I don’t think Sarah Taylor should be allowed to play Men’s cricket. Iain O’Brien – who has a track record coaching the NZ Women - is on record saying that he’s concerned that, without proper training, she won’t be used to the step up in pace and, assumedly, the extra height that Male fast bowlers deliver the ball from. I’ve seen enough of her keeping to think that she’d be good enough at 2nd XI level, but it definitely would be a significant step up from 75mph to somebody touching 90 clicks.
Having said that, Australia’s remarkable Ellyse Perry has played limited overs cricket in 1st grade Sydney District Cricket (comparable to 2nd XI, if not better according to Jonathan Agnew), to good reviews. Don’t expect that a young Sydney quick bowler, hungry for recognition, would be giving her an easy ride either. (As an aside, I urge you to look up Ellyse Perry. This summer she has juggled playing cricket for the Australian women’s team, Men’s 1st Grade cricket, and playing professional football for Sydney FC women’s team. She also plays for Australia in football. She had played in cricket and football world cups at age 19. What have you done with your life?)
So, I have no concern that, given proper training and after proving she is good enough, that she gets a game with the men. Even just to see how she copes. What I’m more concerned about though, dear reader, is what becomes of the lazy, misogynist, faux-macho sledging cliché’s that are so often trotted out on the cricket pitch? Here’s a list of those that are under threat;
Alright, keep ya bra on; This lazy sledge has found its way from the pub to the cricket pitch as an amusing way of telling a man that he was overreacting and carrying with the irrationalism that Jim Davidson would normally associate with ‘broads’. What do you say to Sarah? Alright, keep ya…. Errr…. Male briefs on?
You throw like a girl; Another classic, which has been ringing around fields since before the times when only white people were allowed to play the game. You see, girls are generally considered weak. Try saying that to the arsehole who got belted by the Dutch Judo contestant for throwing a bottle at Usain Bolt during the Olympics.
Does your husband play? This one is the very height of satire, as it can intimate either that the player (remember, it’s a man’s game) is either a female (remember, female = weak) OR, the worst, could possibly be a homosexual. As Aussie Rules playing Neanderthal Jason Akermanis will testify, being gay has no place in professional sports. The fact he cited not being able to shower with other men as the main reason why gays shouldn’t play sport is irrelevant. Not to forget that Steve Davies makes mincemeat of most county attacks.
In summary, I’d struggle with this very fibre of our game – that of mindless, thoughtless, senseless abuse - being torn apart by those uppity young females. What happens if you take away David Warner’s ability to charge in from point, screaming that the batsman (curiously, Women are still referred to as batsman) is an ‘effin poofta’?
What of the wicketkeeping fraternity? Not only will they have to contend with somebody who is technically proficient behind the stumps, but they’ll also have to change their automated ‘banter’. For about 20% of his career, Ian Healy was picked on sledging ability alone.
Whatever next, women in the long room at Lords?