Surrey County Cricket Club are very excited. For Monday’s Twenty20 match against Essex, they have some darts players as their guests of honour, and to mark the occasion, they are introducing walk-on girls to the proceedings.
Unsure what walk-on girls do? Well, they walk alongside players. Usually they wear scant clothing and stilettos. So they will walk out to the wicket with the batsmen. And then walk back again.
Surrey are extremely pleased with their clever idea, claiming it will add “a touch of glamour to an already crowd-pleasing format of the game”.
I’m a member at Surrey. I shall be in the crowd on Monday night. I’m not all that pleased. Nor are many of my friends and fellow fans – this is a great blog on the subject. And nor are some major figures – Alec Stewart responded to a tweet about the matter earlier today saying, “In full agreement with you and have expressed my views to @surreycricket.”
Cricket has fought hard to show that it’s not a sport trapped in the past, that it’s modern and forward-thinking. Surrey’s employment of this kind of crass, patronising, laddism-of-the-worst-order sexism is a step backwards.
It’s especially distressing bearing in mind how brilliantly the club dealt with the interest in Steven Davies’s confirmation that he is gay. A cynic might say that this introduction of increased heterosexism into proceedings demonstrates just a touch of panic.
There are complaints circulating and a bit of media interest, however. Watch this space. Maybe they will reconsider. Or not.