Sri Lanka’s first Test captain Bandula Warnapura did not like the idea of having players’ names and numbers on their whites.
Players in Sri Lanka were first time spotted with their names and numbers on the shirt! Speaking exclusively over telephone from Colombo, the 66-year-old former right-handed batsman says, “the game has not remained a gentleman’s game. I fail to understand the purpose of having players’ names and numbers on shirts. If it is only to recognize them by the spectators, you mean the spectators were not able to recognize earlier ?”.
“Home spectators know everything about their players. And a giant screen can very well display the names of the foreign players. Even for the TV viewers this naming and numbering is not necessary”.
“Even the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 were played in whites. Only the changes came after Kerry Packer circus”. “Now sadly the game has turned into a carnival type and entertainment cricket only”, Warnapura, who played four Tests and 12 ODIs’ said.
“It was agreed by the Chief Executives Committee some time ago and can be found in the WTC playing conditions. Other bilateral cricket outside of the WTC is at the decision of the Boards”, Claire Furlong, ICC’s media spokesperson, said from Dubai.
Incidentally, this policy is only for the players and fans can still find some difficulty in recognizing the on field umpires. “It (this policy) is for the players at present”, she added. World’s highest Test wicket taker Muthiah Muralitharan believes that the ICC decision is to be respected. “If it is ICC decision the rules have to be followed”, he said from Colombo.