Red-Ball Cricket for Women Set to Make a Comeback in India’s Domestic Circuit

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After six years, women’s red-ball cricket is making a comeback to India’s domestic calendar with the BCCI organizing the Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal Multi-Day Trophy in Pune from March 28. The last domestic red-ball tournament for women in India took place in 2018, featuring two-day matches.

This follows India’s recent success in one-off Tests against England and Australia in December 2023. India had also played Tests in England and Australia in 2021, but the last instance of India playing a women’s Test in India dates back to 2014 when South Africa toured.

The Maharashtra Cricket Association will host the matches, beginning with East Zone vs North East Zone and West Zone vs Central Zone fixtures. North Zone and South Zone are in the semi-finals directly and will face the winners of the initial matches from April 3. The final is scheduled for April 9, and all matches will be three-day affairs.

The tournament kicks off just over ten days after the WPL’s second edition’s final on March 17 in Delhi.

There has been a growing demand for more women’s Tests, considering the infrequent matches featuring Australia, England, India, and South Africa. India, which is more used to T20s and ODIs, will find it difficult to adapt to this format.

Before the Test against England in December, Smriti Mandhana highlighted the mental and physical challenges of playing four consecutive days. She expressed optimism that the women’s domestic red-ball competition will return, predicting that more Test matches would result in a new domestic championship that would meet international standards.

Meg Lanning has also underlined the necessity of further Test matches in order to improve the game’s comprehension and competitiveness. She suggested either playing more Tests or focusing solely on short-format games for better player preparation and global participation.

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