The woke disease seems to have finally made its way across the oceans, and is well and truly in India.
ESPN Cricinfo, which was once one of the most respected names in cricket coverage before being overtaken by newer entrants like Cricbuzz, today made a somewhat surprising announcement. “Starting today, @ESPNcricinfo takes one more step towards embracing gender neutrality,” wrote Sreshth Shah, who’s a journalist with Cricinfo. “On the site, and in our coverage, the term ‘batsman’ will be ‘batter’ from now on, ‘Man of the Match’ will be ‘Player of the Match.’ We hope more organisations join us in normalising it,” he added.
India has far more pressing concerns than deciding whether batsmen need to be called batters, but India’s woke crowd seems to have wholesale copied western woke ideas, and tried to supplant them in India. There was an immediate reaction to the tweet.
“And after reading this I uninstalled cricinfo. Leave the sports alone from your social equality degeneracy for God’s sake. Tum jaiso ka bas chale to underarm balling karwa do ye bol ke ki overarm balling is dangerous and chakke ko out declare kar do. LEAVE THE SPORTS ALONE,” wrote a Twitter use.
Soon the idea began being mocked. A twitter user suggested that Crininfo should also rename wide balls, because the word ‘wide’ made them feel fat shamed.
And others wondered what Crininfo’s commentary would look like. “And the BATTER has edged the ball towards Third huMAN. He runs a single, goes to the non striker’s end and gets huMANKADED by Ashwin,” wrote a Twitter user.
But the outrage extended beyond Twitter. On ESPN Cricinfo app’s page, people began leaving one star reviews and saying that they were uninstalling its app. “This one star for the tweet by one of your employee @sreshthx on twitter for changing word ‘batsman’ to ‘batter’…Cribuzz is much better than Cricinfo,” he added.
Another user also left a one-star review, telling Cricinfo to leave cricket out of its political wokeness. Others said that ‘woke idiots’ were trying to ruin cricket. Some users said that a great company was losing its way.
The fact about losing its way is true — Cricinfo was once the pre-eminent name in cricket news, but now languishes behind Times Internet’s Cricbuzz. As per Alexa, Cricbuzz is the 40th most visited website in India, while Crininfo is all the way back at rank 89. Cribuzz’s app has a solid 4.4 rating, while Cricinfo is rated just 3.9.
And wokeness has become the last refuge of the mediocre — people unable to compete with their peers often change goalposts to make it appear that they’re aspiring for real political and social change instead. It doesn’t require any talent or ability to be woke — all you need to do is spew a few meaningless platitudes that sound feely-goody, while giving yourself a made-up moral halo. ESPN Cricinfo seems to be doing much of the same, but as the reaction on Twitter and the app store shows, its last attempt to stay relevant appears to not quite have worked as it would’ve wished.