Historic playing shirt change for ICC World Test Championship, Ashes, Australia

Cricket has long been a traditional game with any change to the norm slammed.

World Series Cricket and the birth of the one-day game and T20 cricket were the big changes that stunned cricket traditionalists.

But Test cricket has been largely untouched as the purest form of cricket.

Sure, there was the eight-ball over and six-day Tests until the late 1970s and more recently the day-night Tests, but otherwise Test cricket has been somewhat stable.

But with the latest proposed change, could cricket fans be softening?

Since the first Test match in 1877, players have worn plain white or cream kits, although some colours have bled into the mix with crests, player numbers and even coloured stitching.

But Cricket Australia have reportedly been in the process of introducing numbered Test shirts for the Australian Ashes side in August, which signals the start of the ICC Test Championship.

The inaugural ICC World Test Championship will start in July 2019 with a final in June 2021 and feature nine of the 12 Test playing nations, not including Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The Sheffield Shield and English County Championship already have numbers on their backs but other first-class competitions don’t do the same.

Asked about the change, Australian Test star Travis Head told cricket.com.au he was all for the decision.

“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and I think if it helps the fans then that’s a good thing,” Head said.

“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.

“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.”

Head added it’s not going to have a huge impact on the ground like the pink-ball in day night cricket but it will mean kids can tell where their favourite players are at the ground.

As for which number he’s looking at, it’s 62, the same as his white ball number, rather than 34, which is his Sheffield Shield number.

Then again, the more significant number to him is 454 — his baggy green number.

“I’m not for putting special significance in numbers, but I know some guys are,” Head said.

“I know that my Test and one-day cap numbers, and my SACA number, they obviously have a bit more personal significance.

“But I can’t see anything negative about a decision like this, it’s all to help out the viewers.”

On Fox Sports News’ Bill and Boz former Australian cricketer had a different opinion.

“They can’t be serious,” Robertson said.

“We’ve really got to hold on to tradition in this game. I’m not trying to act old but my old man’s a classic at this, he sometimes gets emotional and gives me the ‘get stuffed’ award. The ‘get stuffed’ award is about please just leave what’s beautiful about the game alone.

“Just picture it, the Ashes first over and bowler A runs in with his number on the back, like he’s leaving the game and going to play second row for Warrington.

“Let’s leave the numbers out and let’s fight for the traditions of the game. It’s a beautiful game.”

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor said “We’ve got the Twenty20 to do that sort of thing, leave the Test arena”.

While there has been some debate on social media

Test cricket is hoping the ICC Test Championship will be a boon for the longest format of the game.

During a recent survey from the Marylebone Cricket Club showed 86 per cent of 13,000 people questioned named Test matches as the favourite format to watch.

But crowds are not necessarily following with their feet with Australian crowds this summer seeing nine of the 26 days of Test match cricket seeing crowds over 50 per cent of the ground capacity.

MCC Committee chairman Mike Gatting admitted big names like Indian star Virat Kohli and South African skipper Faf du Plessis were helping to keep Test cricket strong.

“Test cricket is in a bit of a plateau at the moment,” Gatting said earlier this month.

“Virat has expressed his commitment to maintaining the position of Test cricket at the top of the sport, while off the back of South Africa’s one-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka, Faf insisted such matches demonstrate Test cricket is still the number one format.

“When you have high-profile leaders like Virat and Faf being part of hugely exciting series, it shows what Test cricket can be.

“It is easy to see why the format is viewed as the pinnacle of our sport and we want to see it future-proofed and that could include looking at more day-night Tests, which we can see there is a big demand for, especially in Asia.”

Australia’s tour of India and Pakistan as well as the World Cup are live and on-demand on Kayo Sports. Stream from just $25 per month for two devices at once on Apple, Android and Telstra TV, for Apple and Google Android smartphones, on web browsers and via Google Chromecast Ultra devices. Click here for your free trial.

Still there are some who don’t like it, including former Irish wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien, who played in the country’s first Test match against Pakistan in 2018.

Whether it will help or hinder remains to be seen but Test cricket appears to be continuing its march into the modern era.

Source link Australia Sport News

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