We need to keep Test cricket on the agenda: Shelley Nitschke

Shelley Nitschke © Getty Images

Australia’s interim Head Coach, Shelley Nitschke, believes that Test cricket is far from dead and that the format can continue to prevail if it is focused upon properly.

ICC Chairman Greg Barclay’s recent statement on the future of Women’s Test cricket has sparked a lot of debate. Barclay had mentioned that the days of Test cricket in the Women’s circuit are numbered and that white-ball cricket is the way ahead.

Addressing a press conference, Nitschke told that Test cricket can continue to prevail in the future and there are countries keen on playing the format.

“Look, I know obviously there’s been a little bit of commentary around it lately.”

“But I think there is sort of an area of the game where we can look to play more, but at the same time there’s got to be space in the calendar and I guess that not all countries are sort of at that point in their development as well. So it’s all got to work.”

“But I do like to think that in the future there is more test matches being played if there is an opportunity. I think our girls really enjoy playing them (Tests), we know that England love playing them.”

“So I think if we keep talking about it and keep it on the agenda, then hopefully that will start to evolve a bit more.

I know there are other countries that are really keen on playing them. So I think if, if we can keep the discussions ongoing, then potentially we start to grow the number of games played in that space.”

ALSO READ: Matthew Mott: Tale of some deep scars and unparalleled legacy

Cricket Australia, today, appointed Jude Coleman and Dan Marsh as assistant coaches to Nitschke for the upcoming tri-series in Ireland involving Pakistan and Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Nitschke said that their appointments will benefit the side immensely with the kind of experience the two bring on board.

“Look, I think it’s fantastic to have Jude (Jude Coleman) and Dan (Marsh) on board. They took our Australia A side against England just recently in the Ashes and did a fantastic job. They work well together.

I think their skill sets are really complementary. I think, it’ll be nice and refreshing for the spin bowlers who have been working with me for the last four years to get a little bit of a different take on things from Marshy and Jude, similarly. They know each other really well, they work together well, so looking forward to getting them involved in the team.”

When asked what her coaching style is and her experience as a deputy to Australia’s former Head Coach Matthew Mott, Nitschke said that there are ways in which Mott’s and her coaching styles are common.

“I think my style is similar to his (Matthew Mott) in that he’s quite relaxed, keeping a very player-driven environment and that’s certainly something that I want to continue on through this next period of our competition phase.

So I’ve certainly learned a lot about the game and coaching styles and there are certain things that I will definitely take from there and at the same time, I’ll put my spin on things as well, which I guess will just happen naturally.”

With a busy T20 season awaiting Australia, Nitschke mentioned that it is important to shift the focus quickly from ODI cricket to T20Is to ensure that the dominance is maintained.

“I do have some ideas around that after watching us, obviously, we’re coming off a strong ODI phase and we’re now moving into a heavy T20 phase leading up to a World Cup next year and obviously, we’ve got the Commonwealth Games but I think part of the camp that we are on this week is about talking about that sort of thing, about having a bit of a reset and looking at how we want to play T20 cricket.”

“So there’s gonna be some really good discussions over the next couple of days around that and from that, we’ll start to look at ways that we can potentially hopefully stay in that number one position, knowing that other teams are coming for us, so we obviously want to stay in that position, but we need to keep evolving.”

ALSO READ: Shelley Nitschke to continue as Perth Scorchers’ Head Coach; signs two-year contract extension

Australia have been marred with a lot of injuries lately as Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham and Ellyse Perry are still recuperating.

“Look, I think sort of in the near future, (with respect to) Tayla (Vlaeminck) and Georgia (Wareham), we probably don’t expect to see them with significant injuries.”

“And Ellyse’s (Perry) back is tracking as well as it can be expected, which would be no surprise given that, you know, the type of athlete she is and the work she does on it.”

“I think at this point we don’t probably expect her to be available to bowl in the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Ireland tri-series but she’s certainly got some value as a batter. So yeah she’s tracking as well as can be expected.”

“And I guess I’ll wait and see how she progresses through that rehabilitation stage.”