'What a shambles': Cricket world explodes over 'disgusting' insult

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Heather Knight and teammates, pictured here during the women's Ashes Test match against Australia in 2019.
Heather Knight and teammates look on during the women's Ashes Test match against Australia in 2019. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

The cricket world is up in arms over the decision to play England's historic women's Test match against India on a used wicket.

England and India's women's sides haven't played each other in a Test since 2014, but will meet at Bristol's County Ground on Wednesday to kick off the English summer.

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However the cricket world was left raging on Tuesday when it emerged that the match will be played on the same wicket used last week for a Vitality Blast T20 match.

England captain Heath Knight said it "isn't ideal" to be playing on a used pitch.

"We would much prefer to be on a fresh one but it is what it is and we don't know how it's going to play necessarily," she said.

"Obviously slightly different with it being used, but we're confident we've got the squad and the XI that we're going to pick to win this Test match."

Unfortunately it's not the first time the issue has reared its ugly head.

The women's Ashes Test match at Taunton in 2019 was played on a pitch used for New Zealand against Afghanistan 40 days before.

On that occasion, the pitch was sluggish, scoring became increasingly difficult for a number of players and spin became an important factor, and this time the recently-used strip at Bristol could throw up the same problems.

"I guess at Taunton there was a lot of talk about the pitch and it didn't actually do too much, so we're going to have to wait and see and see how it plays," Knight added.

Heather Knight, pictured here after the women's Ashes Test match in 2019.
Heather Knight speaks to the media after the women's Ashes Test match in 2019. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

Cricket world explodes over 'disgusting' insult

Cricket commentators and fans weren't as diplomatic as Knight, with many flocking to social media to blast the farce.

Commentator Alison Mitchell wrote on Twitter: “Failure to provide a fresh pitch for #EngvInd women’s Test is woefully poor, particularly after the 2019 Ashes pitch. Late scheduling, yes, busy season, yes, but this should have been 100% part of planning & condition of hosting.

“An oversight like this is indicative of women’s international game still not being considered with sufficient diligence at every turn, despite the excellent advancements & positivity. 

"It’s another learning point sigh. Let’s hope the pitch plays better than expected.”

English cricketer Alexandra Hartley wrote: “Hahahahaha of course England’s first home test match for 2 years is on a USED WICKET!!!

“Massive moment in the game playing India in a test match … I know, yes, perfect let’s stick them on a used one. You have to laugh or you will cry. WHAT. A. SHAMBLES.”

Aussie bowler Trent Copeland tweeted: “How on earth does this happen?! … for a TEST MATCH!”

While English writer and commentator Isabelle Westbury called it a “bloody shambles”, tweeting: "It’s the principle innit? Understand was an oversight that wasn’t rectified in time.

“Can. You. Imagine. If. This. Happened. To. A. Men’s. Test.”

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A spokesperson for the English Cricket Board later confirmed that all of England’s white-ball fixtures against India will be played on fresh wickets, except for the second T20.

“We are all disappointed that the wicket for the Test match against India will have had 37 overs played on it,” the spokesperson said.

“We know that England Women deserve a fresh wicket, and we are sorry that we were unable to provide that in this instance.

“With the Test only being added to the calendar in mid-April, coupled with the lack of available first class grounds, we knew a fresh TV pitch was going to be a challenge. 

"We accept that this issue shouldn’t have arisen and we will make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.”

with AAP

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