Ashes could feature names and squad numbers on shirts

The 2019 Ashes
Joe Root Tom Curran ODI 2018 PA

This summer’s Ashes series could herald a first in Test cricket with the introduction of names and squad numbers on the back of players’ shirts.

Football-style names and squad numbers have long been standard practice in white-ball cricket, with names appearing on players’ backs in the 1992 World Cup and numbers added for the 1999 edition, and they have appeared in County Championship cricket since 2003.

But they have never appeared in Test cricket.

Now that could change. According to The Guardian, the ICC is considering introducing names and numbers for players’ shirts in the new World Test Championship, which features the top nine Test nations in a two-year cycle ahead of a 2021 final and kicks off with the Ashes series in August.

Traditionalists are unlikely to be impressed, and the move may have dire consequences for the cable-knit, but appears likely to be signed off before the start of the first World Test Championship cycle at Edgbaston in August.

Test cricketers do, of course, already have a number based on the order in which they were picked with some countries already displaying these below the badges on caps and shirts.

The squad numbers, though, are likely to be two-digit numbers and aligned with existing ODI and T20I selections where appropriate meaning England’s captain may well take the field for the first Ashes Test with ROOT 66 on his back.

As long as nobody picks number 69, we’re reasonably happy with this scheme.