In most team sports, players wear shorts so why doesn’t this happen in cricket? It’s an interesting question and one that you may not have considered before so here are some answers.
Why are Shorts not Allowed in Cricket?
Interestingly, the law on clothing doesn’t specifically ban shorts. However, it does refer to ‘trousers’ at all times so it’s clear as to what is allowed.
Longer style pants – usually referred to as cricket trousers or simply ‘whites’, are the norm at the higher levels and the rules are fairly clear.
Climate Change may Cancel Cricket Whites
If you watch a village game on a hot day, shorts may be worn. There may be some players dressed in shorts. However, in higher level club and in professional cricket, you will not see this happening.
Issues with climate change are running through every sport right now. In cricket, it could eventually change the way that players dress when they are on the field.
A report known as Hit for Six suggested a law change to help players remain comfortable in hotter conditions. That report was submitted in 2019 and nothing has changed since but there could be amendments in the future.
Reasons why Cricketers wear Long Trousers Instead of Shorts
There are a number of reasons why this is the case:
Because of Tradition
It’s always been this way. Ever since cricket began, centuries ago, players have worn long trousers. Cricket, perhaps more than any other sport, is very keen to maintain its traditions and that’s one reason why shorts have yet to appear.
Trousers Serve as an Extra Protection Layer
Longer trousers will offer protection in a number of ways. For those fielders who need to dive and slide around in the outfield, cricket pants will help to prevent abrasions and scarring.
This is also the case for batters and wicket keepers who need to wear pads during the game. The straps and Velcro binding would scratch the legs and cause great discomfort.
Lastly, while cricket pants won’t completely prevent injuries when the ball strikes the legs, they would certainly help. I can’t imagine the pain of a fast bowler hitting me on bare legs, even at the types of speeds that you see in club cricket.
Cricket is a Gentleman’s Game
This is a theory passed down through the generations. Ever heard of the phrase ‘it’s just not cricket?’ It’s a saying that means something isn’t fair and that’s what cricket is all about. Fair play and upholding the laws means that cricket is still seen as the gentleman’s game.
Aesthetics are also important in this context. The way you dress and carry yourself on the field is all part of the sport. The same principle applied in tennis where long trousers were worn for many years.
Shorts are considered by many to be scruffy and, well… they’re just not cricket!
The origins of cricket are another reason why long pants and trousers prevail on the cricket pitch. The game developed through 17th century England and beyond – usually in cold parts of the country where shorts would not have been appropriate at all.
That situation has changed to an extent, and this is another area where climate change has had a role to play. However, while shorts may seem more suitable in some parts of the world, that certainly is not the case everywhere you go.
In England, the season starts in April and, in most parts of the country, it can be very cold. Even in high summer, the north of the UK may still experience moderate temperatures and long trousers fit better with the weather here.
No Need for that much Running
There isn’t a great deal of running involved in cricket – certainly not when it’s compared to other sports. OK, so a fast bowler or a batter that spends a lot of time at the crease would argue with that statement.
On the whole, there is a lot of downtime in the game. Periods where you’re just standing, waiting for the action to unfold. For that reason alone, long trousers are more suitable. Unless it’s a particularly hot day, shorts wouldn’t really work in this scenario.
I would really feel strange if I took to the cricket field wearing shorts. It just wouldn’t seem right. If it’s exceptionally hot, I can see that shorts might have an advantage but there are far more reasons why trousers are more appropriate.
And it’s not just about tradition which is easy to argue against. There are many practical reasons why long cricket trousers and pants would be more suitable. I certainly would feel more protected in trousers in all areas of the game, and I think, although please comment if I’m wrong, that most players would agree with me.