Test cricket is back next week and we couldn’t be more excited!
However, the game will have a new look when the West Indies tour of England gets under way.
Last month, the International Cricket Council approved some interim measures to help the cricket resume during the COVID-19 pandemic, with non-neutral umpires to return and the use of saliva to polish the ball no longer permitted.
Another change will be far more noticeable to the naked eye, with sponsor’s logos on Test shirts to be more prominent than ever before.
As cricket boards around the world struggle with a drop in revenue due to the pandemic, the ICC has given nations a way to make some money back by allowing for the next 12 months a 32 square inch sponsor’s logo to feature on the chest of Test shirts and sweaters.
The change came after a request from one Test-playing nation and was approved by the other members.
While sponsor’s logos have been commonplace in limited-overs cricket for decades, Test shirts and sweaters have always been kept traditional and relatively untouched, with only smaller logos – no bigger than 10 square inches – permitted on the breast and the sleeve.
England and the West Indies will be the first to take up the opportunity, with both sides to wear Test shirts next week with the logo of their major sponsor across the front, while the Windies’ sponsor will also feature prominently on their sweaters.
Australia’s Test side won’t be in action until they face India this summer and it’s yet to be determined if a logo will feature more prominently on their shirts.
Speaking to Nine Media last month, former Cricket Australia executive and commercial boss at the National Rugby League, Michael Brown, said giving sponsors greater prominence made sense during this time.
“You’ve actually got to move to support the teams,” he said. “It costs them a lot of money to put the games on. Providing it’s done in a professional way, and it’s not slap dash and it’s not a ridiculous number of logos all over the place, I think it can be done well.
“Whether it’s 12 months or longer, sports are suffering like everyone else in the community and if this can help the sport, that’s got to be a good thing.”
There will also be a smaller addition to the England and West Indies shirts next week, with both sides moving to have the ‘Black Lives Matter’ logo added to the collar.