Batters: MCC changes cricket's laws to adopt gender-neutral term

Kate Cross batting
The MCC say the move to 'batter' is a natural progression

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has approved an amendment to the game's laws to use the gender-neutral term 'batter' instead of 'batsman'.

The MCC, which is recognised as the sole authority on cricket's laws since its foundation in 1787, say the changes will take immediate effect.

Jamie Cox, the MCC's assistant secretary for cricket and operations, said: "MCC believes in cricket being a game for all and this move recognises the changing landscape of the game in modern times."

Women's cricket has enjoyed unprecedented growth at all levels around the world in recent years.

England's victory over India in the 2017 World Cup final took place in front of a capacity crowd at Lord's, which is the traditional home of the MCC.

And in March 2020, just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the T20 World Cup final between Australia and India in Melbourne attracted 86,174 fans.

The record for a domestic women's match was broken this summer, when 17,116 watched Oval Invincibles defeat Southern Brave in the final of The Hundred.

In its statement, the MCC added: "A number of governing bodies and media organisations are already using the term 'batter' in their playing conditions and reporting.

"We expect and encourage others to adopt the updated terminology following today's announcement of the change to the laws."

What's in a word?

England bowler Kate Cross believes young girls see the sport as much more inclusive when they are breaking into the game and gender-neutral terms are used.

Writing for The Cricketerexternal-link in June, Cross 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."

England captain Heather Knight also welcomed the change, telling BBC Sport: "It seems like a small thing to change 'batsman' to 'batter' but inclusive language changes ensure that everyone can see themselves in the game, and that's important.

"A little girl shouldn't have to aspire to be a batsman. Language is always evolving and cricket is more and more becoming a game for everyone with little shifts like this."

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