By Harbour Heather
Today, the Herald published this unattributed article about which of our cricketing greats should be honoured in bronze. Many names on the list would not be a surprise to Kiwi cricket fans. What was a surprise, to me, was the complete oversight of women in this list.
Sparked by this tweet from Richard Boock, I spent the day deliberating and ruminating about the lack of female representation on a fictional cricket Walk of Fame by a fictional panel at a fictional ground. (Seriously, what was with the reference to Western Springs? It has zero bearing on the point of the article.)
I found this strange, as the article pointed out part of the selection criteria for modern and future cricketers would be that their performance “reflected the proliferation of multi-formatted cricket.” Which is a way of saying “modern cricket.” But modern cricket includes, more so than ever, women’s cricket, and the advancement in exposure & professionalism of the women’s game. Take the strength and appeal of WBBL, and the fact our White Ferns have secured better contracts, higher retainers and match payments as evidence of this.
What is bizarre is that the unidentified authors saw pertinent to mention Ross Taylor’s inclusion in the ‘future certainties’ category as “a beacon for players of Polynesian heritage”, as if this was an equitable shout out to a ‘minority’ within the sport. With this logic, why no ladies? The White Ferns have won a World Cup, remember?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s very little debate on the names mentioned in the list. No one would suggest that a female should replace Sir Richard or Martin Crowe. More so that there’s no reason Debbie Hockley couldn’t be beside them. And lock in Suzie Bates for that ‘future certainties’ category as well. She is, after all, a Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
The sport has come far recently, but evidently, not far enough to have women top of journos’ minds in a list of our game’s greats. It disappoints me that we’re still here. Not even one obligatory female player to give the illusion of caring. Is no representation better than token representation? The thing is, if these unnamed journos cared to look, they’d see that the inclusion of these ladies, among others, would be far from token.