There are a few jillion sports out there that I know exactly zero about, each with its own uniform protocols and history. So from time to time I want to let a knowledgeable reader fill us in on one of these lesser-known games — think of it as the Uni Watch Underappreciated Sports Program (even though, let’s face it, most of them are probably underappreciated for good reason). Kicking us off is Steve Jarvis, who has this to say on the subject of cricket:
Cricket is played over various formats. The first is test match cricket, or simply test cricket, which is played over five days and is traditionally played in “whites,” consisting of white trousers and a white shirt. Uniforms for test cricket have evolved slightly over the years, going from a standard dress clothes to performance apparel like this and this.
The first cricket world cup was played in 1975, and this is when a newer format, called one-day cricket, went mainstream at the highest level. During that world cup, uniforms were essentially the same as in test cricket. But throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, one-day cricket became a huge hit with fans due to its faster more exciting pace. In an effort to give cricket a “cool” makeover, coloured clothing was introduced, and the traditional red ball was replaced with a white ball. (As an aside, here’s an article on how cricket balls are made.)
As the popularity of one-day cricket has increased, various spin-offs have been invented, the most recent of which is Twenty20 (pronounced “twenty-twenty”), a short, fast-paced game with a finish inside of three hours.
Twenty20 cricket was first introduced in England in 2003. Entrance music for players, fireworks, and other things are being used, which has resulted in record crowds attending matches and increased sponsorship and TV coverage — along with lots of logo creep, sponsorship all over clothing and bats, and lots of very bad uniforms.
Here’s a rundown of the worst offenders for uniform design, in no particular order:
1. Australia, 2005: Check out the KFC patch on the leg!
3. Surrey Lions, 2006: What’s with the one brown sleeve?
4. India, 2002: Speaks for itself.
5. New Zealand, 1999: What do you call that colour?
6. South Africa: That’s the Standard Bank logo — surely one of the the biggest sponsor logos ever.
Cricket helmet protection has come a long way, too. Before the mid-1980s, playere were helmet-free. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, helmets became more widely used but generally had no protection for the face. The modern-day helmet has facial protection, and stronger and lighter materials are being used, such as titanium.
Okay, this is Paul again. While the preceding is a good start, it also leaves a lot of ground uncovered. Like, what’s up with those leg pads? What about these cool gloves? And what, pray tell, is the story behind the officials’ hats? If anyone wants to do a follow-up, feel free to send it in.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Several readers have written in with news of a particularly insidious example of logo creep: When the players exchanged jerseys after the France/Portugal World Cup semifinal match two days ago, several French players turned the Portugal jerseys inside-out and then put them on — and guess which Oregon-based company had anticipated this moment by putting its logo on the inside of the Portuguese shirts? (Hint: not this one.) No photo yet, but several image sleuths are working on it. … Here‘s my latest vintage uniform catalog find. Lots of great stuff here, including the hosiery page (duh) and the brilliant Lady Champion line. But the real prize is the amazing “Design Your Own Football Jerseys” spread — here’s the left page, and here’s the right. Check out all those striping options! … Footnote to yesterday’s ESPN column about messages written on cap underbrims: I called the Royals to ask about this photo, which appears to show something taped to Ambiorix Burgos’s underbrim, and maybe something written under there too. A team spokeswoman confirmed that Burgos definitely has something taped there (i.e., it’s not the “MLB Authentic” holograph decal, as dozens of you were no doubt about to tell me). But after checking with Burgos, she declined to give any details because “that is personal to Burgos and he wants to keep it to himself.” Dang. … Anyone else find it disturbing that you could Photoshop this face onto this body (and vice-versa) and nobody would be able to tell? … SI.com’s Stewart Mandel just wrote an article outlining the 10 things he’d do if he were the commissioner of college football. Check out item No. 7 on his list (with thanks to Marc Beck). … Good article here about the possible biological basis for tracking team colors (with thanks to longtime Uni Watch pal Dean Chadwin). … Pedro Fund Tote Board: Our collection to help Pedro “Poor House” Martinez pay his pant-leg fine is off and running — okay, off and walking — with current revenues of $4. Only $33.74 to go! Don’t delay — PayPal a buck or two (using email@example.com as the payee) today! … And don’t put away your wallet just yet — looks like we may also have to take up a collection for David Ortiz.