England and Australia 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 a report in The Guardian, the proposal from the ECB and CA will require sign-off from the ICC board, but it seems likely that the Edgbaston Test, starting on August 1 and the first match to be played under the auspices of the ICC’s new World Test Championship, will be the first to feature the innovation.
All Test matches since the inaugural fixture at Melbourne in March 1877 have been played in white or cream clothing, but the precedent for wearing names and numbers has been set for several decades in one-day cricket.
ODIs in Australia have been played in colouring 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 the County Championship, teams have taken the field with names and squad numbers on their backs since 2003, an innovation that has helped both spectators and the media to identify players in the field.