Want to believe that one of the features of Twenty20 cricket is supposed to be its colourful nature? One player who would take issue with that is Essex all-rounder Scott Styris who has been banned by the ECB from wearing boots of a predominantly orange colour.
Playing in an early Friends Life t20 game against Sussex, one of the umpires informed the Kiwi that his boots contravened the rules and he has subsequently received communication from the ECB that the Puma-manufactured boots – acceptable in the IPL – are not permissible in the ECB version of cricket’s popular short format.
A further transgression of the ECB’s Clothing and Equipment Regulations, indeed, could see Styris fined £3,000 and even up to £35,000 for any further offences.
ECB spokesman Steve Elworthy said: “I think the thing about Twenty20 cricket is that we are fighting against this gimmick tag and we are trying to make sure that this form of the game doesn’t become too much of a gimmick.
“We have to make sure that cricket is at the heart of the game and we are trying to keep that balance.”
Given the various marketing enterprises and initiatives that counties have made around the shires to attract crowds since the inception nine years ago, those words carry little conviction. So it is okay to wear coloured clothing but not coloured boots? It’s as silly as it sounds, in my view, and the sooner this ridiculous regulation is kicked into touch the better.
Styris will have time to acquire acceptable footwear for when he plays again in the t20 as he is currently sidelined by a torn calf muscle picked up while bowling during a heavy defeat by Somerset on June 15.
Essex first team coach Paul Grayson said: “Thankfully, it’s not as badly torn as we initially feared. We expect him to be out for a couple of weeks and hopefully he’ll be back for the trip to Kent on July 1.”
The county, whose t20 hopes have suffered a series of setbacks with a number of poor performances, are also currently without all-rounder and big-hitter Graham Napier who suffered a pulled hamstring against Surrey on June 13. But his return could be imminent.
“Napes is targeting next Friday when we play Surrey at Chelmsford as his possible return date,” Grayson added.