Thursday , July 7 2022

Women’s Test matches ‘not part of future landscape’, says ICC chief | Cricket

Greg Barclay, the independent chair of the International Cricket Council, has warned fans to brace for a reduction in the amount of Test cricket over the next few years – and said women’s Tests will not be “part of the landscape moving forward to any real extent”.

A total of 143 women’s Tests have been played in the format’s 88-year history but only five since 2015, and only once since 2007 has a team other than England, India and Australia competed in one. With the sport’s focus increasingly trained on shorter formats, Barclay does not expect a scheduling surge.

“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,” Barclay said.

“Therefore the counties that are developing women’s cricket will focus on that. In order to play Test cricket you have to the structures in place domestically and they don’t really exist, so I can’t really see women’s Test or long-form cricket evolving at any speed at all. That’s not to say they can’t choose to play Test cricket, but I don’t really see that as part of the landscape moving forward to any real extent.”

Barclay, who was elected chair of the ICC in 2020 having been a director of New Zealand cricket for the previous eight years, played down the possibility of Afghanistan being stripped of full member status because of their failure to operate a women’s team, suggesting the collapse of the women’s game in the country since Taliban retook control last year represented “something of a blip”.

“The people involved in Afghan cricket assure me they are doing everything they can to get the women’s game better established and what has happened is hopefully something of a blip in that process,” he said. “Some other members have also had slow progress in developing a women’s game so let’s give it time.”

Rly disappointing comments from ICC Chair Greg Barclay on women’s cricket on @bbctms. Sounds like he’s 10 yrs behind the game he’s supposedly trying to run:

“I can’t see women’s Test cricket evolving @ any particular speed at all […] don’t see it being part of the landscape.”

— Isabelle Westbury (@izzywestbury) June 3, 2022

But the bad news on the subject of Test cricket was not restricted to the women’s game, with Barclay warning that many nations – perhaps everyone outside the game’s current financial superpowers of India, Australia and England – will play fewer matches in future.

“Men’s Test cricket represents the history and legacy of the game – it is what makes the game unique,” he said. “We are fortunate that we have other formats that can help us sustain Test cricket financially because other than one or two series is effectively loss making for boards.

“The World Test Championship has driven some relevancy into it. In 10 or 15 years time I still see Test cricket being an integral part, [but] some of the smaller full members will have to accept that they can’t play the amount of Test cricket that they want to.”

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