Cricket’s longest format has always been played in plain whites or creams ever since the first encounter between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1877. But the two could be set to break with 142 years of tradition by wearing names and numbers on the backs of their shirts during this summer’s Ashes.

According to The Guardian, the proposal from the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia is yet to be signed off by the ICC board. But it seems likely that the Edgbaston Test, starting on August 1 (the inaugural match to be played under the auspices of the ICC’s new World Test Championship) will be the first to feature the change.

Despite a recent survey by MCC showing that 86% of 13,000 respondents consider Test cricket their favourite format to watch, the ICC is keen to market and promote it further via its new Test Championship. The introduction of names and numbers on whites, the ICC believes, will make the players more easily identifiable on the field of play.

Squad numbers also will help build player brands while the replica shirt market may also be boosted as a result. Players are expected to be able to choose their squad numbers from 1 to 99 and will likely marry these up against their existing ones for limited overs.

ODIs in Australia have been played in coloured clothing since the advent of World Series Cricket at the end of the 1970s, including the 1992 World Cup, the first edition to do so. For that tournament, the players’ names were written at the tops of their shirts, with squad numbers added in 1999.

In England’s domestic first-class County Championship (played in whites) teams too have taken the field with names and squad numbers on their backs since 2003. Test cricket, though, has had only minor change till now. In 2001, England brought in a small embroidered cap number below the crest – to denote where a player sits in his country’s history – with other their following suit.

(Source :- Times)

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