Test match cricket, regardless of if you are man, women or dalek, is surely the pinnacle of cricket.
For the women's game, these matches come far and few between. England and India women line up today to play a 4 day test match, the first since 2019 for England, and, remarkably, the first since 2014 for India.
Given the importance of test cricket as a format, and the relative rarity of these titanic match-ups, one could expect that cricket boards would make sure such events showcase women's cricket at its best, if only because of the sheer amount of time they have to prepare themselves and the pitches.
Unfortunately, despite the England Cricket Board's ‘aim […] to make cricket a game that is truly gender-neutral with women and girls being properly represented across the whole game', it appears their actions today do not reflect this commitment.
The two women's team will not be playing the test match on a freshly prepared wicket.
The pitch they will use will have had 39 overs of men's Twenty20 cricket played on it already.
But why does it matter? First the racist and sexist tweets were unearthed, undermining their message, and now this.
An issue as fundamental as this, would not arise arise in the men's game. If the England Cricket Board is serious about equality, but cannot make sure the women's team have a fresh pitch for the most important game of the season like the men, then where do their priorities lie?
An ECB spokesperson said the following: “We know that England Women deserve a fresh wicket and we are sorry that we were unable to provide that in this instance”.
“With the Test only being added to the calendar in mid-April, coupled with the lack of available first class grounds, we knew a fresh TV pitch was going to be a challenge.”
If we are in a position where 2 months is not long enough to find a fresh pitch for the height of women's cricket, even if that means a domestic T20 must be played on a used pitch instead, then is cricket is a game for everyone?
As for the game, there's a moan later attitude. England captain Heather Knight said the following: "We can moan about it later - we've just got to play what's in front of us, we can't use it as a negative or an excuse or frustration."
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