Custodian of the game’s laws Marylebone Cricket Club on Wednesday announced that the gender-neutral term “batter” will replace “batsman” with immediate effect, in a bid to reinforce cricket’s status as an inclusive game.

The amendments to the laws were approved by the MCC Committee, following initial discussion by the Club’s specialist Laws Sub-committee. The club is the sole authority on the laws of the game.

“MCC believes that the use of gender-neutral terminology helps reinforce cricket’s status as an inclusive game for all,” MCC, the custodians of the game, said in a statement.

“The amendments are a natural evolution from work already undertaken in this area as well as an essential part of MCC’s global responsibility to the sport,” the statement added.

Women’s cricket has enjoyed unprecedented growth at all levels around the world and there had been calls to adopt more gender neutral terms to encourage women and girls to play the game.

A number of governing bodies and media organisations already use the term “batter”.

“At the time of the last redraft in 2017 it was agreed, following consultation with the International Cricket Council and key figures within women’s cricket, that the terminology would remain as ‘’batsman’’ and ‘’batsmen’’ within the Laws of the game,” the MCC said.

“The changes announced today reflect the wider usage of the terms ‘’batter’’ and ‘’batters’’ which has occurred in cricketing circles in the intervening period.

“The move to ‘batter’ is a natural progression, aligning with the terms of bowlers and fielders that already sit within the Laws.”

Jamie Cox, Assistant Secretary (Cricket and Operations) at MCC said: “MCC believes in cricket being a game for all and this move recognises the changing landscape of the game in modern times.

“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 today.”

The profile of women’s cricket has rocketed in recent years, with England’s victory over India in the 2017 World Cup final taking place in front of a capacity crowd at Lord’s, which is owned by the MCC.

A crowd of 86,174 saw Australia defeat India in the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne in 2020 and in August Lord’s broke the record for a domestic women’s match as more than 17,000 fans watched the final of the inaugural Hundred competition.

With PTI and AFP Inputs