Lanning wants more women’s Tests

Meg Lanning would love to see an increase in women’s Test cricket, urging India, New Zealand and South Africa to join Australia and England in donning the whites.

While women’s cricket is booming in Australia, women’s Test cricket has almost reached a standstill internationally. Since the start of 2015, only Australia and England have played Test cricket, with the Ashes combatants committed to playing a one-off Test every time the urn is up for grabs.

Meg LanningCredit:Reuters

Whereas the men’s Ashes are only contested in Test cricket, the women’s version incorporates one-day international and Twent20 matches too, with points up for grabs in each format of the game. Australia will look to retain the Ashes later this year in three ODIs, one Test and three T20 internationals in England.

India and South Africa played a one-off Test in late 2014, but New Zealand haven’t featured in the format since 2004.

Australian captain Lanning, who has played just three Tests in her eight-year international career, said on Wednesday that it would be great to see some of international cricket’s other sides rejoin the Test sorority.

“It’d be great,” Lanning said.

“Obviously we only play against England in the Test matches. And they’re always great games, and we look forward to those, putting the baggy green on. If there was an opportunity down the track to play more Test matches, we’d love to do it. It’s obviously difficult to fit into the schedule, and obviously at this stage no other countries play Test matches, so that proves a little bit difficult.

“India are rising in the women’s game. I think they could play Test match cricket. You’ve got New Zealand and South Africa as well, who are probably the stronger ones I guess. Only England at the moment, but hopefully those other countries are keen to do it.”

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry agreed with Lanning, suggesting the points format used in the women’s Ashes could be carried into other series.

“For me, the multi-series format like we play in the Ashes series against England, is a really transferable series that potentially against other top nations in the world, we could look at doing,” Perry said.

In the short-term however Australia are focused on 50-over cricket, naming a squad for the upcoming three-match series against New Zealand.

NSW seamer Lauren Cheatle has been included on the back of strong form in an Australia A tour to India last year.

Young Victorian quick Tayla Vlaeminck hasn’t been risked as she makes her way back from a knee injury sustained during the Women’s Big Bash League.

Opener Nicole Bolton is also unavailable as continues her break from the game for personal reasons.

“She’s going well, which is good to hear,” Lanning said of Bolton.

“She’s got a lot of support around her, both in cricket and outside as well. It was a very brave decision to take a step away and we’ve been supporting her all the way through.”

Rachael Haynes and Beth Mooney are options to replace Bolton at the top of the order.

Batter Elyse Villani is expected to be fit for the start of the series in Perth next Friday as she recovers from a hamstring concern.

Meanwhile, Lanning also said she would like to see more domestic women’s 50-over cricket played. The seven Women's National Cricket League teams each play six regular season games, but the gun batter doesn't think that's enough.

“We’d love to play more WNCL,” Lanning said.

“I guess it’s been an ongoing discussion over the last couple of years and I guess it will continue to be. But the players are really strong on trying to play as much cricket and WNCL as we can, so hopefully down the track that does happen.

“We’ve played a couple of WNCL games [in recent weeks] we feel like we’ve played enough WBBL cricket over the summer to be in good enough form and have our games thought out so we feel like we have prepared as well as we could be. We’re looking forward to taking on the Kiwis.”

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c) (Victoria), Rachael Haynes (vc) (New South Wales), Nicole Carey (New South Wales), Lauren Cheatle (New South Wales), Ashleigh Gardner (New South Wales), Alyssa Healy (wk) (New South Wales), Jess Jonassen (Queensland), Sophie Molineux (Victoria), Beth Mooney (Queensland), Ellyse Perry (New South Wales), Megan Schutt (South Australia), Elyse Villani (Victoria) *subject to fitness, Georgia Wareham (Victoria)


22 February: Australia v New Zealand, WACA, Perth
24 February: Australia v New Zealand, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
28 February: Governor-General’s XI v New Zealand, Drummoyne Oval, Sydney
3 March: Australia v New Zealand, Junction Oval, Melbourne

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