Women’s Ashes: England captain Heather Knight keen to see reserve days in schedule
England captain Heather Knight says reserve days should be introduced into the Women’s Ashes schedule and repeated her call for five-day Tests after rain wrecked the T20 leg of the series.
England and Australia once again shared the points after their final T20 in the Women’s Ashes was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled at the Adelaide Oval.
Thoughts now turn to the upcoming Test match, with Australia leading the multi-format series 4-2 after their nine-wicket victory in the opening match and points being split across the two subsequent washed-out T20s.
There will be four points on offer in the Test, which begins on Thursday in Canberra, before the series concludes with three ODIs.
If the rain that is forecast for Canberra materialises, it could be difficult for Knight’s team to force the win that would see them go in front in the series.
“I’ve been pretty clear that when you play Test matches so rarely, it should be at least five days,” said Knight.
“But the Test is obviously going to be four. If we lose a day to rain – or even half a day – we’ve seen how hard it is in previous Test matches to force a result.”
England’s last visit to Australia – for the T20 World Cup in 2020 – was also hit by rain, with a semi-final washout controversially ending their tournament due to a lack of contingency options in the playing conditions.
“I think reserve days in Ashes and World Cups would be very useful,” she said.
“It would be useful if they could be worked in and potentially a five-day Test match would make things better for everyone – the players, the viewers – and make sure you don’t miss the contest that you want to see.
“In a hotly-contested series that might be tight, you don’t want the weather to be the main story, do you? I’d be open to looking at different things.”
Knight says the weather-hit T20 series may affect the way England approach the Test, especially with a short turn-around.
“It’s been a very frustrating couple of days, that we didn’t have a chance to try to get back into the series,” she said.
“We were going to try to win it anyway but I think we will have to look at how best to do that.
“We will sit down as a group and work out the best strategy to try and win the game and take that four points.
“If we get a win in that Test match, it puts us in a really strong position going into the ODIs.
“We get down to Canberra tomorrow for two days’ preparation, which isn’t ideal, it’s more about getting ready mentally.
“It’s been a very strange Ashes series before we even started. We knew that things were going to be thrown at us and a lot of the preparation we did was about trying to be bomb-proof and adapt to anything that happened.
“We knew a lot was changing with Covid and this falls into the same category so it’s making sure we stay focused during unexpected events.”
Knight confirmed that Kate Cross and Lauren Winfield-Hill will come into the team for the Test after sitting out the T20 series.
“We identified a few players that we felt were not going to be involved in the T20 series but were key to our Test hopes,” she said.
“We had that in mind and we’ve spent some time on ways to try and negate what will be a small build-up.”
Australia will be without fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck, who will also miss the Women’s World Cup in March after scans revealed a stress fracture of the navicular in her right foot.
Meanwhile, England’s Tammy Beaumont has been named ICC Women’s T20I Player of 2021.
Beaumont was England’s leading runscorer in T20Is and the third highest in the world.
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