Write an Article Live Scores App

The Women's Ashes: How a new format has helped Women's cricket


England batsman Heather Knight is stumped by Australia wicketkeeper Jodie Fields during the Women's Ashes Series

England batsman Heather Knight is stumped by Australia wicketkeeper Jodie Fields during the Women’s Ashes Series

The recent Ashes series in which Australia were soundly defeated by England once again was an exhibition of the fact that Test cricket still commands a strong following  in both these countries. But how many people know that another international  Test match was being played in England along with this series?

The England Women and the Australian Southern Stars were locking horns, parallel to the men, in a one-off Test, as part of their Ashes campaign too. While the 4 day encounter ended  in a competitive draw, the women’s Ashes campaign did not end there. Thanks to an ingenious new format for the women’s game, the possession of the wooden ball (the women’s version of the urn which contains a bat that was burnt in the Harris Garden at Lord’s in 1998) would no longer be decided by just a one-off Test, but by performances of the two sides over the whole bilateral series.

In a bold move to popularize the women’s game, the ECB and CA have collaborated to hold an Ashes series comprising of one Test, three T20 internationals, and three ODIs between the powerhouses of women’s cricket. While this may have given some sleepless nights to purists, for whom the Ashes will always remain in the realm of Test matches, the stratagem was a huge success with the public. With this move, the boards of the 2 countries have ensured that Tests will remain a part of all future Ashes series.

The system worked like this : A win in the only Test would earn a team 6 points while a draw would earn 2. Each T20 international and ODI win would earn 2 points, and one for a draw or washout.

In an age when no other countries play Test matches, this new format has revitalized the Ashes encounter, and has made it positively result oriented. Under the earlier system, the Southern Stars needed only a draw in the Test match to retain the wooden ball but here they were made to fight all the way down to the end of the tour. And it was the Charlotte Edwards led England team that came out on top, winning the T20 series 2-1, and the one day series 3-0.

The interest that this new format generated was palpable, with the English  crowds and viewers getting into the act. They were now not just cheering  for their country’s women’s team, but a second urn in the trophy cabinet. The fact that all the T20s were played as double headers  before the men’s T20 clashes greatly increased the crowd and viewer participation.

The success of the women’s format points to the important role context plays in captivating audiences. The recent men’s T20 and ODI series that followed the Ashes is a recent example, with global interest fizzling out towards the end. Some cricket buffs I spoke to were completely unaware of the the ODI leg of the series.

The absence of a number of big names from both teams and inclement weather were certainly factors that contributed to this disinterest, but lack of context played a crucial factor. Having just concluded a series of national importance like the Ashes, the T20 and ODI leg were almost neglected; almost like a movie hall playing a three minute feature film after the credits of a blockbuster movie; only a handful of people would stay in their seats and watch, no matter how interesting.

With limited overs cricket, especially T20, being embraced by the world as the way forward for women’s cricket, this new format has now set the benchmark for all further women’s Ashes series. Things are looking good for the women’s game (at least in Australia and England), and Jodie Field’s Southern Stars will get a chance to settle the scores sooner rather than later in this back-to-back Ashes year.

Expect some high quality cricket down under from the ladies, and stay tuned all throughout; only at  the end of the entire series will we know who will lift the precious trophy.

Virender Sehwag's hilarious reply to Piers Morgan's dig at India's Rio medal tally Sehwag ridiculed the English cricket team's failure to win even a single ODI World Cup despite being the inventors of the game.
India vs West Indies T20Is in USA: India Predicted XI India and the West Indies face off after their historic semi-finals in the World T20. How many changes will we see in the Indian side?
Glenn McGrath believes easy money available in T20 cricket is preventing players from reaching their potential McGrath offered his support to pink ball cricket claiming that it was required to maintain Test cricket's stature as the game's best.
Chepauk Super Gillies vs TUTI Patriots, TNPL 2016 Results & Match Highlights Albert TUTI Patriots beat Chepauk Super Gillies in the inaugural match of the Tamil Nadu Premier League by 45 runs.
Duleep Trophy 2016: India Red take huge lead on Day 2 Yuvraj Singh's side are 354 runs with seven wickets in hand.
Viv Richards foresees bright future for Indian cricket under Virat Kohli Richards also shared his views on the comparisons between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.
Javed Miandad dissatisfied with ICC's ranking system despite Pakistan grabbing top spot Miandad wants all Test playing nations to play an equal number of home and away Test matches to give a proper meaning to the rankings.
Steve Smith withdrawn from Sri Lanka tour, David Warner to lead Australia The skipper leaves for home in a bid to freshen up ahead of a hectic schedule.
Top 5 current wicket-keeper batsmen in Test cricket Five wicket-keepers from Test playing nations who have cemented their places in the side and have become important assets of the team.
Nasser Hussain not in favour of recalling Ian Bell for upcoming subcontinental tours Former England skipper wants to turn to the future
Mashrafe Mortaza pledges friendship and invites England players to Bangladesh Skipper cites the example of France hosting Euro 2016 after terrorist attacks
MS Dhoni’s biopic gets opposition from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena before its release in state MNS says that Maharashtrians can watch Dhoni's biopic in Hindi instead of it in Marathi if they want to see the film.
India vs West Indies 2016 T20: 5 players who make West Indies hard to beat With a new looked team, West Indies will give a tough challenge to the Men in Blue in American soil
James Faulkner claims first ODI hat-trick without dismissing a single batsman for a duck James Faulkner became the sixth Australian cricketer to claim a hat-trick in one-day internationals.
5 instances when foreign cricketers were smitten by Indian damsels There are some incredible love stories between international cricketers with famous Indian women.
Top 5 bowlers with the most suspect bowling action of all time Players who sparked controversies due to their bowling actions.
Best Australian ODI XI from the late 90s (1996-2000) Australia's Best ODI XI from the late 90s.
Top 5 Test match centuries from Brian Lara The scores of 501 and 400 remain the highlight of his glittering and prosperous career.
Tamil Nadu Premier League 2016: Teams and full players list The eight teams will battle it out over 31 matches from August 24 to September 18.
ICC Test Match Rankings: Top 5 longest streaks as the No. 1 team India recently held the No. 1 for 5 days, how long have they been able to hold onto it for in the past?
Fetching more content...
Related articles