Women’s red-ball cricket to return to India’s domestic calendar

After six years, women’s red-ball cricket is coming back in India’s local cricket games. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is arranging the Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal Multi-Day Trophy in Pune starting on March 28. The last time women played a red-ball tournament in India was in 2018, and those matches lasted for two days.


This news comes after India did well in recent single Tests against England and Australia in December 2023. Although India played Tests during visits to England and Australia in 2021, the last time women played a Test match in India was in 2014 when South Africa came for a tour.


The Maharashtra Cricket Association will host the matches, starting with the East Zone vs. North East Zone and West Zone vs. Central Zone fixtures. North Zone and South Zone have advanced to the semi-finals directly through a draw of lots and will face the winners of the initial matches on April 3. The tournament will conclude with the final on April 9, and all matches are scheduled to be three-day affairs.


This cricketing event will commence just over ten days after the conclusion of the second edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) on March 17 in Delhi. There has been a growing demand for more women’s Test matches, as currently, only sporadic Tests involving Australia, England, India, and South Africa take place. For the Indian team, this presents a challenge as they have limited experience in this format.


In early December, before the big match with England, Smriti Mandhana talked about how tough it is to play a four-day Test. She said it’s not just about physical strength but also about being mentally strong. She hoped that the BCCI (that’s the cricket board) would start up red-ball competitions for women again. She thinks it’s important to change how women’s cricket is set up so it matches what happens internationally, especially since there are more Test matches now.


Meg Lanning, more recently, has been talking a lot about this too. She’s saying it’s really hard to get ready for Test matches. Lanning thinks we need to have more Test matches so players can get better at them and really understand how to play. She’s noticed that when there are only a few Test matches, it’s tough for teams to get used to them and do well. People are still arguing about whether we should have more Test matches or focus more on short games like T20s and ODIs.

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