England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has apologised for scheduling the June 16-19 one-off Test between India and England women on a used pitch, that hosted a T20 Blast match between Gloucestershire and Sussex only five days ago.
“We are all disappointed that the wicket for the Test match against India will have had 37 overs played on it. We know that England Women deserve a fresh wicket and we are sorry that we were unable to provide that in this instance,” said the ECB.
On Friday, Sussex beat Gloucestershire by five wickets in a T20 Blast game that went on for 37.2 overs on the Bristol pitch where the women’s Test will be played.
The Test, first for India women in seven years and first for England women in two years, commences on Wednesday.
ECB blamed it on late scheduling and said providing a fresh pitch fit for TV broadcast was going to be a challenge.
“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,” added the ECB.
England women’s team captain Heather Knight said it wasn’t ideal to play on a used wicket.
“I guess it is obviously not ideal. We would much prefer to be on a fresh one but it is what it is. And we do not know how it is going to play necessarily,” said Knight.
“We found out last week. We obviously tried to get it changed but it was a little bit too late for that to happen. It is unfortunate but it still could play very well,” she added.
England cricketer Alexandra Hartley lashed out on twitter saying, “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. [emoticons: fingers crossed] it plays well.”
Indian women’s team captain Mithali Raj, however, chose to stay mum.
Asked for her views by former cricketer and journalist Isabelle Westbury in the pre-match press conference, Mithali responded, “We are here to play a match. Whatever strip we get, we try and get a result out of it. That is our thought process. Whether it is a used wicket or a fresh wicket… as players, and a captain I definitely want my team to get a result and for that it is important that we put down our strategies accordingly.”