How is the batsman better than the batsman or the batswoman?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given its approval to officially use the word ‘batsman’ to describe a ‘batsman’ or ‘batswoman’ in all forms of cricket and commentary or writing as of the Men’s Cricket World Cup ICC-2021 T20. The ICC has said that the word ‘batsman’ has in fact been used since the last four years, mainly in commentary and also by some cricketers, and this change in usage is noted by the cricket supreme body. The Council further said that the word is ‘gender neutral’ and makes cricket a more inclusive game. A vast majority of people concerned with the world’s most popular game have welcomed this change, with some describing it as a “change of common sense”. Furthermore, they argue that no one describes a ‘bowler’ as a ‘bowler’ or ‘female bowler’ or a ‘player’ as a ‘field player’ or ‘female field player’. However, the word ‘peasant’ has been in use since ancient times and sometimes even now. This writer does not know if ‘fieldswoman’ has also been used in women’s cricket, which is not a recent phenomenon, but has been played, albeit in a limited way, since the 18th century in England and later in Australia.
In normal English usage, the word ‘batter’ means ‘to hit someone or something hard over and over again’, and the word is also used of cooking and beating a person, mainly in the unfortunate cases of ‘wife beating’ ‘. In England, where the English language originated and became a world language, the usage of ‘an abuser’ is someone who is ‘regularly beaten and seriously injured by a family member or partner’ who could be a child or a woman. Of course, batsman can now be included to describe someone who keeps hitting the cricket ball; but the word can never be freed from its ‘negative’ implications, particularly in the context of us who grew up and played cricket, which has always been and is still described as a ‘gentleman’s game’. Can a ‘beat’ be a gentleman or a lady?
Another argument of the ICC and its supporters is to make the game of cricket more ‘inclusive’. Who says cricket is not inclusive? For centuries, people have been listening to radio commentary or watching live broadcasts with entire families, including, most prominently, female members; In stadiums, cameras love to capture the cheering fans; and in the days of childhood, most of us always allowed the girls to participate in the game. Also, the ICC itself distinguishes its competitions or World Cups as ‘male’ or ‘female’, and begs how they are going to make it as inclusive as teaming up with both male and female players as co-ed schools and colleges or as individual co-ed tennis. or doubles. We have also mentioned earlier that women’s cricket also started over two hundred years ago.
Then the argument of making cricket ‘gender neutral’ – our point of ‘male’ and ‘female’ cricket teams still holds true here. What does ‘gender bias’ look like if we call male cricketers as ‘batsmen’ in men’s cricket and women as ‘batsmen’ in women’s cricket? Of course, some commentators may find it ‘tongue-smacking’ to keep pronouncing the adjective ‘hitter’ over and over again in games played by women. The basic gender difference in the game naturally arises with men endowed with more physical strength and stamina, and women burdened with their own issues that make men’s cricket much more popular than women’s, and here the ICC or any another man or woman cannot do anything about it. The most physically demanding games are football, cricket and hockey and therefore in these games the men’s teams are more popular with the fans, unlike games like tennis, table tennis, badminton and athletics or gymnastics. Always with feminist commitments in his writing, this writer does not find the term ‘batswoman’ derogatory for women in any context.
I always get furious when someone describes Bradman or Garfield Sobers or Tony Greig or Allan Border or Sunil Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara as ‘one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket’; even now I get furious when some commentators or players describe Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Joe Root, Sanath Jayasurya, David Warner, Steve Smith and many others as ‘sluggers’. Well, in this liberal age we can also choose the use of words. Cricket fans will continue to use ‘batsman’ or ‘batsman’ forever, despite the ‘approval’. And speaking personally, I will always continue to use ‘batsman’ for men’s cricket and ‘batsman’ for women’s cricket in my writings on this magnificent game of cricket.