The Australian national cricket team is one of the leading in the world among both men and women. This country was at the origin of the creation of the International Cricket Council. It is not surprising that the representatives of the Green Continent have their own traditions and customs. One of them is baggy green, and this is the cricket cap of dark myrtle green color.
Baggy green: the history
Australians started wearing a cap at the beginning of the 20th century. At the same time, at first, it was not baggy. You can see this if you look at the photos of those times. This cap has become so popular with the Australian national cricket team that the Marylebone Cricket Club recognized it as the “most famous cricket cap in the world”. In the 20th century, this headdress was considered a national pride.
In the 90s, baggy green began to increase in size. The fact that the headdress turned out to be baggy is “to blame” team captains Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh. The last of the two players believed that baggy green is a symbol of the team’s success, and it is difficult to imagine the performance of representatives of the Green Continent without it. And in order for the headdress to be more noticeable, it should be larger. Largely because of Waugh, players started and finished their careers in the national team in the same cap. Although this was not always the case:
- In the early and mid-20th century, baggy green was supplied to every player, complete with a uniform before the new season. A certain year was indicated on it.
- Since the filing of Steve Waugh in the 90s of the 20th century, Australian players have stopped changing caps before each season. Some wore them until the end of their career in the national team. Accordingly, every year baggy green became more and more faded. But it was clear who was who on the field: a veteran or a young player.
- At the beginning of the 21st century, the Australians began to award baggy green to the team’s newcomers. After some time, it was decided that the caps would be inherited from the players by position. For example, bowler No. 1 finished his career in the national team. In his place came bowler No. 2, and it is he who gets the headdress.
- A little later, players from Australia could wear baggy green at will. At the same time, the tradition was maintained that everyone wore caps for the first session of the match. Then any player could remove the headdress. This tradition was observed even by Shane Warne, who liked to wear soft hats.
At the moment, Australian players wear baggy green at will. Some cricketers from the older generation can still be seen in this famous headdress. The rest of the cricketers, especially in the batsman position, play in helmets.
Baggy green: coat of arms
The coat of arms, located on baggy green, is the symbol of the national federation at the time of its creation. At that time, Australians were proud of their success in wool cultivation, agriculture, shipping, and mining. The coat of arms consists of the following elements:
- A crest (being a rising sun).
- Over a torse (or wreath) of red and gold.
- Over a shield (bearing images of a golden fleece, a sailing ship, a pick-axe and shovel and a garb of wheat, all quartered by a southern cross).
- Supporters (being a kangaroo and an emu).
- All over a motto («Australia») on a scroll.
Baggy green is slightly different for women’s and men’s teams:
- For men, the motto is located on a red background and written in green letters, and for women, it is the opposite.
Note that the coat of arms is different from any version of Australia’s national coat of arms. In the coat of arms of Australia, the main element is the badges of the country’s six states.
Baggy green: interesting facts
There are several interesting facts associated with baggy green:
- At one time, famous Australian cricketers wore caps not only on the field, but also outside it. So thanks to them, baggy green became even more popular. Bill Lawry cleaned his household in this headdress (he kept pigeons). Bill Ponsford was seen wearing a cap when he was painting a fence.
- Bagy green has been presented at auctions more than once. The Donald Bradman headdress of the 1948 season (the last year in the career of the legendary player) was sold in 2003 for A$425,000. At the same event, the Keith Miller cap that he wore in 1953 was sold for A$35,000. In 2020, the baggy green of Shane Warne was bought by Commonwealth Bank, which spent A$1,007,500 on it. All the money went to support the country’s emergency services, which were fighting forest fires in Australia in late 2019 and early 2020.
Even the caps of not particularly popular players from Australia were sold at auctions for A$10,000 or more. That’s what one of the national treasures means!