Greg Barclay, the independent chair of the International Cricket Council, has cast doubt over the future of women’s Test cricket, saying the traditional format will not be “part of the landscape moving forward to any real extent”.
- Barclay said the future of women’s cricket lies in the shorter white-ball format
- That’s despite calls to extend Test matches following a thrilling Ashes series in January
- He also described the Taliban’s take-over of Afghanistan as “a bit of a blip” in the growth of the women’s game in the country
Speaking to BBC Radio’s Test Match Special as England host New Zealand at Lord’s, Barclay was asked about comments made by England captain Heather Knight, who has called for women’s Test matches to be extended to five days in line with men’s international red-ball cricket.
“Absolutely, if they are going to play it, my personal view is they should have five days to play it in,” Barclay said.
But the New Zealander said the women’s cricket was not trending towards longer formats, meaning five-day women’s Tests were not likely to play a major part in the future.
“If you look at the way cricket is going, there is no doubt that white-ball is the way of the future,” he said.
“That is the game that is sought after by the fans, where the broadcasters are putting their resources, and what is driving the money. Therefore, the counties that are developing women’s cricket will focus on that.
“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.”
In total, 143 women’s Tests have been played in the format’s 88-year history, but only England, Australia, and India have played women’s Tests since 2017.
The most recent edition was a thrilling Ashes series in January, which went all the way to the last ball and ended in a draw, prompting many to call for longer and more regular Test matches.
Barclay, who was elected in 2020 after being a director of New Zealand cricket for the previous eight years, was also asked about the status of women’s cricket in Afghanistan following the take-over of the country by the Taliban, and whether the country would be stripped of full member status after the collapse of the women’s game there.
“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.”
His comments prompted criticism from some high-profile members of the women’s cricket community including broadcaster and former player Isabelle Westbury.
“Really disappointing comments from ICC Chair Greg Barclay on women’s cricket,” she tweeted on Saturday.
“Sounds like he’s 10 years behind the game he’s supposedly trying to run.
“As for Afghanistan… to describe the Taliban takeover as ‘a bit of a blip’ re women’s cricket… whoa.
“Either just incredibly stupid or wilfully ignorant. Then to cite ICC’s Afghanistan Working Group as a solution… well it’s comprised of four men. Plus ca change.”