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Grade The Nations: T-20 World Cup Logos, Part Two

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[Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Weekend Editor Jim Vilk and long-time reader/contributor Scott Rogers took a look at, and graded, the T-20 Cricket World Cup logos. If you missed Part One, click here. They’re back again with Part Two. Enjoy! — PH]

Good Friday morning! Still not the weekend, but your Weekend Editor is here again with reader/contributor R. Scott Rogers. Today we conclude our grading of the national team logos for the T-20 Cricket World Cup, being held in the USA and in the West Indies. Let’s recap what we’re doing here:

Scott: In this series, we pay particular attention to several key attributes of a national team sports logo, including: Does it clearly communicate the identity of the country or some attribute of the national team, like a nickname or mascot? Does it clearly communicate what sport is being represented? And, Is it a generally good design?

Jim: A reminder: in this article we are dealing with the team logos only. Not the uniforms. Although, unbeknownst to Scott, I have added (at no extra cost!) a photo of each country’s uniforms. Just click on the name of the country to see what they’re wearing in the World Cup. Each photo gives you a pretty good view of the front and back, and you, the reader, can grade those as well if you desire. And now, without further ado… let’s grade some more logos!

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Group C 
Afghanistan

Scott: Elephant in the room: Yes, this is a national team effectively run by the Taliban with a deliberate propagandistic aim of sportswashing their regime’s brutal human rights abuses and tyranny. Also, the Taliban disbanded the women’s national cricket team in 2021. Can we judge the logo while setting aside the terrible moral and political implications of the national government and the particular sports federation? Yes. Should we? Maybe not, but I’m going to try, in part because on the field, the Afghanistani team is dynamic, a joy to watch, and a shining example of how teams representing lower-ranked cricketing traditions (pay attention, USA) can grow into competing at the highest level. The most prominent elements of the Afghanistan cricket logo are the tricolor of the former national flag and the national seal, but with the national seal’s mosque and pulpit replaced by cricket ball striking a cricket wicket. A bold choice to represent the sport not with a bat or ball, but with a moment of dramatic action. Imagine the MLB logo, but instead of the batterman, the blue and red was separated by a white silhouette of Ángel Hernández signaling a called third strike. The country is clear, and the sport is just clear enough. The whole thing relies too heavily on a straightforward repetition of the old national
flag, though, and to my eye doesn’t stand sufficiently on its own.

Grade: B-

Jim: This would be the equivalent of a football logo showing the ball going between the uprights. So naturally, I love it. Just a little on the busy side, though.

Grade: B

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Uganda

 

 

Scott: Ignore the awkward surrounding text whose baseline curves don’t even begin to match each other. What we have here is a gray crowned crane perched atop a cricket ball. The same endangered crane features on the national flag of Uganda, with a raised leg and yellow plume much as here. Nation and sport are clearly, almost elegantly communicated. A shame that the poor design and execution of the rest of the logo drag this down.

Grade: B-

Jim: I was going to say that!

Grade: B

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New Zealand

Scott: A black-and-white leaf from a silver fern plant can mean only one thing: New Zealand is taking the field. Even if the team shows up in dusty blue instead of midnight black as the Kiwis are in this tournament, one look at the fern leaf tells you all you need to know. Unfortunately, the only way to tell which New Zealand sport this represents is to look at the player’s equipment. If they’re wearing shorts and performing a haka at midfield, it’s rugby. If they have pants and a few players with leg pads, it’s cricket. Top marks for design quality and national identity, but big deduction for lacking sports specificity.

Grade: B

Jim:  I like the fern leaf so much I’m going to grade them higher. Just barely, because a little more specificity would be nice.

Grade: A-

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Papua New Guinea

Scott: Like Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea (PNG) demonstrates the sport of cricket with a ball knocking the bales off the wicket. Looking over the action like an umpire is a bird-of-paradise, PNG’s national symbol, with its distinctive long wispy decorative feathers doubling as a motion streak behind the ball. The whole thing is rendered in the red, black, yellow, and white of the PNG national flag. Visually, this borders on kid-with-MS-Paint, but it’s not quite overdone, and the worst flaw I find is the poor balance between the thinly outlined white of the cricket bales, the blockier presence of the other colors, and the white negative space. This could be much better rendered, but it’s basically fine, and it does the job of communicating national and sports identity.

Grade: B+

Jim: Shazam! That is one bright logo that really packs a punch. Instead of flying up my nose, this particular bird-of-paradise hits me right in the eyes. And I like it!

Grade: A

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West Indies

 

Scott: The only not-quite-really-a-national team on the list, the West Indies offer the acme of effective national team sports federation logos. Most of the Caribbean islands play as a single multinational team, a practice dating to the 1890s, when cricketers from multiple islands would join together to play visiting English teams. The logo features a crest with an island in a blue sea, a gold sun, and both a palm tree and a cricket wicket on the green island. Simple, clear, direct, it does everything a national team logo should do, and does it without lettering. Cricket remains a dominant sport in the islands, though not as culturally present as, say, the NBA or NFL in the United States. Still, you see people across the islands wearing shirts and caps with this logo as a statement of local pride in a way that has no parallel in other cricketing nations.

Grade: A+

Jim: Very Yacht Rock-y! Or, to be more location-specific, very Soca-y! Either way, I’m digging the grooves this logo gives me. The only thing that would make it better is if they put a few small islands in the background. The team does come from different island nations, after all.

Grade: A

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Group D

Bangladesh

Scott: Cue the 1927 Detroit Tigers. This semi-photorealistic tiger lacks the dead eyes of that interwar baseball equivalent, but less cartoony isn’t better in this instance. This is a bad-city-flag mess of a logo, and doesn’t even have a redeeming cricket element. The one positive thing that can be said is that sometimes Bangladesh changes the colors to include red and a brighter yellow when worn on their jerseys, and that version of the logo is a marginal improvement. It’s still not good! But making the logo this bad is a choice.

Grade: F

Jim: Oh, Bangladesh… it sure looks like a mess. I’ve never known such distress. At least it’s not a great disaster. I like the tiger, because he’s not snarling in a Brandiose way. He looks serious enough that I still wouldn’t cross paths with him! Points for trying, but the rest almost looks like chalkboard art.

Grade: D

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Sri Lanka

Scott: If this looks like it belongs over the door of a Ministry of Agriculture building, that’s because it does. Sri Lanka represent the national cricket team with a full-on version of the national seal. Not even with a cricket bat replacing the lion’s sword! The lion passant, the lotus flowers, the sword, the heraldry here is spot on. But we’re trying to identify a national cricket team here, not a parliamentary committee meeting room. As a national team logo, this is equivalent to the USA adopting the back of the dollar billas its logo. It’s not completely off-point, but it’s not good, either.

Grade: D

Jim: I really like the logo, so I’ll be kinder. I’d be even kinder if they replaced the sword with a cricket bat, and I’d give them an A++ if they replaced the lion with a depiction of former Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara executing a perfect cover drive.

Grade: C

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Nepal

Scott: The distinctive national flag and the locally treasured rhinoceros tell a clear story of what country this is. Nepal’s cricketers are variously nicknamed the Gurkhas or the Rhinos. Alas, the attempt to specify the sport is limited to the confusing CAN text, which refers to the Cricket Association of Nepal but more intuitively represents Canada’s ISO abbreviation. This would be better with an embiggened rhino and no text, or with something indicating the sport of cricket instead of the text.

Grade: C+

Jim: I just CAN’t get past the letters. If they were the Nepal Cricket Association instead, I’d be fine with them. CAN you please make that switch so I can grade you much higher?

Grade: C+

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Netherlands

Scott: I expect quality from any Dutch design, and in key ways Netherlands Cricket delivers. Bold orange with a jolt of complementing blue? Love it. The rampant lion of the royal seal? Can’t go wrong. In shape and layout, it looks like an excellent postage stamp. But then, what sport is this? Is that bottom triple-stripe element supposed to be the seam of a cricket ball? To this onetime resident of the Netherlands, that element looks more like the strips of land, dykes, and canals of the traditional Dutch polder landscape. I’d buy this is a bicycle federation before a cricket team.

Grade: B

Jim: Instead of sticking out his tongue, the lion should be holding a cricket ball in his mouth. The three stripes aren’t doing it for me. I don’t really know what to make of them, so I’d lose them.

Grade: B-

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South Africa

 

Scott: The Proteas represent themselves with a stylized protea flower rendered in the national sporting colors of yellow and green. It looks like South Africa, but only the text in the banner below gives any hint that the sport is cricket. South Africa’s national teams mostly have distinct nicknames from one another, so depicting the flower is effective domestically. Any South African will know this is the cricket team, not the Springboks of rugby. Still, there’s room for a more overt cricket reference within the shield, and the design is a bit stodgy, if entirely competent.

Grade: B+

Jim: As long as the banner is there, it’s an above average logo. Great colors…just missing a little something.

Grade: B

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That wraps up our look at the T-20 World Cup team logos. Thanks to Scott for this great idea, and I’m looking forward to him Grading The Nations in other sports as well! Take care, everyone.

 
  
 
Comments (3)

    I don’t know when this happened, but it looks like the West Indies logo has been updated. You can see it on the uniforms in the linked photo. The basics are still the same, but it looks more professional now and makes better use of maroon.

    The grading curve for these is so upsetting. I think they’re all awful.

    I saw the west indies logo and just smiled. Simple yet completely clear and evocative of both the region and the sport, visually stunning, and just fun. This is a perfect logo in my opinion. Then I scrolled down and saw the next one, which was Bangladesh, and I burst out laughing.

    Isn’t the Netherlands’ triple-stripe element just a horizontal set of wickets and bales?

    West Indies is my clear favorite, followed by South Africa and my country, the Netherlands. Those 3 horizontal stripes plus two squares are supposed to represent knocked down stumps and bales.

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