The week in Women's cricket

Irish defectors, prominent positions and shorter things.

This has been a massive week for women's cricket. Despite no actual women's cricket being virtually unplayable now. It's a weird time for women in professional sport, with their advancements suddenly in jeopardy as sports around the world are losing money.

But while that is going on, some fascinating stories happened this week.

🏏Kim Garth leaving Ireland to become a pro in Australia

🏏Clare Connor will be MCC President from 2021

🏏The debate over shorter pitches and smaller balls for the women's game

Kim Garth is probably not a name you know about unless you follow the WBBL or Irish cricket. But she can play, averaging under 20 with the ball and over with the bat in T20s. She's a proper all rounder, and for Ireland, a genuine star in what is still a developing women's set up. But she's so good that now she's accepted a two-year contract with victoria, and will no doubt continue to start in the WBBL.

This is a horrible story for Irish cricket; you can't lose a player of Garth's quality and not struggle with it. But this is a massive moment for the women's game globally, and the professionalism of the game. One of the reasons the Olympics was never that keen on cricket was because they were worried that the quality of the women's game was high enough. The knew that a few teams were good, but then a huge drop-off, and behind that, almost non-existent. But things are changing, Thailand's qualification for the T20 World Cup was huge. Brazil is making its women professional before the men is another crucial step.

But Garth's contract shows that non-traditional teams are now starting to produce players worthy for the major markets. And this means that a young girl in Nepal, or Mexico, could choose cricket professionally into the future. That's huge, it would be better if Garth could be a professional in Ireland, but her departure will hopefully make that something that Ireland cricket will have to do.

In many ways, outside of spreading some cash and goodwill around, the only thing the MCC really do is change the laws of the game. And being that international cricket has it's own playing conditions, it means at the pointy end of cricket they have little real say anymore. But they are still a vital figurehead part. In making former England player Clare Connor the first woman president - when she does take the gig - they've done something that most cricket organisations in the world haven't done.

It's silly that the MCC hasn't had a woman president before this, but then again, they did have that silly rule that you needed a genital appendage just to be a member for almost 200 years. It's a symbolic move by a symbolic organisation.

There has been a debate for a long time over whether women's cricket should make the size of their pitches, boundaries and balls smaller to improve the quality of the women's game.

Let me start with the boundary sizes; when I started covering the women's game in 2012, the players could barely hit boundaries. By the 2017 World Cup Lizelle Lee cleared the fence at Leicester. And that's a huge boundary. The more weight training, dietary help and range hitting the women have done, the further they have hit the ball.

So I would expect that over time they'd do the same with faster bowling. I get the problem with the size of the ball when it comes to spinners. The women aren't smashing the ball everywhere right now against hapless bowlers, so it seems a silly change. And the spinners are still out bowling the seamers with the larger ball in T20. Averaging two runs a wicket less, and with a better economy.

There are also significant logistical problems with shortening the pitch. Many times wickets are reused around the world, and man and women use them. That wouldn't be possible with a shorter pitch for the women, and you know it would ultimately mean fewer facilities for women to play the game. You can't have women at the lower level playing on longer pitches, so this would mean far more problems just to make the game look better on TV (I checked, the women average 27 with the ball in ODIS, the men are 34, maybe the men's pitch should be smaller to help their bowlers.) I can't see how it would ever work. Yet the debate was happening again this week. And like the discussion on Twitter where everyone starts to talk about if they wash their legs in the shower, this will return.

This is what India cricketer Shikha Pandey said on twitter.

Click on that tweet for her entire thread.