Players association chief Todd Greenberg has criticised Cricket Australia for failing to secure a home international series for Meg Lanning’s world champion team until mid-January next year, calling it a lost opportunity that dulls the momentum of last season.
The Australians are to be globetrotters in 2022, with an inaugural Commonwealth Games campaign in Birmingham , immediately after a triangular series in Ireland, and followed by a December tour to India for five T20 games.
At home, the WBBL will be followed by an expanded 50-over women’s national league. But the likes of Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry will not be seen playing in the green and gold on their own turf until s – basically after the men’s international schedule is over.
Greenberg, with the backing of Australian Cricketers Association directors including Healy and Haynes, argued on Monday that this was not good enough for the world’s dominant cricketing force. Similar feedback has also been handed directly to CA.
The ACA is encouraged that we’ll likely see an enhanced domestic women’s fixture this summer. However, this is tempered by our significant concern that our Australian women’s team is not currently scheduled to play on home soil again until the new year, Greenberg said.
That Australian cricket fans do not get to see our world champions play until January dulls the momentum of an incredible season just gone.
In mitigation, CA argues that the return to international touring means Lanning and company will still be playing plenty of matches in national colours this year. Another consideration is finding windows in which the games can be played and comfortably televised by the broadcasters Seven and Foxtel.
While we would have liked a second high-profile home international series for our women’s team, it was not practical this season for a number of reasons, CA’s head of scheduling Peter Roach said.
2022 is the first year of the new three-year Future Tours Program and in any cycle there are fluctuations as to more home or more away fixtures. The ICC mandate opponents for us and it is these fixtures that get prioritised before other matches are considered. As it landed we didn’t believe there were any viable options for us to play an international opponent in the September/October window this season.
We are proud of our leading role in the growth of the game internationally and naturally this means an increase in commitments away from home, as well as ensuring that our players have opportunities to play in other marquee domestic events such as The Hundred and in time the women’s IPL, at the same time as we trust that other countries will support the window for WBBL.
At the same time, the governing body may yet schedule Australia v Australia A matches in the early season window where New Zealand and India were hosted each of the past two years.
There is also an eagerness to host a tour by the South African team as soon as possible, especially after the Proteas return to the ranks of Test-playing nations by playing a long-form fixture against England in Taunton in late June.
Nevertheless, Greenberg pointed to the international fixture disparity between men and women this summer as a cause for some reflection by CA.
We appreciate the challenges facing Cricket Australia in finding suitable opponents for our all-conquering women’s team, he said. But having our men’s team play up to 22 white ball games and five Tests during the same period runs counter to the efforts of both our organisations to ensure cricket is a leader in gender equity.
The present suggested schedule is unquestionably a lost opportunity to leverage the significant public support our national women’s team is enjoying and to grow the commercial value of women’s cricket.
Speaking at the MCG on Monday, Perry tried to talk through both sides of the argument.
Looking globally, that’s an important consideration for us that the game needs to grow, she said. It’s wonderful to have Pakistan this season, we’ve also got an away tour in December so there is a lot of cricket in there, and the opportunity for there to be more domestic cricket this year with international players a part of that is brilliant.