Test history – women’s and TV

Many of us, including your correspondent, will be unable to say exactly how many test matches we have seen – 10 years ago they were on terrestrial telly here, so anyone in the UK with a TV license could watch hours of them, jobs and education allowing.

schutt lbw marsh
schutt lbw marsh

Sorry, of course I should have specified Men’s test cricket, as until this week the only way to see ball by ball women’s test cricket was to take a day off, get in the car, put your bum on a seat and watch it live.  This is what I started doing when cricket was lost from the terrestrial airwaves in the UK 10 years ago, and apart from the three I’ve seen overseas, its cheaper than a sky subscription!

perry c taylor b shrubsole
perry c taylor b shrubsole

I can tell you exactly how many Women’s test matches I have seen – and how many days.  Barring the players themselves, there cannot be many in the land that have watched part or all of 11 test matches in the last 10+ years, which included seeing Australia plus NZ and India play test cricket on these shores, and three overseas ashes games. So with that experience, what was my view?

Unfortunately the game shown on Sky this week (other broadcasters were available) from Canterbury was, in my opinion, not indicative of the 33 days of women’s test cricket I have seen. Certainly it was not a patch on 5 of the last 8 ashes test matches, which were classic topsy turvey cricket with hat-tricks, 5-fers, fifties, centuries, tens of maidens, golden ducks, double century stands, collapses and re-builds, sometimes all in the same day! All very familiar to those of us who have watched men’s test cricket live or on the telly. Barring the Indian game, some of which was typically turgid slow test cricket, this game was the worst of my 11 experiences.

I agree with some of Mike Selvey’s recent comments in the Guardian blog Women’s cricket can be thrilling but Ashes Test was poor advertisement The best moment I have seen of the England Women’s Cricket team will long be the chase at the Oval in the semi final of the 2009 T20 World Championship.  BUT but some of the test matches I have seen showing the skills of Charlotte Edwards and her band of maidens are as good as any of the men’s games I have seen on telly, Bowral in 2008 and Perth last year were exciting games and excellent examples of test cricket.

I will continue to support the England women’s team – they know I will – especially in this, the most traditional format of the game, which they are desperate to play and to keep from dying out as it has in many other parts of the world game. The NZ skipper, Suzie Bates, is recently on record saying ‘I feel a bit cheated that I haven’t been able to play a Test’. This remains the ultimate “test” even in women’s cricket; playing unlimited time, red ball, with your baggy green or the three lions on your shirt.  On this occasion, “my girls” (as Lottie loves to call them) came off worst – I trust they’ll be back.

I hope those for whom this was their first experience will not be put off supporting the women’s cricket teams across the world, who like many other women’s sports, such as tennis or golf, play a more accessible and realistic version of their sport.

Brunt happy with lanning wicket
Brunt happy with lanning wicket

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