Batter: The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London, which preserves cricket’s laws, has officially implemented a change in terminology. According to a statement released by the MCC on Wednesday, the terms “batsman” and/or “batsmen” will be replaced by the gender-neutral term “batter” effective immediately.
According to The Times, the terms “batsman” and “batsmen” have been in use since 1744. The adjustment was made, however, to make the sport more gender-inclusive and friendly to female players.
Growth of women’s cricket: Journey to “BATTER”
In a statement on its website, the MCC said: “At the time of the last redraft in 2017 it was agreed, following consultation with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and key figures within women’s cricket, that the terminology would remain as ‘batsman’ and ‘batsmen’ within the Laws of the game.
The changes announced today reflect the wider usage of the terms ‘batter’ and ‘batters’ which has occurred in cricketing circles in the intervening period. The move to ‘batter’ is a natural progression, aligning with the terms of bowlers and fielders that already sit within the Laws.”
In addition, the MCC’s assistant secretary for cricket and operations, Jamie Cox, stated that the adjustment was made in light of the recent expansion of women’s cricket.
“The use of the term ‘batter’ is a natural evolution in our shared cricketing language and the terminology has already been adopted by many of those involved in the sport,” he said in a statement.
“It is the right time for this adjustment to be recognized formally and we are delighted, as the guardians of the laws, to announce these changes today.”
The third man
Gender-neutral terms were tested during coverage of the debut season of ‘The Hundred’ in England (women and men’s 100-ball per innings competition) this July. The term ‘batter’ was regularly used in both men’s and women’s contests. In addition, the fielding position of “third man” was simply referred to as “third.”
The term “nightwatchman” was also referred to as “Nightwatch” by commentators during a previous Test match with the English women’s squad. These terms had also been used in news reports by the BBC and Sky.
Only one change
Even though various terms were used by broadcasters and news organizations, the MCC has only implemented the term “batter” at this time.
“The fielding position ‘third man,’ along with other cricketing terms like ‘nightwatchman’ and ‘12th Man’ is not included in the Laws, and so any changes to such terms are outside of MCC’s controls as Guardians of the Laws,” read a message the MCC had posted on their Twitter handle.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is a cricket club situated in St John’s Wood, London, that was founded in 1787 and has owned Lord’s Cricket Ground since 1814. The club used to be the governing body of cricket, and it still has a lot of clout around the world.
All about women’s cricket
The MCC stated that the increased attendance at women’s matches is clear evidence of the “extraordinary growth” that women’s cricket has seen in recent years.
The 2017 World Cup final in England, in which the hosts defeated India, was played in front of a sell-out crowd at Lord’s Stadium, with over 24 thousand people in attendance.
The women’s T20 World Cup final between India and eventual champions Australia drew 86,174 fans to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) shortly before the Covid-19 outbreak last year. This match broke the previous record of 66 thousand spectators at a T20 World Cup final (men or women), established in 2016 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata during the men’s final between West Indies and England.
In addition, a domestic women’s match in England earlier this year drew a record 17,116 fans to The Oval.