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India women’s one-off Test vs England will be played on a used pitch | Cricket News – Times of India

June 16, 2021

MUMBAI: On the face of it, the one-off Test match between India and England, set to kick off at Bristol from Wednesday, is a definite boost for women’s cricket. It is, after all, India’s first Test in almost seven years, and England’s first in two years at home. However, scratch the surface and you’ll find that things are only slightly better, or different than they were before.
From Day 3 of this game, almost everyone would be clued into the WTC final between India and New Zealand at Southampton. The hype for that clash has almost already put this contest in the background. If you thought that the BCCI was loath to promote women’s cricket, the English Cricket Board (ECB) hasn’t distinguished itself either. This game would be played on a pitch which was used for a men’s T20 Blast tie last week _ not exactly ideal for a Test match. England captain Heather Knight had her request to change the pitch rejected. “I’ve had a look (at the pitch), it is a used wicket,” Knight said. “It was used for a Gloucestershire T20 match last week, which I guess obviously isn’t ideal. We would much prefer to be on a fresh one but it is what it is and we don’t know how it’s going to play necessarily,” she added.
Her Indian counterpart, Mithali Raj, though, was just happy that her team was getting to play a Test match at last. A used pitch may work in India’s favour since it may suit their spinners.
The scheduling of one Test each this year in India’s women’s team’s tours this year, though, promises the revival of multi-format bilateral series in women’s cricket.
“I feel that this Test and even the pink-ball Test, which is in Australia in the coming months, is just the beginning of having a three-format bilateral series. It probably opens the channel to have another format added in the bilateral series and that clearly will help the overall standard of women’s cricket. You ask any modern-day cricketer, they still want to play the longer format, because they eventually know that is the format that tests the skill of a player and it is good to have a Test match in the series. Maybe in the coming years, it might also lead to, say a World Test Championship, you never know. So, this is just the beginning. Let’s hope that we continue to have bilateral series where all three formats are there,” Mithali told reporters from Bristol on Tuesday.
Interestingly, even as it has played very Tests far and few, the Indian women’s team is on the cusp of a record-if it beats England in this game, then it would be the first team in women’s cricket to win four Tests on the trot. “You can’t really predict the result of a game from the moment you get on the ground. It’s a four-day game. We’ll see it as it goes. The record hasn’t crossed our minds,” said Mithali.

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