The iconic Adelaide Oval scoreboard has received a face-lift to become more inclusive ahead of the summer of cricket. Fans spotted the subtle change during the final of the Women's Big Bash League, with the word 'Batsman' replaced with 'Batting' on the classic scoreboard.
The heritage-listed fixture, erected in 1911, is the only manual scoreboard still operating in major Australasian venues to this day. The terminology change is in line with the Laws of Cricket, which was amended in 2021 to include the gender-neutral terms 'batter' and 'batters' rather than 'batsman and 'batsmen'.
The change comes as the women's game continues to surge in popularity since the first edition of the Women's Big Bash League which kicked off in 2015, with a move towards gender-neutral cricket terminology sought after for many years. The late Shane Warne was one of many cricketing greats who supported the change to the terminology to bring about greater inclusivity.
"I am all for it. I think it is good,” Warne said in 2021 when the Laws of Cricket terms were changed from batsman to batter. "It is a popular sport and it is important that it gets with the times. I think that simple change from ‘batsman’ to ‘batter’ was fair enough.” However, the scoreboard change has split opinions with some believing it was only made as part of a wider social agenda, while others said the change is long overdue.
It will always be batsmen to true cricket supporters
— Matt Beggs (@matthewbeggs4) November 27, 2023
Absolute disgrace, will not be supporting bbl this year
— Lil Duke (@jagged2thaedge) November 27, 2023
I am curious as to why we would keep it as Batsmen given we have women batting?
— Lee (@Lee55264731) November 27, 2023
Fair call I’m surprised it took this long tbh
— Aidan Edgecomb (@AidanEdgecomb6) November 26, 2023
WBBL success leads to push to play at bigger stadiums
The WBBL announced that they are looking at the possibility of playing more matches at larger venues next summer. The booming interest in women's cricket led WBBL organisers to test the SCG and MCG in the ninth iteration of the tournament.
WBBL games were played at the SCG and the MCG last weekend for the first time since the tournament moved into the October-November window in 2019, with two more hosted at Adelaide Oval. "It's a really good starting point," Adelaide Strikers all-rounder Tahlia McGrath said of the stadium series. "For us, the more opportunities we get to play in major stadiums, we're all for it."
For its first four iterations, the WBBL ran in conjunction with the men's BBL and played games at the same stadium on the same day, hoping to put a spotlight on the burgeoning women's competition. In an attempt to grow the women's game, the WBBL moved it to its own window in spring.
Yet with English white-ball competition 'The Hundred' finding success stacking women's and men's games back-to-back at the same stadium, it may be a route the WBBL explores. "The crowds during the women's game are massive," said England and Sydney Thunder captain Heather Knight. It's such a buzz to play in front of that many people. (The women's and men's games) are billed as equal, which I think really helps. It's certainly been a huge success back in England."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.