New cricket laws drop 'batsman' in favour of gender-neutral 'batter'
The lawmakers of the game have described the introduction of the term as a 'natural progression.'
The terms 'batsman' and 'batsmen' have been removed from the laws of cricket and been replaced with the gender-neutral 'batter' and 'batters.'
The change in terminology was announced on Wednesday (September 22) by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) who are regarded as the "guardians of the game" and one of the sole authorities on its laws, having been responsible for them since 1788.
In a statement announcing the change, the MCC said that the use of gender-neutral terminology helps "reinforce cricket’s status as an inclusive game for all" and is a "natural progression, aligning with the terms of bowlers and fielders that already sit within the laws."
The organisation also pointed out that a number of governing bodies in the sport already use the term 'batter' and with the increased coverage of women's cricket, the term is already commonplace in the sport.
MCC has today announced amendments to the Laws of Cricket to use the gender-neutral terms “batter” and “batters”, rather than “batsman” or “batsmen”.
— Marylebone Cricket Club (@MCCOfficial) September 22, 2021
Jamie Cox, Assistant Secretary at MCC said: "MCC believes in cricket being a game for all and this move recognises the changing landscape of the game in modern times.
"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. It is the right time for this adjustment to be recognised formally and we are delighted, as the Guardians of the Laws, to announce these changes today."
The change has come into immediate effect, with the game's laws already being updated accordingly.
In recent months and years, women's cricket has seen unprecedented levels of growth and popularity, with the women's games in The Hundred being the latest example of this.
In June, England bowler Kate Cross said that the use of more gender-neutral language would help young girls feel included in the sport.
Writing for The Cricketer, she said: "It is just a word, of course. But it is a word which could potentially put a young girl off the sport because she feels like the door isn't open for her.
"It, most likely, will not affect a young boy being called a 'batter', but it might affect a young girl being called a 'batsman'.
"I grew up playing cricket in a boys' team and I can tell you, the only thing I ever wanted was to feel accepted, and not stand out like a sore thumb because I was the only player with a ponytail sticking out of my cap."
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