OPINION

It's six and out for Shane Warne on terminology issue

WIDE: Howard Kotton says Shane Warne has delivered a wide with his support of introducing gender-neutral terms in cricket's terminology. Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images

WIDE: Howard Kotton says Shane Warne has delivered a wide with his support of introducing gender-neutral terms in cricket's terminology. Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images

Shane Warne is one of my most admired sportspeople, but the great leg-spinner has delivered a wide with his support of introducing gender-neutral terms in cricket's terminology.

Women have played cricket for a long time, but suddenly the game's lawmakers at the Marylebone Cricket Club in England have surrendered to relentless pressure from powerful forces.

From now on, men and women wielding the willow will be known as batters.

As a former opening batsman of no repute who has not played for decades, it offends me greatly.

When I think of batter, that's something that fish are cooked in.

I accept there are bowlers, fielders and wicketkeepers, but what's wrong with using the terms batsmen for males and batswomen for females?

So what's next? Instead of a nightwatchman, authorities will want to make it a nightwatchperson. Someone at third man would become a third person.

What about fine leg and maiden over? Are they sexist terms that need to be removed as well?

I fielded occasionally at wide mid-on and was not the most nimble across the ground.

Fortunately, I've got a thick skin, but those with less than an athletic build might feel as if they have been fat-shamed.

Cricket is a game of great tradition and time-honoured terms - but could no-balls become foot faults? Changing that would create havoc and necessitate alterations to previous scorecards.

The late, great Richie Benaud always had a problem with the front foot law, but he would have had enough respect to eschew any changes to terminology.

Sorry 'Warnie', no more maidens for you.

You're six and out on this issue.

Hope abounds in AFL off-season

There are no AFL games being played, yet during this crucial period of player movement and recruitment, there is enormous interest among supporters of all 18 clubs.

While many purists are outraged at the level of media coverage and analysis in the trade and draft period, it is supported by a huge spike in website hits as well as hours of discussion on sports radio stations and TV channels.

During the off-season, the AFL is happy to allow this wide-ranging discourse to proceed as it keeps the code in the spotlight.

Full-time jobs within the industry are justified as list managers and player managers work feverishly on deals that may or may not eventuate.

Then there are the coaches, players seeking fresh starts and the media feeding off every word.

In season supporter interest can fluctuate dramatically, depending on clubs' fortunes.

But at this time of the year, all clubs are happy to sell hope for the future, particularly for those teams which missed out on the finals.

The trade and draft period delivers that, even if the oft-hyped optimism fails to come to fruition.

Eddie back as Pies' host

Eddie McGuire stepped away from official duties at his beloved Collingwood earlier this year, but expect to see him return in a different role next season.

HOST: Magpie supporters can expect to see more of Eddie McGuire next season.Photo: Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images

HOST: Magpie supporters can expect to see more of Eddie McGuire next season.Photo: Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images

With close friend Jeff Browne expected to take over as Magpies president after the club's annual general meeting in December, McGuire will be called on to be master of ceremonies at Collingwood functions and lunches.

McGuire's passion for the Magpies remains as strong as ever and while he no longer serves on the board, the former long-time president's connections and advice will be invaluable to the new man at the helm.

Luck runs against Williams

If the controversial finish in last Saturday's Cox Plate was not in a Group 1 race, jockey Craig Williams' appeal would have been upheld.

The interference at the 100m between Williams' mount Anamoe and eventual winner State Of Rest appeared to cost the three-year-old certain victory, but stewards saw it in a different way to most observers.

Williams and John Allen rode their horses to perfection, but State Of Rest bumped Anamoe firmly enough to halt the colt's momentum.

Despite the late scratching of early favourite Zaaki, it was a thrilling race with the Chris Waller-trained mare Verry Elleegant unable to overhaul State Of Rest and Anamoe in the straight.

Earlier in the program, Forgot You finished strongly in the Group 2 Vase to make it three wins from as many starts at Moonee Valley and stands out as the horse to beat in this Saturday's Victoria Derby at Flemington.

But Kiwi raider Tutukaka's win in the Geelong Classic was impressive and there is no doubt he should handle the extra 300m easily.

In the other traditional Derby lead-up at Caulfield, Gunstock powered home impressively to the line to beat El Patroness and Teewaters and the colt trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent should be right in the finish.

Of the outsiders, expect a strong run from Sebastian The Fox, who is a good place chance for Ballarat trainer Shay Keating.

While the start of the VRC four-day carnival will take centre stage, there will be plenty of interest in the third running of the Golden Eagle at Rosehill.

The form of I'm Thunderstruck has been impressive in Melbourne, but second favourite, Private Eye, is accustomed to the Sydney way of racing.

Trained by Joseph Pride, whose stable is going well, the four-year-old gelding should be in top condition for the $7.5 million race over 1500m.

Has Howard got it right?

Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59