Batter, third & 12th: Aussie official wants gender-neutral names


An Australian cricket administrator wants terms like batsman, 12th man and third man to be dropped to encourage more women and girls to play the game.

Western Australia Cricket Association chief executive Christina Matthews wants them replaced with gender-neutral names like batter, 12th and third.

She says that words matter and cricket needs to be more inclusive.

“Here we are, in 2017, using terms such as 12th man, batsman, fieldsman and nightwatchman,” she’s told PerthNow.

“In my view, there’s no common sense reason why [the terms can’t be changed]. I think it’s just something people have held on to.

Christina Matthews

Image caption Christina Matthews, a wicketkeeper, played 20 test matches for Australia between 1984 and 1995

“Words matter, and words demonstrate respect as well. By not changing the terms, you’re disrespecting half the population.

“I’m not saying people are deliberately trying to offend but it’s a bit like bullying – whether you’re bullied or not is dictated by the person who is on the end of it, not the person who’s doing it.”

She also doesn’t think people will be confused with the term batter, instead of batsman, because “our whole lives have been Americanised”.

Perth Scorchers fast bowler Piepa Cleary has backed Christina Matthews and says it’s important to take steps towards gender equality in cricket.

Piepa Cleary

Image caption Piepa Cleary plays for the Western Fury and the Perth Scorchers in Australia

“Everyone still says female athletes or female cricket, but we’re athletes playing cricket,” said Piepa Cleary.

“We need to stop being compared to the men’s game and be recognised for playing the same sport in our own field.

“It’s going to take a long time to change, but hopefully it will start to happen sooner rather than later.”

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