can

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | August 13, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    A further step that cricket Australia took was live streaming games on their website. I and a lot of others watched who couldn't attend. Salary is a huge thing - there needs to be centrally contracted players who are professional. This is a 'must-do' - and they fully deserve it.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | August 13, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Wormsley might be picturesque, but it's hardly the easiest place to get to, and it is isn't a big catchment area. Wouldn't it have been better to have held the match at Leicester, Derby, Leeds/Bradford, London; towns/cities with a large catchment area, and sizeable populations from Indian background?

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    I'm looking forward to attending this match tomorrow for the second day's play. It is a shame that broadcasters don't tend to consider covering the women's game more - England have many talented players and in Charlotte Edwards a perfect role model for the game.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 13, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    @Malvino, its a shame that one of the terrestrial broadcasters doesn't get involved in showing the womens games, along with womens Football and Rugby.

    I will be the first to admit in my youth (20 year) I was sceptical of womens football, Cricket and Rugby, but as I've aged and watched games, I have to say they often play at a standard that is equivalent of the mens games.

    The only difference is they don't have the brute force of their male counterparts, but play with more grace and timing.

  • POSTED BY yoogi on | August 13, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Women cricket better try to do something like T20 rather than replicating Tests. That way it is much easier to get sponsors and viewers.

  • POSTED BY Malvino on | August 13, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    Women's cricket is great, but it's hard to get to see it. The International Rugby Board is hosting all the games from their women's world cup live online anywhere the TV rights havn't been sold. Cricket should think abut doing the same. Stream these games, perhaps get some revenue from advertisers, but more importantly, make it possible for people to watch the games.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Friends, this piece is on women's international test matches. Please read it before posting comments.

  • POSTED BY PeerieTrow on | August 13, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    @yoogi: Garbage! What do you mean by, "replicating tests"? They are PLAYING official test cricket and their results will go down in cricket history. Welcome to the 21st century!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 13, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    great performance against the odds. keep going.,:-)

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | August 13, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    Yes the Indian women can

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | August 13, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    A further step that cricket Australia took was live streaming games on their website. I and a lot of others watched who couldn't attend. Salary is a huge thing - there needs to be centrally contracted players who are professional. This is a 'must-do' - and they fully deserve it.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | August 13, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Wormsley might be picturesque, but it's hardly the easiest place to get to, and it is isn't a big catchment area. Wouldn't it have been better to have held the match at Leicester, Derby, Leeds/Bradford, London; towns/cities with a large catchment area, and sizeable populations from Indian background?

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    I'm looking forward to attending this match tomorrow for the second day's play. It is a shame that broadcasters don't tend to consider covering the women's game more - England have many talented players and in Charlotte Edwards a perfect role model for the game.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 13, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    @Malvino, its a shame that one of the terrestrial broadcasters doesn't get involved in showing the womens games, along with womens Football and Rugby.

    I will be the first to admit in my youth (20 year) I was sceptical of womens football, Cricket and Rugby, but as I've aged and watched games, I have to say they often play at a standard that is equivalent of the mens games.

    The only difference is they don't have the brute force of their male counterparts, but play with more grace and timing.

  • POSTED BY yoogi on | August 13, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Women cricket better try to do something like T20 rather than replicating Tests. That way it is much easier to get sponsors and viewers.

  • POSTED BY Malvino on | August 13, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    Women's cricket is great, but it's hard to get to see it. The International Rugby Board is hosting all the games from their women's world cup live online anywhere the TV rights havn't been sold. Cricket should think abut doing the same. Stream these games, perhaps get some revenue from advertisers, but more importantly, make it possible for people to watch the games.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Friends, this piece is on women's international test matches. Please read it before posting comments.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    It would need a bit of magic for Indian Women team to win against England. BCCI has ruined women cricket by not giving them a a Test game and very limited LOI games in last decade. I hope Mithali Raj produces that magic along with other girls to produce a "Chake de" moment to make BCCI, sponsors and crickets fans interested. Come on, girls. Play for pride.

  • POSTED BY IshanH on | August 12, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    @ Jignesh Panchal... mate did you read the article? OR Even the heading?? This is about the womans' test match. So eager to brag about their team, some commentators doesn't even read the piece.

  • POSTED BY OhDearieMe on | August 12, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    @Calvin Palmer Warbah: Your point is lost on me. Would you care to explain exactly what you mean?

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | August 12, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    Women's cricket has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. To those dinosaurs who dismiss it as unworthy of any attention, I suggest that you apply this simple test: if your daughter showed interest, ability and aptitude, would you tell her ' Don't bother. You're a girl and girls' cricket doesn't count.' Now, just find the time to watch. You will see cricketing skills of a high order. Moreover, you will not see any of the boorish behaviour that is all too common in the men's game. Good luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    India will bounce back for sure and this series will level.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 12, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    if they win or lose it doesn't matter to me as am interested in the real cricket only. sorry.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 12, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    if they win or lose it doesn't matter to me as am interested in the real cricket only. sorry.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    India will bounce back for sure and this series will level.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | August 12, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    Women's cricket has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. To those dinosaurs who dismiss it as unworthy of any attention, I suggest that you apply this simple test: if your daughter showed interest, ability and aptitude, would you tell her ' Don't bother. You're a girl and girls' cricket doesn't count.' Now, just find the time to watch. You will see cricketing skills of a high order. Moreover, you will not see any of the boorish behaviour that is all too common in the men's game. Good luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY OhDearieMe on | August 12, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    @Calvin Palmer Warbah: Your point is lost on me. Would you care to explain exactly what you mean?

  • POSTED BY IshanH on | August 12, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    @ Jignesh Panchal... mate did you read the article? OR Even the heading?? This is about the womans' test match. So eager to brag about their team, some commentators doesn't even read the piece.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    It would need a bit of magic for Indian Women team to win against England. BCCI has ruined women cricket by not giving them a a Test game and very limited LOI games in last decade. I hope Mithali Raj produces that magic along with other girls to produce a "Chake de" moment to make BCCI, sponsors and crickets fans interested. Come on, girls. Play for pride.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Friends, this piece is on women's international test matches. Please read it before posting comments.

  • POSTED BY Malvino on | August 13, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    Women's cricket is great, but it's hard to get to see it. The International Rugby Board is hosting all the games from their women's world cup live online anywhere the TV rights havn't been sold. Cricket should think abut doing the same. Stream these games, perhaps get some revenue from advertisers, but more importantly, make it possible for people to watch the games.

  • POSTED BY yoogi on | August 13, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Women cricket better try to do something like T20 rather than replicating Tests. That way it is much easier to get sponsors and viewers.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 13, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    @Malvino, its a shame that one of the terrestrial broadcasters doesn't get involved in showing the womens games, along with womens Football and Rugby.

    I will be the first to admit in my youth (20 year) I was sceptical of womens football, Cricket and Rugby, but as I've aged and watched games, I have to say they often play at a standard that is equivalent of the mens games.

    The only difference is they don't have the brute force of their male counterparts, but play with more grace and timing.