In cricketing circles, there has been a trend recently to using the term batter instead of the traditional term batsman. I often side with (bat for?) the dinosaurs on this sort of terminology question, but on this one I’m now batting for the innovators. Here’s why.
In the past, when I heard someone talk about ‘batters’ in cricket, I could tell they knew nothing about cricket. I generally assumed they were mixing up cricket and baseball. But times are changing. It is increasingly unacceptable to use a term that makes half the population feel excluded. So, more and more people now say batter—even people who do know about cricket and who do know it isn’t baseball.
‘What about tradition?’, I hear some dinosaurs say. Well, no other cricketing discipline is labelled with a word ending in -man. We have always said bowler and wicketkeeper, not ‘bowlsman’ or ‘wicketkeepsman’. And although people used to say fieldsman, I haven’t heard anyone say that for decades; we now all say fielder.
The game’s official terminology already reflects this change. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), custodian of the Laws of Cricket, announced on 22 September 2021 that it was replacing the term batsman with the term batter in the Laws with immediate effect. MCC to use the term “batters” throughout the Laws of Cricket | Lord’s (lords.org) The International Cricket Council, the global governing body for cricket, followed up on 7 October 2021 with an announcement that ‘batter’ would replace ‘batsman’ in all ICC playing conditions going forward, commencing with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.‘Batter’ here to stay and set to have ‘significant impact’ (icc-cricket.com)
I agree with the MCC and ICC. It really is time to let batsman retire so batter can take its place.
After reading your post, I was toying with making a humorous suggestion that the football team might be renamed to Personchester United. I decided to check the origin of the name Manchester. To my surprise, I learned that the Man in Manchester does, indeed, have a gender connotation – though quite the opposite of its connotation in ‘batsman’:
English: habitational name from the city in northwestern England, formerly part of Lancashire. This is so called from Mamucio (an ancient British name containing the element mamma ‘breast’, and meaning ‘breast-shaped hill’) + Old English ceaster ‘Roman fort or walled city’ (Latin castra ‘legionary camp’).
When writing this comment, I learned also that British English uses ‘humour’ but then ‘humorous’ and not ‘humourous’. Also, whether ‘opposite’ should be followed by ‘to’, ‘from’, ‘of’, or nothing depends on whether ‘opposite’ is used as a preposition, a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.
There’s much to learn in this world.