While many end-of-the-decade cricket reviews have named multi-genre womens teams of the 2010s, I have decided to drill down and select eleven women based upon the best Test performances of the decade.
Why? To recognise an endangered, yet highly valued part of our sport. Highly valued that is, by those who play and follow Test cricket for women, not from those governing bodies who pretend it doesn’t happen.
During the decade of the 2010s (and I explain why the period 1/1/2010 to 31/12/2019 is a valid decade here) there were eight women’s Test matches played worldwide.
Eight. In the whole world. In ten years. Count ’em.
England played in seven of the eight, Australia in six. India two, South Africa one. All the other countries where women play cricket, zero. And there has been no women’s Test not played between Australia and England since November 2014.
If no one cared about Test cricket for women we could probably put up the “Extinct” sign, but people do. The players from Australia and England, who want more Test matches, the players from New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and elsewhere who just want to play, full stop.
It’s one thing to argue that Test cricket for women is a gender equity issue, but there’s a reason why apathy and/or resistance is found in the general direction of the ICC and their media overlords – and that is that they have no respect for Test cricket for men.
There is so little interest in expanding men’s Test cricket, look at the demise of the Intercontinental Cup as an offshoot of that attitude. Why would they show an interest in extending the genre so that women can compete as often as the men? But this and other issues on the future of Test cricket will be my topic of future discussion in other articles.
With that long overture done, here is my eleven. Because of the small statistical sample, some players have been chosen on the basis of one performance only. I have included at least one representative from each competing nation during the decade. Some players have been selected for reasons outside their best known expertise, and I have disregarded T20 and ODI form completely.
Womens Test Team of the 2010s:
1 Heather Knight ENG
2 Thirush Kamini IND
3 Charlotte Edwards ENG capt
4 Mignon du Preez SAF
5 Ellyse Perry AUS
6 Sarah Taylor ENG wk
7 Harmanpreet Kaur IND
8 Jenny Gunn ENG
9 Rene Farrell AUS
10 Megan Schutt AUS
11 Jhulan Goswami IND
Kamini was named on the basis of one innings, 192 against South Africa at Mysore in 2014. Du Preez was chosen for her 102 for South Africa in that same match, Harmanpreet Kaur has been selected as the only slow bowler in the side, having taken nine wickets (5/44 and 4/41) in that same Mysore Test. Mithali Raj’s best Test performances, including her double century, came in the 2000s.