Former England captain David Gower has been criticised after saying women cricketers will have to take their continued absence from the international game during the Covid-19 pandemic “on the chin”.
On Friday the ICC announced the postponement of the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup due to the pandemic, with the tournament now set to begin in February 2022.
While the international men’s game resumed in England last month, there has been no international women’s cricket since the Women’s T20 World Cup in March, won by tournament hosts Australia.
South Africa Women are currently set to visit England later this summer, but there has yet to be any confirmation regarding the schedule of the proposed limited-overs series.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, Gower was asked about the potential damage the women’s game could suffer from the derailment of the international calendar.
“One sympathises,” said Gower. “I’m afraid the women like so many people in so many businesses, and other sportsmen in many other sports, will just have to take it on the chin as it were because these are, for the sake of stating the obvious, extraordinary circumstances, and something has to give.
“The fact that they’re going to get back on the field at all is good news, and they like everyone else have to embrace the chance when it comes and just move on from there.”
Telegraph cricket writer and former Middlesex Women captain Isabelle Westbury labelled Gower’s comments as “Ill-judged” and “unhelpful”.
“If these are attitude[s] shared more widely, [it] only goes to show how much further there is to go in gender equality in sport” she wrote.
I cannot disagree more strongly with David Gower’s comments on @BBCr4today just now. Ill-judged, unhelpful and if these are attitude shared more widely, only goes to show how much further there is to go in gender equality in sport.
— Isabelle Westbury (@izzywestbury) August 8, 2020
“‘The women’ are rather tired of taking daily inequalities on the chin,” tweeted BBC journalist Amy Lofthouse.
“As a fan of David Gower whenever he was on commentary this is appalling. It’s these attitudes we need to move past,” said another Twitter user.
Gower, who played 117 Tests for England between 1978 and 1992, has been more prominent in recent years for his time behind the mic as a commentator for Sky, a role from which he departed last year.