ICC bans transgender players from women's international cricket

Generic shot of a helmet, bat, gloves and ball during India's training session ICC via Getty Images

Danielle McGahey, who became the first transgender player to feature in international cricket earlier this year, will no longer be able to participate in women's international games following a key change to the ICC's gender eligibility regulations.

Under the new rules, approved by the ICC board on Tuesday, any player who has transitioned from male to female and has been through any form of male puberty will not be allowed to participate in women's international cricket, regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken.

McGahey, a 29-year-old batter, is originally from Australia but moved to Canada in 2020 and underwent a male-to-female medical transition in 2021. In September 2023, she appeared for Canada in the Women's T20 Americas Qualifier, the pathway tournament to the 2024 T20 World Cup. So far, she has played six T20Is, scoring 118 runs at an average of 19.66 and a strike rate of 95.93.

Brazil Women's captain Roberta Moretti Avery, against whose side McGahey played two T20Is and registered her best of 48, respected the ICC's decision but called its timing "unfortunate".

"It's a decision that appears to have been made by the ICC in good faith with the benefit of the most recent scientific advice," Avery told ESPNcricinfo. "That said, the timing of the decision is really unfortunate.

"Danielle McGahey was allowed to play in the recent World Cup Qualifier on the basis of the rules that applied at the time. As a result, she was subjected to a lot of abuse from people who have never met her and who do not understand the difficult journey she has been on.

"She and her team-mates also had a reasonable expectation that she would be allowed to play in future matches. So it's unfortunate that this decision has been made after the event, once Danielle's hopes had been raised and after she has already been exposed to a huge amount of scrutiny and abuse. That can't be good for anyone's mental health. The ICC lifted the hopes of a whole community and it feels like those hopes have now been dashed."

The ICC finalised the new policy following a nine-month consultation process with the sport's stakeholders. "It is based on the following principles (in order of priority), protection of the integrity of the women's game, safety, fairness and inclusion," the board stated in a release. "The regulations will be reviewed within two years."

ICC CEO Geoff Allardice added: "Inclusivity is incredibly important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of the international women's game and the safety of players."

For now, the review, which was led by the ICC medical advisory committee chaired by Dr Peter Harcourt, relates to gender eligibility for international women's cricket only. "The gender eligibility at domestic level is a matter for each individual Member board, which may be impacted by local legislation," the ICC said.