Melbourne: England and Australia are set to have names and numbers on the back of their playing Test shirts for the first time under changes proposed for the ICC Test Championship, beginning August 1.
Test cricket between the two sides since the inaugural match in 1877 has been played in white or cream clothes, 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, cricket.com.au reported.
In first-class cricket, England and Australia players already wear numbers on their backs, unlike in other countries.
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. Initial reports of the change faced resistance and skepticism from Test match traditionalists but it has been welcomed by Test batsman Travis Head.
“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and I think if it helps the fans then that’s a good thing. That’s why they brought it into Shield cricket so that people could identify players they probably don’t see all that often, especially now with games being live-streamed,” Head said.
“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,” he said.
However, Head pointed out the move will not have a huge impact as the game is favorite among fans around the globe.
“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 favorite player a bit more easily at the ground, then I’m all for it,” he said.
Australia is the current holders of the Ashes after their home victory in 2017-18 but they have not won an away series since Steve Waugh-led team’s triumph in 2001, losing four successive tours since.