The word “batsman” has been replaced with a gender-neutral alternative in the official laws of cricket.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns Lord’s and has been recognised as the authority on cricketing laws since it was founded in 1787, says the change will take immediate effect.
“Batsman” will be replaced by “batter”, which MCC says “recognises the changing landscape” of cricket.
Assistant secretary for cricket and operations, Jamie Cox, 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.”
The decision comes at a time when women’s cricket has seen unprecedented growth at all levels, both in England and around the world, in recent years.
England beat India in the 2017 World Cup final in front of a packed Lord’s ground, and one member of that team, Alex Hartley, took on the social media trolls after the MCC’s announcement.
“Some of the comments on this post make me angry,” she said.
“If you hate it, grow up. Cricket is a sport for everyone and this is a small but big move.”
Well done @MCCOfficial 👏🏼
If you have always felt included because the language surrounding you fits then this might seem insignificant. But if you haven’t had that luxury then steps like this are crucial to making everyone feel welcome.
Cricket is for everyone ♥️ https://t.co/whWYEAYorU
— Kate Cross (@katecross16) September 22, 2021
In March 2020, just before the onset of the COVID pandemic, the T20 World Cup final between Australia and India in Melbourne was watched by 86,174 fans.
And this summer, the record attendance for a domestic UK women’s match was broken, when 17,116 watched The Hundred final between Oval Invincibles and the Southern Brave.
The MCC’s decision was largely welcomed on social media, beyond the predictable number of dissenting voices commenting on its Twitter thread.