Women’s Test cricket is under attack – and this time not just from the usual trolls on Twitter; but from influential voices within the men’s game.
The Guardian’s Cricket Correspondent, former Test bowler Mike Selvey, who has almost 25,000 followers on Twitter, described the recent Women’s Ashes Test as “the worst possible advertisement” for the women’s game and called upon those who support the concept of women’s Tests to “think again… [and] let go.”
Meanwhile in The Times, Sky presenter and ex-England captain Mike Atherton (over 100,000 Twitter followers) called the Test “tedious viewing” which had “set back the cause of women’s cricket”.
It is obviously very disappointing to see the likes of Selvey and Atherton use their pulpits in the national press to publish such destructive attacks on the women’s game, especially given the likelihood that not only is this the only column each will write on the subject this year, but probably also the only such piece many of their congregation will read.
Fortunately, any decisions on the future of women’s Tests will be made not by members of the Third Estate, but by those responsible for the custodianship of the women’s game at the ECB, Cricket Australia and the BCCI in India – among which none are more influential than the Head of Women’s Cricket at the ECB, and chair of the ICC’s Women’s Cricket Committee, Clare Connor.
And Connor is making a stand.
Asked by CRICKETher about her commitment to the longest form of the Women’s game, she drew a clear line in the sand:
“I would never want to be part of an administration that strikes a line through Test cricket. I would hate that.”
And regarding the Test’s place in the Women’s Ashes points format:
“We’ve kept [women’s Test cricket] alive by this bigger scenario; and I will fight to continue to do that.”
But it was when asked “Why?” that Connor’s true passion rang through:
“[It’s for] the players – it’s sacred for them – it’s one of their proudest moments.”
An administrator she may be these days, but like the child, the player inside never dies… and the player inside Clare Connor is alive and kicking and ready to fight for women’s Test cricket.