Belinda Clark – Focus for women’s cricket ‘needs to continue on the shorter formats’

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Says she wouldn’t change anything until 10-15 nations are playing top-class white-ball cricket

Belinda Clark believes that the limited-overs formats should remain the primary vehicle for the expansion of women’s cricket, and switching the focus to Tests may not reap the desired results “until such time as we’ve got 10-15 nations that are playing high-quality T20 and then 50-over cricket”.

“I think the focus for the women’s game needs to continue on the shorter formats: T20 and 50-over [cricket],” Clark, the former Australia captain and till recently head of Cricket Australia’s community cricket department, said at Monday’s launch of ICC’s 100% Cricket – Future Leaders Programme. “And I say that because if our objective is to spread the game globally and grow depth in the teams that are competing internationally, you do need a focus and that focus needs to be directed at certain formats.

“Otherwise what will happen is everyone will spend a little bit of money on everything and nothing actually will change.”

At its recent cricket committee meeting, the ICC board decided that Test and ODI status would be given to women’s teams of all Full Member countries. But despite having long been Full Members, Zimbabwe, who until the ICC’s announcement only had T20I status, and Bangladesh, are yet to play Tests. Therefore, what the elevation to Test status for Full Member women’s sides effectively means in practice remains unclear, especially considering that only Australia and England have played Test cricket in the last six years. That apart, only South Africa and India have been part of the longest format since 2007.

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