Almanac Cricket: Batsman or Batter?



Day four at the Test and the play is slow. I have been asked by three cricket tragics to come and sit with them to discuss what they consider is one of the biggest issues in cricket. When has a batsman become a batter?


I go and sit with them in fear and trepidation as they wave countless pieces of paper at me wit the proof (in their eyes) that a batsman is still a batsman and not a batter. These are no ordinary cricket tragics. All have played district cricket and a couple coached on higher planes. All are still heavily involved in the game.


Waving the Cricket Australia Official Souvenir Program 2018-19 at me the leader of the pack shows me where he has highlighted the number of times the word “Batter” vis a vis “batsman”. With no disrespect to anyone working at CA “batter” (27) times and “batsman” (2) occurred in the Program. His major point to me was, and I could not give him an answer, when did the word batter take over from batsman in cricket vernacular?


The remaining papers were then waved at me in high dungeon. On closer observation I realised they were copies of the various descriptions of the two words. They made interesting reading.


Here they are –



Cambridge Dictionary “in cricket, a person who hits the ball’

Oxford Dictionary (noun) “ a player, especially in cricket, who is batting or whose chief skill is in batting.”



Cambridge Dictionary – “to hit and behave violently towards a person, especially a woman or child, repeatedly over a long period of time, or to hit something with force many times.” “the person in baseball or rounders who hits the ball (also hitter).” “to hit someone or something again and again.” “ a mixture of flour, eggs, and milk, used to make pancakes or to cover food before frying it.” (Balderstone and Flynn please note) “ in baseball the player whose turn it is to hit the ball.”


Oxford Dictionary – “to strike repeatedly with hard blows” (v) “In various sports – especially baseball) a player who is batting”


NB. Not once in researching the meaning of the word batter did, I see any reference to cricket.  Personally, I have never liked the word batter, even when ordering fish and chips. I am a grilled man thank you.


As long as I continue to write about the great game, I will never use the word “batter”, unless and it is a big unless, an Australian Test batsman attacks an opposition bowling attack. “Will that be with fries sir?” “Only if they are grilled thank you.”


NB. Due to their relative positions in the game I will not reveal my sources. Only to say that they will never change their colours. – Citrus Bob (30/12/2018)


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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. No need to beat about the bush. Everyone knows its politically correct vernacular so as not to be seen as sexist.

  2. Same time as a fieldsman became a fielder. As Budge says above, too frightened of offending the PC mob.

  3. Dave Brown says

    Or, you know, it’s 2019 and it’s no longer appropriate to describe a woman as a man. Worthwhile noting most women in cricket circles are much more interested in important things like pathways and pay and publicity and don’t really give two hoots about the vernacular.

  4. Batter is also something that goes on fish eg beer batter.

  5. I’d love to batter those that call the batsmen batters.

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