With the first release of the new England test and ODI kits comes the first ever fashion corner of the Short Midwicket; the Shirt Midwicket. (I know, clever!). Don't be alarmed, I am by no means a fashion expert, and this will be an incredibly occasional feature (ie every time England bring out a new shirt).
So let's have a look at the first shirt; the test one.
Looks a lot like a rugby shirt, doesn't it. The red lining which adorned the previous edition has gone, and the trim appears to be a different shade of white. The shirt itself is again very white, compared to the cream of other test nations. The shirt appears to have been compartmentalised (especially at the back) which apparently means that "key factors are taken into consideration such as the key heat and ventilation zones, the use of moisture management fabrics and conductive fibres that draw heat away from the body. Assists the athlete with temperature regulation regardless of the conditions". Put simply, it cools them down when they're hot. I think. Of course, I shouldn't forget the "brilliant white colour, stand-up collar for UV protection, button poppers on contrast red placket, emboidered logos", which isn't so much a sentence as a list, but adidas are German, so give them a break. Oh, and the previously black adidas logo is now red; like it is on the Australian shirt.
If you want to see it on an actual England player, adidas enlisted the help of the player who looked most like a model; Stuart Broad. And here he is.
Stuart Broad looking mean and moody
And here's the new ODI / Twenty20 shirt.
The ODI kit is quite similar to last year's offering. It's the same dark navy blue, but just without the dodgy white collar thing. adidas tell us that it has an "embossed lion to rear, stand up collar for UV protection, zip neck closure with red placket, embroidered adidas and ECB logo, contrast green mesh panels underarms, printed Brit to front centre chest and sleeve". But one thing is clearly missing from that spiel; it looks like a training shirt. I mean, it looks nice and all, and the red trim around the collar and side panels are attractive, but it would look more at home on the balcony with Andy Flower than on Anderson as he steams in. But anyway, this is the shirt that England will wear, and this is Ian Bell wearing it.
Fans get their final sighting of Ian Bell in a One Day shirt for England
So what about the price? Well as ever, the ECB website is over the top, with the ODI shirt worth £44.99 (with £11 if you want someone's name on the back), and the test shirt between £45 and £50, depending on whether you want long or short sleeves. So overall, are they worth it? Probably not, but if you shop around you will be able to get discounts on those shirts. Personally, I will probably go for the ODI shirt, but what with being a student and all, will wait for it to be a little bit cheaper.
ECB if you're reading - I think this excellent review is worth a shirt or two... just so I can test the kits further.
The new England shirts are available to pre-order on the ECB Store Website from today, and available to buy in the shops on May 1st.