The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to replace ‘batsman’ with gender-neutral term ‘batter’ in all its playing conditions starting.
On Thursday (October 7), the apex body said that the move will come into effect from this month’s men’s T20 World Cup, slated to be held in UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
Last month, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of cricket’s laws, had announced amendments to the laws of cricket to use the gender-neutral terms “batter” and “batters” rather than “batsman” or “batsmen” in a bid to “reinforce cricket’s status as an inclusive game for all”.
ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said the MCC’s decision to move to ‘batter’ in the laws of the game was one they ‘welcomed’.
“The ICC has been utilising the term batter for some time now across our channels and in commentary and we welcome the MCC’s decision to implement it into the Laws of cricket and will follow suit with our playing conditions that are derived from the Laws,” Allardice said in a statement.
“This is a natural and perhaps overdue evolution of our sport and now our batters are gender-neutral in the same way as bowlers, fielders and wicket keepers.”
He said it’s a small change but one that will have a major impact on cricket being viewed as a more inclusive sport.
“Of course language changes alone will not grow the sport, we must ensure that girls and boys who are inspired to play cricket have a fantastic, fun first experience and are both able to progress as cricketers without barriers.”
Former Australia cricketers Lisa Sthalekar welcomed the move by ICC, saying: “We don’t say ‘hey look at that fieldsman’, we say ‘look at the fielder’. We don’t say ‘bowlsman’, we say ‘bowler’.”
“So if there is a similar term to describe someone with a piece of wood in their hands, why wouldn’t we follow suit?”
Sthalekar, however, feels ‘batsman’ or ‘batsmen’ will still be heard on occasion in the media.
“It’s like a habit, it takes forever to get rid of it. But the more ‘batter’ is used, the more it will become the norm and with that cricket will better engage with the next generation,” she said.
Allardice described the move as a “common-sense change”.
“Why not take a small step to ensuring we’re a sport that doesn’t exclude 50 per cent of the world’s population with outdated language choices.
“Whilst some may have made lots of noise against this common-sense change, the majority of people within the game have welcomed the move.”