The England and Wales Cricket Board have today announced a major format change to the 2015 Women’s Ashes series in the UK in July of next year.
Coinciding with the fixture release for the 2015 series, the ECB have revealed that just four points will be allocated for the lone Test match between England and the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars.
The winner of the multi-format Women’s Ashes series is decided via a points system and, in the past, the Test match has been worth six points while the Twenty20 and one-day internationals have counted for two.
That scoring system saw the Southern Stars finish on the wrong side of an 8-10 ledger despite winning more matches in the 2013-14 edition in Australia, causing some commentators to question the suitability of the series’ structure; especially considering how infrequently Test matches feature in women’s international series (the Southern Stars have played 12 Tests since 2000, compared to 159 ODIs and 76 T20Is).
Following an intensive joint review by the ECB and Cricket Australia, both parties agreed to lower the weighting afforded the Test match.
If the new system had been in affect during the 2013-14 Ashes series, the Southern Stars would have finished equal with the visitors on eight points but still would have failed to reclaim the urn after England’s series win at home in 2013.
The 2015 Ashes contest will also feature the added intrigue of three ICC Women’s Championship matches, with the three ODIs to start the series counting towards the new World Cup qualification process.
“Cricket contests between Australia and England have a special place in the hearts and minds of the players and public,” Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning said following the announcement.
“The ODI Series will be particularly important for both teams as we will be playing for Women’s Ashes points as well as ICC Women’s Championship points.
“The multi-format series has been a great success and we are looking forward to another competitive series against England and will be doing everything in our power to win back the Women’s Ashes.”
The Southern Stars tour will also take on Ireland in three T20 matches prior to the Ashes series, from the 19th to the 22nd of August, with a venue to be decided upon at a later date.
Lanning will have fond memories of taking on the green machine, having struck the highest score in women’s T20s against Ireland at the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.