Adelaide Oval's 'woke' change to historic scoreboard divides cricket fans

The iconic scoreboard has been changed to introduce gender-neutral terminology.

Pictured Adelaide Oval scoreboard
The iconic Adelaide Oval scoreboard has received a subtle change ahead of the cricket season with the word 'Batsmen' replaced with 'Batting'. Image: Facebook/Getty

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'.

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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.

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."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 18: Georgia Adams of the Strikers celebrates with teammates after catching out Kate Pelle of the Sixers during the WBBL match between Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers at North Sydney Oval, on November 18, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)
WBBL announces they are looking into the possibility of playing more matches at larger venues next summer. Image: Getty (Mike Owen via Getty Images)

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."

with AAP

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