Muscat: One of cricket’s oldest tournaments will be the first to present the latest development in the sport.
The upcoming Ashes series between England and Australia will be the first ever Test tournament to feature players’ names and numbers on the back of their shirts.
“Cricket Australia's operations department is understood to be well in the planning phase to produce numbered Test shirts for this winter's Ashes squad,” Australian cricket’s governing body has said. Test players have worn plain white or cream clothes since the first match in 1877, while the introduction of cap numbers and series details stitched in below the badge on their chest is a relatively recent introduction. Some nations – including Australia – also have their initials stitched into the sleeve on the side of their dominant hand.”
Australian Test batsman Travis Head told Cricket Australia that while the players wouldn’t be as affected by it, the fans of the sport would enjoy the game further if they could identify their favourite players on the field.
“It doesn't bother me in the slightest, and I think if it helps the fans then that's a good thing," he admitted. “Obviously, the detail in the television coverage these days is pretty good, so I guess this is aimed more at people who are at the ground. It's not like the introduction of the pink ball for Test cricket, it's one of those innovations that won't have a huge impact on the game itself. But if it means kids can identify their favourite player a bit more easily at the ground, then I'm all for it."
Australia are expected to name their Ashes squad in July, with the team travelling to the ICC Cricket World Cup, which runs from 30 May to 14 July. Parallel to this will be an Australia ‘A’ tournament, both of which will have a significant impact in deciding who plays for Australia at the Ashes.