England Women's captain Charlotte Edwards has called for more Test matches in the women's game ahead of her team's departure for an Ashes tour of Australia. Unlike the men's team, who play a five-Test series on trips down under, England's women will play three one-day internationals, five Twenty20s and just one four-day Test.
"Having watched a lot of the men's Tests I'm kind of envious that we don't get to play three- or five-match series because I think that is a true test, real Test match cricket," said Edwards. "But it's not the way at the moment. The Twenty20 and ODI formats have been deemed more important. But hopefully in the long-run we can start getting a three-match series, which will make our Test cricket a lot more enjoyable."
Janette Brittin, the former England opening bat, has more Test caps than any other player but took part in just 27 Tests between 1979 and 1998. In comparison, Sachin Tendulkar has played 175 Tests and 50 men have played 100 Tests or more.
"We don't play any Tests or four-day cricket domestically, so it's really difficult for us to say what we prefer because we don't play enough of it," added Edwards. "In 14 years I've played 12 Test matches. I think ODI and Twenty20 cricket is the way the women's game is going and we fully understand that. Especially Twenty20, that's what most TV stations want to cover now these days, so we have to go with that. When I play for England it's all important, but hopefully in the future we can play more Test cricket."
Edwards spoke ahead of England's departure for Australia for a defence of the Women's Ashes, which will coincide with the men's series. England won the 2007-08 Ashes series in Australia 2-0, and retained the women's urn with a drawn series in 2009.
"It's a hard act to follow at the minute, the men, but also we've been really successful in Australia so we're going out there with a huge amount of belief and confidence that we can play well," said Edwards. "We also know we're going to come up a very good Australian team, but we're ready for them.
"They're quite a young side; they've picked a few young players but from all accounts some very talented players. I think we'll be very evenly matched. We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us, and Ithink at the moment we're the best two teams in the world so it's going to be one of our toughest tests out there this winter, but one we're really looking forward to."
England depart for Australia after an unbeaten tour of Sri Lanka, during which several newer players gained valuable experience. Fast bowler Katherine Brunt, who missed that trip in order to undergo strength and conditioning training, has returned to the squad for the Ashes, as has Left-arm spinner Holly Colvin, who took time off for her university studies, and right-handed batter Beth Morgan.
"That tour to Sri Lanka has really been crucial for this tour to Australia, to give the likes of Fran Wilson, Danni Wyatt, Susie Rowe and Heather Knight the opportunity to play some cricket before this Australia trip and to get them gelled into the team has been vital. We're also bringing back Katherine brunt and Holly Colvin for this trip as well, so we're going out there as strong as we possibly can."
The 1st and 2nd Twenty20 matches of their trip will be played directly before England men play Australia on January 12 and 14, at the Adelaide Oval and the MCG respectively.