England international Tash Farrant is eager to see more red-ball domestic cricket as the women’s team gear up for their first Test match against India in more than seven years.
The longest format of the game has been on the periphery of the women’s cricketing landscape, with just eight Tests in the past decade, six of which were Ashes clashes.
England and India have not played each other in the format since 2014, but Bristol’s County Ground is set to host a four-day match, getting under way on June 16.
Farrant, who will captain the South East Stars in the new regional set-up, in which both 50-over and Twenty20 competitions are scheduled to take place for the first time this year, believes greater exposure to the red-ball game would stand England in good stead.
The 24-year-old, who took part in a three-day practice game between England and England A last week, said: “I managed to get a bit of a practice session in with the red ball, which was nice, it was swinging quite a lot.
“The challenge is, can you extend your skills for longer? I would like to play more red ball, I really enjoyed last week.
“But I know it is tricky. Going into that Test match the girls involved will have training camps around it, so I’m sure they’ll be very well prepared.
“Obviously not as well-prepared as if you played more red-ball cricket, but hopefully we can get to a stage where England are playing more red-ball cricket and I think it’s great that India want to play Test matches now, so I’m all for it.
“It is obviously a challenge, but I don’t think a challenge that’s too hard to overcome. I think those girls that will be in that Test match will be pretty well prepared for it.”
Richard Bedbrook, the regional director of cricket at the South East Stars, admitted there were no plans at the moment to include a red-ball tournament in the women’s domestic schedule.
He said: “At the moment, when you’ve got one Test match, and that isn’t even every year, I would say there’s no plans within the regional structure. Certainly not from what I’m hearing at the moment.
“We’re only starting the first year with a 50 (over tournament) and a T20, so to bridge up to three-day cricket would be a meteoric rise.
“Tash and I did talk about maybe a one-off game, and it’s trying to work out what the benefits of it would be.”