The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Wednesday announced amendments to the cricket laws to use gender-neutral terms like “batter” and “batters” instead of “batsman” or “batsmen”. After a discussion by the club’s specialist laws sub-committee, the MCC Committee approved the changes.
The MCC believes the amendments are a natural evolution and an essential part of the club’s global responsibility towards the sport.
The changes are effective immediately, and updates to the cricketing laws have been made on the website, and the printed editions will be amended in the next editions.
Several media organizations and cricket bodies have already plunged into the trend.
"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," MCC stated in its press release.
"MCC believes in cricket being a game for all" - Jamie Cox
The popularity of women’s cricket has played a massive role in this change. The India-England 2017 women’s World Cup final at Lord’s and the India-Australia 2020 T20 World Cup final at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) witnessed record audiences and viewership worldwide.
Even the women’s matches in the ECB-organized Hundred witnessed a sizeable following, with the final drawing a record crowd of 17,116 at Lord’s.
Jamie Cox, the Assistant Secretary of Cricket and Operations at MCC, said:
"MCC believes in cricket being a game for all, and this move recognizes 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 recognized formally and we are delighted, as the Guardians of the Laws, to announce these changes today."
It’s an encouraging move considering MCC’s history with reservations on gender neutrality. In 1999, the club ended its 212 years of male exclusivity by having 10 female members in it.