Indian cricket fans slam ‘woke’ name changes in pursuit of gender neutrality

Some Indian cricket lovers have come out swinging after a popular website announced it was changing its terminology to be more inclusive of women.

After fierce backlash to the decision to call wickets “outs” in new English domestic tournament The Hundred, ESPNCricinfo revealed it will no longer use the phrases “batsman” and “man of the match” in its reporting, instead moving to more gender neutral terms.

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Cricket writer Sreshth Shah tweeted: “Starting today, @ESPNcricinfo takes one more step towards embracing gender neutrality. On the site, and in our coverage, the term ‘batsman’ will be ‘batter’ from now on, ‘Man of the Match’ will be ‘Player of the Match’.

“We hope more organisations join us in normalising it.”

Fellow cricket reporter Andrew Fidel Fernando is supportive of the move, saying: “Used to think ‘batsman’ was so embedded in cricket’s lexicon that it need not be thought of as a gendered term. But then women who followed/played/coached/wrote about cricket said it didn’t feel like an inclusive term. And it costs me zero rupees to change to batter.”

Former professional cricketer turned journalist Isabelle Westbury added: “I was such a stubborn user of ‘batsman’; in fact it was almost a mark of pride to demonstrate that I could compete with the boys — that I was good enough. It was only talking to other women & girls that it hit. Costs nothing. Net gain.”

Virat Kohli is one of the world’s best batters.Source:AFP

Fans slam name changes

However, not everyone is behind the move. Shah’s original social media post sparked more than 1000 replies, many of them from Indian cricket fans suggesting the new names were pointless — especially when considering other cricket terms such as “nightwatchman” and “third man” haven’t been included in the changes.

Journalist Indrani Bagchi wrote: “‘Batter’ for cakes and bread and baseball. They have no place in cricket. You guys are just being extremely ridiculous.”

Semu Bhaat said: “Silly point that won’t make much positive difference to women’s cricket or coverage. Btw, batter is for food; batwoman sounds so much better.

“Anyway, while we are at it, might as well change ‘third man’ to ‘third person’.”

Tunku Varadarajan said: “Disagree. Why not keep batsman for male matches?”

Lavi Rana added: “Good woke decision, now do more. 1. Gentleplayer game not gentleman game. 2. Night watchplayer not nightwatchman.”

Even the term Match is hostile. It implies conflict. I feel triggered by it. Please find a non-hostile word for it.

Also abolish Player of the Match as it isn’t inclusive. Everyone should get a trophy, pat on the back and pack of jelly beans. #sarcasm

By calling it a wide ball, the ball is being fat shamed. I request @ESPNcricinfo calls it something else.

And don't get me started on a No ball. You can't deny the ball's existence.

And the BATTER has edged the ball towards Third huMAN😏 He runs a single, goes to the non striker’s end and gets huMANKADED by Ashwin 😤

If the sport is played by all men, why change the terminologies… Isn't that derogatory to those players? In a woman's match, change the terms accordingly to reflect the gender. If there's a third gender in any of the matches, use appropriate terms selectively. Dont generalise.

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