Former Australia women’s captain Lisa Sthalekar has hit out at Geoffrey Boycott for his recent remark that former men’s international cricketers should be the only “expert commentators”, saying that it’s time for the 79-year-old Boycott “to leave the game”.
Boycott, who is set to end his 14-year stint with BBC’s Test Match Special after his contract was not renewed, wrote about his departure in a column for The Telegraph, stressing that it takes a former Test cricketer, well versed with the pressure of men’s cricket, to provide expert analysis on the game.
“You have to know the pressure, emotions and technique required,” Boycott wrote, “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. 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.”
Sthalekar, one of Australia’s most celebrated women’s cricketers, rubbished Boycott’s theory that the “difference in power and pace” in the men’s and women’s game is in no way a deciding factor to share an opinion on broadcast.
“It’s got nothing to do with power,” Sthalekar told 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 is that we shouldn’t have any males commentating on our game because they have never played against females. But that is not what we are about.
Boycott has since deleted the tweet in which he criticised the BBC.https://t.co/5mn0H9EaCl
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 5, 2020
“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, obviously, helps to have been in similar situations to then go: ‘This is what the players might be thinking’. But the thought process and how people play the game is still exactly the same whether you play men’s cricket or women’s cricket.”
In a parting shot, Sthalekar mocked Boycott’s slow batting style, asking for his strike-rate to be put next to some of the world’s best female Test batters.
“He is actually dissing the industry he has been a part of for a long period of time,” Sthalekar said. “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.
“Let’s call up his strike rate and look at some of the numbers compared to female Test cricketers of even that generation. I think some of the female cricketers would have had a better strike rate than he did.”