England captain Heather Knight called ICC chairman Greg Barclay’s comments questioning the future of women’s Test cricket a “dangerous message”.
Arclay said in an interview earlier this month that he did not see women’s Test cricket “evolve at any particular rate” and did not see it as “part of the landscape moving forward to any real degree”.
But Knight, speaking before the women’s LV= Insurance test on Monday in Taunton against South Africa, said: “These comments made me sad. As a player, I want to play test cricket, many people consider it to be the pinnacle.
“It is positioned as the pinnacle and is considered the best and most difficult form of the game, which I definitely agree with.
“It’s probably not a good message from the ICC or Greg’s comments suggesting women not to play it.
“I think sending a message to a woman that women shouldn’t play what is considered the pinnacle of the game is pretty dangerous. I’m sure it wasn’t so well thought out.
“We should not limit what women’s cricket should be and what it can do.
I think it’s pretty dangerous to send a message to women that they shouldn’t play what is considered the pinnacle of the game.England captain Heather Knight
“With the right conditions and the right players, as you saw in Canberra (when England played Australia last winter), the Women’s Test cricket match can be a really exciting and beautiful spectacle.”
England’s last test against Australia in January ended in a thrilling draw which led to the final goal of the match.
But only England, Australia and India have played Women’s Tests in the past seven years, with the previous match in South Africa in 2014.
The only four-day test is the start of a multi-format series followed by three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.
Knight said: “I certainly think there are opportunities for Test cricket.
“It worked very well as part of a multi-format series. This supports women’s test cricket and as players we learn our trade a bit.
“We don’t play some kind of multi-format cricket at home. You sort of learn on the job, especially the incoming players, as the skills have to be a bit different for white ball cricket.
“T20 cricket in the women’s game has grown and been commercialized. But there is room for white ball cricket and the purest form of the game.”
It has been 14 years since England last played a test match without Anya Shrubsole or Katherine Brant in their attack.
Shrubsole ended her international career in April, with longtime new ball partner Brant ditching the longest format this month to focus on white ball play.
Capless Emily Arlott and Lauren Bell are part of a 13-man team that includes other rookies such as bowler Freya Davis, all-rounder Alice Davidson-Richards, and starting slugger Emma Lamb.
“They will certainly leave holes in the team,” Knight said of the double loss of Shrubsole and Brant.
“But what a chance for some young players. We have some of the best young talent, this is a chance for them to make their mark in Test cricket and show that they deserve the chance to take on the mantle.
“It seems that the professional system is now more integrated and I have noticed that the depth and level of skills have improved.
“The way we approached the game in Canberra was exactly the way I want us to approach the game next week.
“As batters and bowlers, I want us to push the game forward at every opportunity.”