The laws of cricket have been rewritten in a rare change, to replace the word “batsman” with the gender-neutral alternative “batter”.
The venerable Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord’s, made the decision official on Wednesday (British time).
The MCC is recognised as the sole authority on cricket’s laws, and has decided to update its terminology in a bid to achieve greater inclusivity.
The club last looked at the issue in 2017, but decided then to make no change.
This time, the gender-netural amendment was suggested by the MCC Committee, which includes former international players and the president of which is Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara.
“MCC believes in cricket being a game for all and this move recognises the changing landscape of the game in modern times,” Jamie Cox, the club’s assistant secretary of cricket and operations, said.
“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.
“It is the right time for this adjustment to be recognised formally and we are delighted, as the guardians of the laws, to announce these changes.”
The decision was largely welcomed on social media, but there have been a predictable number of dissenting voices commenting on the MCC’s Twitter thread.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan took on the critics, telling them to “get a life”.
Alex Hartley, the 2017 Women’s World Cup winner and former Hobart Hurricanes spinner, also weighed in.
“Some of the comments on this post make me angry. If you hate it, grow up. Cricket is a sport for everyone and this is a small but big move,” she wrote.
Hartley also suggested using “nightwatcher” instead of “nightwatchman” and “third” in place of “third man”.
The MCC told the BBC that fielding positions such as “third man” were not official language, so it would make no ruling on them.