A new star


There is a new star in the Kent women’s cricket team — its first transgender player is opening after one season.

Maxine Blythin, who is more than 6ft tall and under England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) rules can self-identify as a woman, has a batting average of 124 this season and has hit four centuries already.

Behold “Maxine”:

Blythin, centre, has hit four centuries this season

Fair Play for Women has said the policy is unfair, especially at a time when the game is improving opportunities for female players. A £20m semi-professional competition for women starts next year.

“Letting males who self-ID as women play in women’s competitions is demonstrably unfair,” the campaign group tweeted last week. “The ECB *knows* males have a performance advantage over females. This is [why] it lets women use lighter & smaller cricket balls & why boundaries are set closer.”

So Maxine not only gets to compete against women but also gets to do so using lighter and smaller cricket balls and with boundaries set closer. Win-win.

The ECB is understood to be worried about a backlash against transgender players. “Our position on transgender participation will be reviewed as part of our commitment to regularly review all governance policies,” it said.

But as far as the policy of self-identification with no medical requirement went, it was “unlikely to make any unilateral changes”, the board added.

“We are proud that this model promotes an inclusive environment for all participants in domestic and recreational cricket.”

Except for women.

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