The Women's Ashes plays out across the tree formats of the game. One Test, three One Day Internationals and three Twenty20s all have different points on offer and the totals are calculated at the end of the tour.
The Test is worth six points for a win with two points each for a draw. The ODIs offer two points for a win and one point for a draw or a tie. The T20s have two points for a win and go to a Super Over in the event of a tie or draw.
At first thought, that kind of format could never work in men's cricket. Not for The Ashes and not for any other tour. Even "smaller" countries thrive under the challenge of playing the bigger teams.
Test nations should play at least three Tests. However, there are some elements of the Women's Ashes format that could benefit some teams, and the flat-out format itself could even help some sides.
What about a second XI tour?
There are loads of young cricket players just waiting in the wings to make their mark. While they do get their chances on A-team tours and in A-team competition, it's not quite the same. Many A-team players might never crack the nod of the national squad. It's cruel, but that's the way it works.
But what if a second XI tour could run in the same format as the Women's Ashes? This will not only ensure that those who have are sitting on the bench for the first team are given some game time, but it also exposes youngsters who are waiting to break into the "real" cricket squad.
A-team tours are often undervalued, but they are massively important. A competition that actually has "meaning" would not only be a great place to trial the Women's Ashes format, but also to give everybody who might never get a chance to be part of the Ashes to experience it on a smaller scale.
For smaller countries, the points system could be valuable
Nobody wants Tests series reduced, no matter who is playing. However, for smaller countries who are unlikely to win a Test match against a juggernaut, the points format of the Women's Ashes could work. While the formats across the board are vastly separate and teams are quite different, it does give some sides a chance to say "Hey, we beat the big guns!"
Making points across formats is a motivation only if the players who play in all three formats remain quite similar. That's not really the case with modern men's cricket anymore, though. Using a points-based system across the board would also take away a lot of the meaning of a Test win—that would be a great shame.
The Women's Ashes system, therefore, won't ever really work in men's cricket—but it shouldn't be completely cast aside as a foolish waste of time.
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