New Delhi: In a bid to further popularise Test cricket the International Cricket Council (ICC) has allowed players to have their names and numbers on the back of their shirts starting with the World Test Championship from August 1.
The Ashes series between England and Australia will be the first instance when the players will sport these jerseys.
“They will come into force on August 1 as part of the World Test Championship,” ICC General Manager Claire Furlong told IANS.
The ICC in recent times has already taken major strides in the direction to highlight Test format — the introduction of the World Test Championship was in this line.
The championship will start from July 15 and go on till April 30, 2021, with the final being played in June 2021.
With an aim to attract more fans to the game, the ICC has approved the idea of having players’ names and numbers on their shirts even in the longest format of the gentleman’s game.
The World Test Championship, whose calender was released in June 2018, is being seen as a tool to make bilateral ties more contextual.
The move to introduce jerseys with the name of players and their numbers will only make it more exciting for the fans who seem to be more interested to follow the shorter formats of the game.
Commenting on the fixtures of the Test championship, ICC CEO David Richardson had said: “The agreement of this FTP (Future Tours Programme) means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years.
“The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI league kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
“Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but with the release of this FTP, our members have found a genuine solution that gives fans around the world the chance to engage regularly with international cricket that has meaning and the possibility of a global title at the end.”
ICC chairman Shashank Manohar had recently said that Test cricket was dying. “We are trying to see whether Test championship can generate interest because Test cricket is actually dying to be honest.
“So to improve the situation, we are trying ways and means. The (ICC) board directors has come to a conclusion that if we start a Test championship, it would keep Test cricket alive and generate more interest in the game,” Manohar had said.
But the statement drew a lot of flak and Richardson said that the chairman’s statement was misinterpreted. “What he [Manohar] was meaning to say is Test cricket was calling out for more context. Yes, there are some iconic contests that take place from time to time, but really, unless you are a part of or a fan of the participating teams that particular series had no real interest (to fans globally).
“And with the introduction of the World Test Championship, that adds interest and helps to promote the Test game worldwide no matter who is playing. That is what he was saying: Test cricket needed just that added boost, it needed to be promoted and the World Test Championship hopefully is the answer to that,” Richardson said on the sidelines of the 100-day countdown for the 2019 World Cup.
(With inputs from IANS)