Numbers game: Weird and wacky reasons for Aussie picks

Australia

FAMILY, favourites and just basic maths.

Australia and England will be the first teams to sport numbers on their shirts in Test cricket this week after an edict from the International Cricket Council to try to make them more visible.

No longer will fairweather fans, or those new to the game, be required to know heights and weight, or batting or bowling styles to know just who is who.

The modern scoreboard has managed to, in most parts of the world at least, answer most, it not all of those questions for spectators at the ground.

Continuing the fashion set in one-day cricket, and one in which T20 has taken it to the next level – read Chris Gayle wearing 333, his highest Test score funnily enough – no-one can be left in any doubt who is who when the players are all wearing white.

But why do they wear the numbers they do? Everyone in the Australian squad has a reason.

TIM PAINE (7): “It really doesn’t bother me and I think I’ve been 36, 27, eight, seven and one in state cricket. I just wanted a single digit and I think Ian Healy had seven so that will do for me.”

No 1: Usman Khawaja in his shirt

No 1: Usman Khawaja in his shirt

DAVID WARNER (31): “I couldn’t get seven or 21 which I’d have taken as seven is my lucky number and 21 is the best hand in Blackjack. I got 31 just by adding 10 to 21, nothing more remarkable than that.”

CAMERON BANCROFT (43): “I wanted four but that wasn’t available, but 43 has a neat symmetry in my life: my parents’ address is number 43, at the time the numbers were given out I lived at number seven – four plus three – and now I live at number 34 – three plus four.”

USMAN KHAWAJA (1): “I wanted 18 but James Muirhead had it when he made some Twenty20 International appearances for Australia; then I wanted zero but I wasn’t allowed to have that so I went for the next number up. Mark Taylor had it, I think, and he was a pretty decent player, so why change?”

STEVE SMITH (49): “It’s my favourite number, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t have any significance, I just like it as a number, so I chose it.”

Travis Head with number 62

Travis Head with number 62

TRAVIS HEAD (62): “No-one else had it. At the time, the number 14 was available but I thought I couldn’t take Ricky Ponting’s number – but then Marcus Harris did!”

MATTHEW WADE (13): “It was the number I got when I first represented Australia, in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006, and I’ve just opted to keep it ever since.”

PATRICK CUMMINS (30): “My number for New South Wales is 27 but that was taken so I thought I’d go a bit higher and 30 is a nice round number.”

JAMES PATTINSON (19): “It’s the same as my number for Victoria, so that’s why I chose it for Australia.”

Matthew Wade with number 13

Matthew Wade with number 13

JOSH HAZLEWOOD (38): “I wanted eight as that’s my birthday (8 January) but that was taken so I thought I’d still have a number with an eight in it.”

PETER SIDDLE (10): “I wore it as a kid playing basketball and football so I thought it’d be nice to have it again now.”

MITCHELL STARC (56): “No-one’s ever had it before as far as I know so I thought it’d be nice to have it myself and make it my number.”

NATHAN LYON (67): “Six is my brother Brendan’s favourite number and seven is my favourite number, so I’ve got 67.”

MICHAEL NESER (18): “I was just given it and I’m happy enough with it; I gather Usman Khawaja wanted it so I’d be happy to let him have it too; if you were to push me then my preference is 20, which was my age when I made my Shield debut for Queensland.”

MARCUS HARRIS (14): “Four is my lucky number and 14 was the only number available with a four in it.”

MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE (33): “There were a whole heap of numbers not available when I got to choose but three is my lucky number so I went with 33.”

MITCHELL MARSH (8): “I picked it because it’s closest to my brother Shaun’s number, which is nine.”

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