A neat bit of progressive thinking in cricket, for a change.
Cricket’s format wars seem no nearer to resolving themselves, but a new idea hatched for the Women’s Ashes Series this August is truly a good move. The Australian and English teams will contest one Test, three one-dayers and three T20s in this multi-format series, with points allocated to each contest. The team with the most points at the end of the series claims the Ashes.
It’s tacit acknowledgement, perhaps, of how the limited-over forms of the game are pre-eminent in women’s cricket. But the structure of the series also leverages value back into the Tests, as well as creating great linkage with the men – two of the T20s, at Southampton and Durham, will be played as Australia-England double-headers with the men’s side.
Beyond the interest it could create in the women’s game – who wouldn’t want to watch that last women’s T20 if the Ashes were on the line? – this series also raises a significant point about all limited-over cricket. Be it 50 overs or 20, the main issue is how to give these games context – what are these games being played for (World Cups aside) apart from filling out airtime and tour schedules? We’re quite sure that the venerable prize of 1882 will never be contested in anything but the whites, but the Women’s Ashes is a useful pointer for a new approach to the structure of the men’s game.