When Pat Cummins leads Australia out at the Perth Stadium for next week’s first Test, he will do so in a shirt that’s a first for Australian cricket, with Indigenous artwork embossed into the design.
The Indigenous design will not be the only new-look feature, with a new sponsor across the front of the men’s playing kit for the first time since the 2017-18 season, with Cricket Australia upgrading its deal with two existing key partners to claim the prime real estate on the playing kit.
CA unveiled new Asics kit for this summer in September, the ODI version of which instantly became iconic when Australia won their sixth men’s World Cup in India.
Now, the Test version will take centre stage in the looming NRMA Insurance Test series against Pakistan, with the subtle green piping around the sleeves and collar and the crisp embossed Walkabout Wickets logo already earning praise from players.
The new one-year sponsor agreement across all men’s playing kit will see Toyota, a long-standing partner, take centre stage on the men’s shirt front, while HCLTech will appear on the sleeve of the leading arm on the men’s playing shirt.
Toyota will feature on the non-leading sleeve (ie, the right-arm for right-handed batters, and vice-versa for left-handers) of both the men’s and women’s playing kit.
Commonwealth Bank remains the principal shirt front and leading-arm sponsor of the women’s playing kit, and the addition of a non-leading arm sponsor for the women marks the first time CA has sold all its available shirt sponsorship real estate.
The change for the men’s kit comes after Alinta Energy, which had been Australia’s men’s shirt front and leading arm sponsor since 2018, ended its deal with CA in June this year. Alinta had initially signed on for a four-year deal – the longest of its kind with CA – which it extended before a “change in brand strategy”.
HCLTech, which was on the sleeve for Australia’s ODI World Cup triumph, will continue to hold the prime position at next year’s men’s T20 World Cup to be played in the US and Caribbean. ICC regulations restrict shirt-front sponsorship at its events.
The digital service firm which originated in India but now has a global presence has been CA’s digital technology partner since 2019, and will have its logo across the chest of the men’s training kit. It’s the first time CA has separated the shirt-front sponsors of playing and training kits, a move CA’s executive general manager of Broadcast & Commercial, Stephanie Beltrame, said would “amplify the roles and prominence each holds”.
The one-year deal that covers a summer with visits from Pakistan and West Indies also allows CA flexibility to continue negotiations for coming seasons, including next year’s inaugural five-Test home series against India, and the 2025-26 Ashes.
Australia captain Pat Cummins, a committed climate advocate, declined to feature in any promotional material for Alinta in the final year of its relationship with CA, and the governing body staunchly denied players had influenced the end of the relationship.
Lauded for a ‘masterclass’ in captaincy during the ODI World Cup, including the brave decision to bowl first in the final that proved the catalyst for the team’s win, Cummins has attracted criticism for taking a stand on social issues.
Having returned from India, Cummins told ABC’s 7.30 Report he would continue to advocate for causes he believed in.
“If I don’t stay strong on this and I pander to a loud minority, that’s not a good thing,” said Cummins, whose Cricket for Climate campaign is pushing to get solar power installed at local 4000 local clubs.
Cummins, who was roundly criticised in some circles for being “too woke”, admitted the constant media criticism had taken a toll.
“I think you’d be lying if you said it doesn’t,” he told 7.30. “I think you’ve got to find ways to manage it just like you manage your body as a professional athlete.
“You’re not on an island. You can’t just say, ‘I want to play cricket in front of millions of people’ but also ‘I don’t want anyone to have an opinion on me’. That’s not what we sign up for.
“As long as I know I’ve got great relationships with teammates, family – they know who I am. I know who I am.”
NRMA Insurance Test series v Pakistan
Prime Minister’s XI v Pakistan XI: December 6-9, Manuka Oval (10.30am AEDT)
First Test: December 14-18, Perth Stadium (1.20pm AEDT)
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG (10.30am AEDT)
Third Test: January 3-7, SCG (10.30am AEDT)
Australia squad: (first Test only) Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner
Pakistan squad: Shan Masood (c), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi