India Women are set to play a Test match for the first time in over six years, the update coming from BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who tweeted on Monday evening that India will play a one-off Test against England Women "later this year". ESPNcricinfo understands the game will be played in England and has been tentatively earmarked for June, closer to the men's World Test Championship final, which the ICC has scheduled between June 18 and 22.
The venue for the women's match has not been finalised. The ECB, it is understood, is still working through the exact details of England's schedule for their home season, having confirmed at the end of last year that South Africa and New Zealand's women's teams were due to tour for both ODI and T20I series. A full fixtures list will be announced in the coming weeks.
On the occasion of #InternationalWomensDay, I'm pleased to announce that #TeamIndia @BCCIWomen will play a one-off Test match against @ECB_cricket later this year. The women in blue will be donning the whites again— Jay Shah (@JayShah) March 8, 2021
Women's Tests have almost died out, with the last six fixtures in the format - since August 2015 - all pitting England against Australia, the only teams to still play long-form cricket internationally. India played their last Test match against South Africa, back in November 2014 in Mysore, a game they won by an innings and 34 runs. In all India have played 36 women's Tests (and had one abandoned without a ball bowled), dating back to 1976.
The announcement may also pave the way for India's leading women's players to feature in the inaugural season of the Hundred. The 100-ball competition is due to start on July 21, with five overseas spots still available, and it is understood that the ECB has discussed the prospect with the BCCI.
Shah's tweet, on International Women's Day, came hours after the ICC announced plans to expand the women's global tournaments - the World Cup and the T20 World Cup - in the next cycle of events, which runs from 2023 to 2031. The governing body had also announced a new competition for the women: the Women's T20 Champions Cup, which, on paper, resembles the men's Champions Trophy.
For India's women, the sudden prospect of more game-time came after a break of 364 days from international cricket, amid the pandemic: following last year's T20 World Cup final against Australia at a packed MCG, the team had not taken the field for an international until Sunday, when they faced South Africa in an ODI in Lucknow as part of a five-match one-day series followed by three T20Is.