Brits need to stop piling on people who make honest mistakes, insisted Match of the Day 2 host Mark Chapman.
The Rochdale-born broadcaster, 47, is on the board of Manchester Originals, one of eight teams in The Hundred, the new 100-ball cricket competition promising unprecedented gender parity for the sport when it launches on July 21st.
Organisers hope the gender-neutral language of the tournament, which will feature "batters" instead of "batsmen" and crown a "Hero of the Match" at the end of play, will fundamentally alter the vernacular across all formats.
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But, Chapman warned, it will take time for fans and pundits alike to adjust-especially for self-described "cricket traditionalists" like himself.
He said: "I think the majority of broadcasters, you often feel like you're on a knife edge at the moment every time you go on air, because you're not one 100 per cent sure what might come back.
"If somebody in The Hundred says 'batsman' during a women's game, I would hope that there isn't a pile-on.
"I've been broadcasting for 25 years, I've done a lot of cricket in that time.
"All I grew up with was the word 'batsman', and therefore I'm training myself out of that word.
"For people that are in all of this [who] are trying to get things right, a greater understanding from both sides would be beneficial, because everybody is going to make mistakes."
Manchester Originals women's squad boasts world number one T20I bowler Sophie Ecclestone, while the men's team counts World Cup winner Jos Buttler in its ranks.
Save for the tournament's standalone all-women's opener at the Kia Oval, all matches will be played on single-ticket double bills.
Ecclestone and her Originals teammates, including Indian T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Mancunian England international Kate Cross, will face the Oval Invincibles in the historic opener, with their male counterparts competing the following day.
The Hundred, believes Chapman, offers a rare opportunity for men and women not just to share facilities-squads stay in the same hotels and train in the same grounds-but strategy and approach.
He said: "We want those two teams to work together, to swap ideas, to feel like a unit of 30 players not two separate squads.
"And that includes training together, if there's an opportunity to swap ideas and swap skills.
"There's skills training that can be done in joint sessions that is hugely important, that we think both sides can benefit from.
"Obviously our women's team are involved in the very first game in The Hundred, so our men will be there en masse to support the women, and their training will fit around that accordingly."
The Hundred also supports development off the pitch, including The Hundred Rising, a programme giving up-and-coming talent real-world experience in the sport sector. The Originals also have plans to introduce internship and work experience opportunities to young people in the city.
That wider community impact is something Chapman hopes will ultimately be an extra incentive in getting Mancunians to get behind the new cricketing kids in town.
He said: "You have no reason really to support a brand-new team.
We've got 'Manchester' in our name [but] to get people to come along we need to inspire them.
"We need to have a purpose. We need to have a strategy.
"This is a long-term process, and we're very much realistic about that.
"But we want to create something special that does [things] the right way."
You can see and be part of history: show your support and attend the first game of The Hundred on 21 July at The Kia Oval #BeThere.
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