Ashes 2019 series to make history as names and numbers are set to be worn on shirts
The purists won't be happy
The upcoming Ashes series between England and Australia will make history as the players are set to wear names and numbers on the back of their shirts, according to a Guardian exclusive.
It will be a first for Test cricket, a sport steeped in tradition in which players have always worn plain whites since the first match between these two nations in 1877.
The Ashes will begin on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham after the One Day World Cup, which will also be held in England.
This series will also be the first in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) new World Test Championship, a new league format which seeks to spark more interest in the oldest form of the game around the globe.
The World Test Championship will see the best nine teams in the world compete for points over a two year period before a final is played in 2021. As part of their marketing strategy for the competition, the ICC are reported to be considering putting names and numbers on the backs of shirts, something currently only seen in ODIs, T20 and the County Championship.
Purist fans may see this as Test cricket losing one of its sacred traditions, while reformists will see it as a necessary change to bring the game into the 21st century and attract a younger audience.
The introduction of names and numbers has not yet been signed off by cricket's governing body, but all signs point towards it going ahead.
Players will be able to choose from numbers between one and 99 and are likely to wear the same numbers as they do in limited overs formats - England captain Joe Root will wear his favoured 66, for example.