A war of words erupted between England’s men and women players after batsman Rory Burns took umbrage at a tongue-in-cheek social media post by Alex Hartley.
England Women’s international Hartley had joked that the men’s side two-day Test match loss to India on Thursday had at least made time for viewers to watch the women’s side in ODI action against New Zealand in Dunedin.
“Nice of the England boys to get this test match finished just before England Women play tonight,” she tweeted yesterday, with four clapping emojis.
However, Burns, 30, who did not play in the third Test, failed to see the funny side, as his reaction, and a host of others, prompted a social media pile-on on Hartley.
“Very disappointing attitude considering all the ‘boys’ do to support the Women’s game,” he wrote online, with fellow players Ben Stokes and James Anderson liking the tweet before it was later deleted.
Hartley was shocked by the response, replying to Burns: “Think it’s been taken the wrong way/out of context. No offence was meant. We are all test match fans.”
However, Ben Duckett, the Nottinghamshire batsman who played for England in 2016, also showed thin-skin at Hartley’s initial comment. “Average tweet,” he wrote. “Don’t think any of the men’s team would be ‘clapping emojis’ if the women lost.”
Hours later, England Women wrapped up the ODI series win over New Zealand with a game to spare. Nat Sciver starred with bat and ball and Tammy Beaumont struck a second half-century. Sciver, whose 3-26 helped limit New Zealand to 192 all out in the second ODI in Dunedin before she struck 63 off 61 balls in a 103-run stand with Beaumont, was asked about the Twitter row after the match.
“I didn’t see the tweet but I did hear about it from some of the girls,” she said. “Maybe it wasn’t the best timing – if we had lost a Test match in two days I would have been pretty mad – but that’s Twitter for you.”
The majority of respondents on social media sided with Hartley. One social media user had earlier branded the row “insane”.
“Do you guys not understand the nuance of power dynamics? You’re correct, if one of the men’s players said it, it would obviously be inappropriate as they have a much bigger audience.”
Burns had been dropped from the men’s XI which took the field for the third Test as England slumped to a 10-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad, leaving them 2-1 down in the Test series.