India women cricketers have played just five Test matches in the last 10 years, three of them in 2006 when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took over the reins.
With the BCCI’s promises of giving a push to women’s cricket remaining unfulfilled, players are dejected at not getting adequate exposure to Test matches. “The BCCI has been doing its best for women’s cricket in terms of finances, sponsorship and facilities but is unable to give adequate Test exposure to the women cricketers,” a senior Mumbai cricketer told HT on Friday.
“We have been doing well in the longer version of the game in domestic matches, but are not getting the chance to showcase our skills at the international level,” she said.
The India women played two Tests against England in 2006 with the first game ending in a draw and the visitors winning the second by five wickets. They also played one against Australia the same year. Thereafter, they won one-off Tests against South Africa at Mysore in 2014 and England at Wormsley the same year.
“Most of the other countries, especially Australia and England, are playing adequate number of Test matches and their boards are supporting women cricketers. I don’t understand why the BCCI is hesitant to give Test match exposure to its women cricketers,” said a senior cricketer, who is here for the Plate group matches of the women’s Twenty20.
Former India offie Neetu David praised the BCCI for raising the standard of women’s cricket in the last four years but stressed that regular exposure to Tests was a must. “The longer version is the soul of the game. If you aren’t perfect at that, you are missing something very important,” said Neetu. “I wondered why we weren’t getting exposure.” Neetu played just 10 Tests in her 13-year international career since 1995. “Women cricketers were given central contracts recently. I believe such a scheme would encourage more girls to join the game.”
Senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla admitted that though the development of women’s cricket has been gradual, it has expanded in the last few years. “A new league has started and the Board is doing its best to give adequate exposure to women cricketers and soon there would be more positive changes for them,” said Shukla.