Cricket has always been about style, and we don’t just mean an excellent delivery. Historically, the players wore white during the game, their jerseys outlined with contrasting borders, a style that continues to inspire fashion brands.
Step on to the pitch today, however, and there will not be a white jersey in sight. Colour made a late entrance in the sport—it was only in 1992 that the World Cup first allowed teams to wear coloured kits. Since then, the kits have become distinct visual markers for national teams and their fans.
With the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales under way, the excitement around team kits is brewing. For this is also the first time the International Cricket Council (ICC) has introduced the concept of home and away kits, keeping in mind some conflicting kit colours. Imagine the visual disorientation of a match between England and India, both teams dressed in blue. Indeed, blue and green are the big colours this cricketing season, with multiple teams incorporating the shades.
Here’s what the teams will be wearing as they fight for cricket’s heavyweight championship title.
Since 1992, when team India picked an Oxford blue kit for their first outing with colour in the World Cup, the men in blue have remained loyal to the colour. For this edition, sportswear company Nike has created a two-toned jersey from recycled polyester. The inside of the jersey features three stars, signifying the country’s three World Cup wins (including the Twenty20 triumph in 2007), plus the dates, scores and coordinates of the venues where the finals were played.
Bangladesh had the most dramatic time deciding on their kit, after their original design—an all-green uniform—had to be modified. Fans protested that the kit didn’t incorporate the colour red (a prominent hue on the flag) and all-green made it look similar to Pakistan’s kit. As if to compensate, the team’s away uniform is entirely red, while the revised kit features a red background for the team name.
The host nation’s kit, manufactured by New Balance, pays homage to the national team’s campaign in the 1992 World Cup in Australia. England reached the finals, where they lost to Pakistan—it was the last time they made it that far in the tournament. As hosts, England’s players also have the privilege of wearing their blue jerseys throughout the tournament and will not have an away kit. England are certainly hoping that they will go one better than 1992 in this edition.
With all that blue on the jersey, don’t be surprised if this underdog team’s kit reminds you of the Indian team’s uniform. What distinguishes Afghanistan’s kit is the use of red, black and green stripes, the colours of their national flag, along the shoulders and sides. The away jerseys incorporate a greater degree of red on the sides and sleeves.
The Proteas are heading to the tournament in green, a colour that has dominated their team’s kits since their re-entry into the World Cup in 1992 (South Africa was banned for its apartheid policy). The sleeves and collars are in a darker shade than the rest of the jersey. The standout feature is a yellow outline on the collar and forest green patterns on the sleeves. The team will wear yellow—another classic—as their away uniform.
For the 2019-20 summer, the Australian team is all set to wear a kit inspired by the team’s 1999 World Cup-winning uniform. Manufactured by Asics, Australia’s kit is predominantly yellow and features the lime-green colour on the collar, shoulders and sides. The pants feature a thin green stripe that runs down the sides. These are the colours that fans wanted to see after Cricket Australia invited votes to choose the team’s One Day International kit for the forthcoming summer season.
In 1979, West Indies arrived on the playground for their World Series Cricket match with Australia wearing coral pink. The look was widely panned, but, if you ask us, the Windies were ahead of their times. It’s a pity they ditched the colour (coral would be on-trend with the Pantone Colour of 2019), but their World Cup kit continues to be unique. The primary colour, maroon, is drawn from their Test caps . The jerseys also feature a palm-tree motif, evoking the idyllic beaches of the Caribbean.
You may not see the colour much on cricket grounds, but black has been a recurring choice for New Zealand. The Black Caps have always made unusual colour choices—remember their notorious beige jerseys from the 1980s? This year, the kit takes inspiration from the uniform of the All Blacks, the country’s world champion rugby team.
Green is to Pakistan what blue is to India—there’s almost never a Pakistan kit without green. The team’s kit for the 2019 World Cup remains true to its roots. Green, which is considered a symbol of nature and life in the Islamic country, is the most prominent colour here. It also takes inspiration from the country’s national flag.
Sri Lanka will sport kits made from recycled plastic recovered from the oceans and the country’s beaches. Sri Lanka Cricket has collaborated with active-wear manufacturers MAS Holdings to raise awareness about the responsible consumption of plastic to save marine habitats. The blue and yellow jersey also features silhouettes of sea turtles, integral to the island nation’s marine biodiversity.