'No room for women': Aussie star slams Geoffrey Boycott comments

A 50-50 split image shows Geoffrey Boycott on the left and former Australian cricket captain Lisa Sthalekar on the right.
English cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott's argument that women cannot commentate men's Test matches has been comprehensively dismantled by former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar. Pictures: Getty Images

Former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar has savaged English cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott over the 79-year-old’s suggestion that women should not commentate or provide expert analysis of Test cricket.

In a recent column for the Telegraph, Boycott dwelled on his lengthy broadcast and commentary career, after he was not offered a contract renewal with British cricketing broadcasters Test Match Special.

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In his column, Boycott suggested that while Test match experience wasn’t a prerequisite for commentary, expert analysis should be left to those who had played at the highest level - which, as Boycott specifically pointed out, excluded female commentators from analysing the men’s game.

“You have to know the pressure, emotions and technique required and I do not believe you can learn that from reading a book or because you played club cricket, second XI cricket or, with great respect, women’s cricket,” Boycott wrote.

“As good as the women are at their game, it bears no resemblance to the power and pace of men’s cricket.

“There is room for women commentating, fronting as presenters and reporting. Many are excellent at it, such as Gabby Logan, Alison Mitchell and Clare Balding.

“But as an expert summariser in men’s cricket you need to have been out in the middle.”

Australian captain Lisa Sthaleka slams Geoffrey Boycott

Predictably, Boycott’s controversial statement left top female cricketers, as well as high-profile media members, less than impressed.

Lisa Sthalekar, who played eight Tests, 125 ODI’s and 54 T20s for Australia, said it was ridiculous to suggest female Test cricketers lacked the expertise to analyse the men’s game.

“It’s got nothing to do with power,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The other thing as well, and this is for guys as women’s cricket is pretty cool and sexy at the moment, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but we need to remember that we don’t need guys coming in asking women to compare it to men’s because it is not. It is different.

“The same argument for him (Boycott) is that we shouldn’t have any males commentating on our (the women’s) game because they have never played against females. But that is not what we are about.

“Cricket is a sport literally for all shapes and sizes, for everyone, regardless of gender. Everyone loves the game so why can’t everyone share opinions on broadcasts that are from a diverse background, whether that be different countries, different genders, because that is what is happening in the living room when we are all watching and listening to the radio.

“It’s time for him to leave the game and let’s remember him as a great cricketer of a certain generation. Talk about power — I didn’t see much power that he displayed.”