If the build up to the men’s series has been, for England at least, somewhat problematic, there have been few such distractions for their female counterparts. Winning the World Cup in the summer is an obvious highlight, and with the series played over the format of points for the ODIs, Test and the T20s, a competitive series seems more likely here than in the one starting next month.
Australia are missing Meg Lanning due to a shoulder injury that keeps her out for the entire series, while England have had limited time to warm up due to bad weather. Yet England are probably still the favourites, although Australia’s home advantage and position as holders does make it all to play for.
As ever, the large number of points available means that the Test match is pivotal to the outcome, although its importance to the series has led to a desire to avoid defeat rather than go for the win on occasion.
The rise in popularity of women’s cricket has been one of the more intriguing developments in cricket, particularly set against the problems in the men’s game. Participation continues to rocket, indeed it is women’s cricket that disguises the continuing drop in male participation – the ECB have taken to publishing combined figures in the last few years – and the World Cup final undoubtedly grabbed attention beyond the niche support that had been the case up until then.
Oh, and it’s not on Sky, so expect them to go out of their way to pretend it isn’t happening.