Captain Meg Lanning’s Bold Stance on Women’s Test Cricket: “Either Increase Participation or Abandon Completely”

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Former Australia captain Meg Lanning would prefer to see women’s Test matches scrapped altogether than continue to have them scheduled sporadically. The longest format is much rarer in the women’s international arena than in the men’s; only 12 Tests have been played worldwide across the last decade. Each featured combinations of Australia, England, India and South Africa, with other nations reluctant to prioritize Tests over white-ball matches due to financial challenges and rising popularity of the latter. New Zealand, West Indies and Pakistan have all been absent from the Test arena since 2004. Even the sides that have participated more recently have only done so in one-off matches. “It’s really difficult to prepare for a Test match,” Lanning said. “In my career, we were playing once every two years. “If you really want the games to be a good contest and more nations to play and players to understand the game a little bit more, I think we probably need to play more. Or you go the other way and you don’t play any at all and you focus on the short-format stuff.” In December, the unfamiliarity of the format was laid bare for the all-conquering Australian women’s team, which was thrashed by eight wickets in a standalone match against India in Mumbai. Australia will host South Africa for a Test at the WACA Ground in mid-February to round out the multi-format tour. It will be Australia’s third Test in the past 12 months but Lanning still feels the product will suffer if Tests are only scheduled as an afterthought to white-ball series. Lanning retired from international cricket in November having made 241 appearances for her country. Alyssa Healy, new Australia captain, called for three-match Test series to be introduced into the women’s game after the loss to India. Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley later said he was a “strong advocate” for more women’s Tests to be played. All but one of Lanning’s Test matches were played against England but the 31-year-old has been heartened to see South Africa and India keener to participate in recent years. Cricket Australia will officially pay tribute to Lanning’s career during the ODI series opener against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval. Lanning continues to play cricket domestically and will line up for Delhi Capitals in the Women’s Premier League that begins later this month.

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