Opinion: Cricket’s terms are gender neutral

WACA CEO Christina Matthews wrote an opinion piece published in the Sunday Times on the 19th February entitled “Cricket caught out by masculine names”. The piece was accompanied by another article called “Get rid of sexist terms” by Kate Campbell. Here’s my response…

The argument presented in the article is simply flawed. According to Matthews, terms such as “12th man”, “batsman”, “fieldsmen” and “nightwatchman” are masculine. However, this cricket terminology dates as far back as the 1700s. It wasn’t such a foreign concept in the 18th century for the word or suffix “man” to refer to both males and females.

Cricket terms are not gender specific and can be applied broadly. It is purely an assumption that cricket terms are masculine because cricket has been played mostly by men. The term “batsman” is no more masculine than the word “human”.

Matthews suggests “batter” as a suitable alternative but it is such a horrible sounding term. I think it would be much better to refer to the player’s name than to refer to them as a batter or batsman.

According to Matthews, young girls wanting to play cricket would not identify with terms such as “batsman” and that it may deter them from the game. If a young girl is deterred from cricket because she feels that the terminology is somehow marginalising or disempowering, I think she might have to reassess what is really important in life. Political correctness or playing a sport?

Changing cricket terminology is completely unnecessary and won’t advance the cause for gender equality in the sport.

Picture: Marie Nirme