In a first, Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced a transgender policy for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in top-level and community cricket. Also Read - 'I Thought He's Gone' - Batting Legend Ricky Ponting Recalls Terrifying Moment He Thought His Son Died

In a media release, CA announced that it has developed an Elite Cricket Policy and Guidelines for Community Cricket to support players electing to participate in cricket in line with their gender identity, whether or not this aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. Also Read - India Confirmed Hosts For 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, Australia to Host T20 World Cup in 2022

The CA policy aligns with the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Eligibility on the Basis of Gender Recognition and provides transgender and gender diverse cricketers guidance on how they can compete at the highest levels of the sport, consistent with their gender identity. Also Read - ICC Board Meeting: BCCI, Cricket Australia to Discuss Swapping of T20 World Cups

The policy states that “to consider the relevant aspects of strength, stamina or physique” any player under the policy who is participating in elite female cricket must be able to establish that their concentration of testosterone in serum has been less than 10 nanomoles per litre continuously for at least 12 months.

As an additional measure, a referral process to an expert panel has been established to ensure fair and meaningful competition.

“It doesn’t make any sense that today, people are discriminated against, harassed or excluded, because of who they are. And that’s not right,” said Kevin Roberts, Cricket Australia CEO.

“Today we demonstrate our commitment to include people with an affirmed gender identity in the game at every level and ensure all people in our communities experience Australian cricket’s inclusive culture.

“As strength, stamina and physique are all relevant factors when competing in competitive sport, transgender and gender diverse players will be supported to participate in elite cricket, subject to certain criteria through the implementation of this policy,” he added.

“From a community cricket level, the guidelines provide robust guidance for clubs and associations to encourage the participation of transgender and gender diverse players and support frameworks for people who are subject to any form of harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sex or gender identity,” he further said.

Former Australian cricketer, Alex Blackwell, who has been at the forefront in bringing the policy together, said, “Australian cricket has a really wonderful purpose, and that’s to be Australia’s favourite sport, and a sport for all Australians, and it’s really important that we live by that, and we walk the talk.”

“These guidelines are very clearly about inclusivity, and that all people feel like cricket is a sport for them – that they would be safe and welcome to participate in the game, or to consume the game as a fan,” she added.

Australian cricketer Megan Schutt welcomed the move and said: “To have a policy and guidelines that include transgender and gender diverse players will create a better environment for everybody to play the game.”

“Now that we know that anyone who is transgender or gender diverse has a chance to play cricket at the highest level – and rightfully so – I’m confident that the elite cricket policy will provide a fair process for transgender and gender diverse cricketers to embark on that pathway,” she added.