The old joke goes that when a New South Wales player receives his baggy blue, a baggy green is slipped into his bag at the same time.
But that doesn’t quite explain the curious case of Victorian batsman and debutant Marcus Harris.
The 456th Australian Test cricketer received his baggy green from batting great Mike Hussey on Thursday morning ahead of the series-opening match against India at Adelaide Oval.
But when he finally got on the field, cricket fans noticed something a little odd.
Is Harris wearing a baggy blue? Is it a baggy black?
It certainly looked out of place to television viewers at home.
Fans quickly noticed the Victorian opener wasn’t the only Aussie with an odd-looking cap:
— Mety (@Inside_Mid) December 6, 2018
When did the Baggy Green change shade?#AUSvIND
— Andrew Macdougall (@AndrewMacWrites) December 6, 2018
Is it just me or are the new baggy greens less green? Finch's baggy green as a blue hue… #ausvind
— Cameron de Man 🏌🏻 (@camerondeman) December 6, 2018
— Kevin (@the67yak) December 6, 2018
What happened to the Baggy Green cap? Im not that blind, there black half of em
— P.J.PAYNE (@VOREGAL) December 6, 2018
Is it me or are the new baggy greens looking more black than green? #AUSvIND
— Thomas Wake (@WakeThomas) December 6, 2018
Why isnt travis head’s (and others) baggy green, green? Who let a colour blind person pick the fabric? #AUSvsIND
— janey (@jane_ella97) December 6, 2018
But there’s a simple truth in the matter.
In December 2016, Cricket Australia (CA) awarded the contract to produce baggy greens to Kookaburra – ending a partnership with Albion that lasted more than 50 years.
Recent financial troubles were partly behind CA’s decision to axe Albion, with Kookaburra the only other company able to suit the governing body’s criteria.
CA wanted an Australian-owned company that could use 100 per cent Australian wool.
But while the iconic design would remain, the move to a new manufacturer meant a change in process and materials.
Thus, Kookaburra’s final product – while made to the same specifications and still a baggy green – looks slightly different to Albion’s old offering.
Just why it looks much darker on television, like a baggy black or blue, can only put down to TV technology, with photographs showing less contrast between the two.
Cameron Bancroft, who made his Australian debut in November 2017, was reportedly the first player to receive a Kookaburra baggy green.
This photo from last year’s Ashes shows the relatively subtle difference between Bancroft’s cap and David Warner’s Albion model:
Just why more cricket fans seemed to notice Harris’s baggy green looked different remains to be seen.
Other recent debutants to receive a new Kookaburra baggy green include Chadd Sayers, Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne.
Harris achieves childhood dream
Justin Langer enlisted the help of fellow West Australian Hussey, who played 79 Tests, to usher Marcus Harris into international cricket on Thursday.
There were no shortage of legends and former captains on deck, with the Seven Network and Fox Cricket both boasting star-studded commentary teams.
But Hussey was a sentimental choice when it came to the ritual welcome for the nation’s 456th male Test cricketer.
Harris sealed his Test call-up with an unbeaten 250 for Victoria at the MCG in October but the opener started his first-class career with Western Australia.
“He actually presented me my WA hat as well, (it’s) pretty special,” Harris told Fox Cricket.
“It’s a bit surreal. It was great to have the family out here, I looked at them and I nearly started crying. Very special … very fortunate.”