Comedic dynamo-turned-sports blogger David Mitchell (“Peep Show”, “That Mitchell & Webb Look”) tackles “the uglification of sport” in Saturday’s Guardian, including efforts on the part of one-day cricket’s organizers to select uniforms as dopey as anything the Arizona Diamondbacks might don.
I admit that there must be some people who actively prefer the multi-coloured one-day costumes but, if they are not in a minority, then God help us all. Cricket whites look great; they are summery and elegant and they give cricket a feel unlike that of any other sport. And yet the idea that dropping this stylish uniqueness is necessary is so ingrained that it is too late to reverse it.
Similarly rugby and football strips are redesigned all the time to accommodate sponsors and extort money from fans. And to ensure that the new designs are different, anything that worked aesthetically about a team’s traditional colours has long since been abandoned. Even the England Test cricket whites now look terrible since a new kit supplier demanded another change; they are a harsh-medical rather than warm-clotted-cream white and have got horrible red piping like an 80s kitchen cabinet.
It seems that everything that has been done to change the appearance of sport over the last 20 years has been orchestrated by people who think that the more brash and American things look, the more popular they will be. Hence the absurd spectacle of two county cricket sides playing a one-day game in a pleasant but modestly attended county ground where the players are now dressed like characters from Battle of the Planets and every time a batsman gets out they pipe Another One Bites the Dust thinly through the PA.
And on top of that we are supposed to call them Phoenixes or Kestrels or some other nickname either impertinently appropriated from the grass-roots fans and stuck on all the merchandising or just plain made up. Now I can accept that there are people who think that this kind of thing is exactly the aesthetic boost a lovely cricket ground needs. What I cannot understand is why any of them kept their jobs for a second after suggesting it.