• Matthew Whiley

2021 T20 Blast Kits Ranking

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

A lot of attention is often paid to football shirts. There’s much excitement when they’re launched, and every season, fans queue in their droves to buy the latest offerings. Famously good (or infamously bad) ones can go down in history. Football kits are as much an integral part of the game as the ball, the pitch, and the players.

But, what about cricket? Where football has been able to offer bright colours for many years, the requirement to play red-ball cricket in white clothing has always been a tradition, and still remains to this day. As such, cricket kit designers did, for rather a long time, have very little to work with.

And then came along World Series Cricket, followed by ODIs, and ultimately, the crowning glory of short-form smash and bash, Twenty20. Just as the action on the field is an opportunity for players to show off, so too are the colourful kits an opportunity for manufacturers and clubs’ commercial departments to see what they can come up with.

On the occasion of today, just 48 hours after the conclusion of the 2021 Blast, let us tie the competition up by ranking the 18 kits we’ve seen grace the field this year.

18) Kent Spifires

It's a pity that Kent's success on the field this season was not backed up by a smart kit in which to do it. While the addition of the Spitfires is a nice idea, this is, on the whole, a messy number from Samurai. Clearly, they're aiming for it to look like a radar as they go all in on the aeroplane connection, but the different coloured blocks do not come off well, giving the shirt an irregular appearance that neither looks nor feels good.

17) Yorkshire Vikings

Along the same lines, Nike, in their first season as the Vikings' kit manufacturer, have simply gone for too much here. Obviously, the rose icon is perfectly understandable, but one would have sufficed - you didn't need 15, Yorkshire. I'm neither here nor there with regards to the alternating dark and light panels behind, but it's the messy crowd of roses that really take this one down.

16) Sussex Sharks

By now, you might be beginning to work out that I'm not really a fan of all-over-the-place kits, and here we have our third messy pattern on a shirt. The triangles and squares on this offering from Sussex don't look great all mixed in together, and whilst it's not a shockingly bad kit - at least it's shades of blue being kept together rather than any number of multicolours - it's very far from a great one.

15) Somerset

You could do worse than this from Somerset, which weaves together the magenta and black of the club colours quite nicely. However, its standing is somewhat diminished by the strange luminous pink lines across the bottom half. Unless I'm very much mistaken, these are a zoomed-in design of the club's dragon emblem, but I think they are too zoomed-in; a clearer depiction of what they actually represent would make this shirt far better.

14) Essex Eagles

The deep yellow that forms the majority of Essex's effort is a colour of which I'm quite fond, but it's the blue/red sleeves that are dragging this one down. I think that either would mix with the main yellow quite nicely on their own, but there's something odd about having both there. I can only hope that next year, Surridge pick one or the other to colour the sleeves, and stick to it.

13) Gloucestershire

I can only presume the Samurai designers of Gloucestershire's kit got almost to the bottom, and then left their computers unlocked, allowing a prankster in to fill in the bottom left of the shirt in some entirely random colours. The green, grey, and red just look out of place, and while they don't completely ruin the kit, they do give it a slight sense of silliness. It's a pity, because I do like the rest of it.

12) Derbyshire Falcons

We're moving on into "decent effort" territory now. I have no immediate objections to this from Samurai and Derbyshire, and while there's nothing to set it apart, there's nothing wrong with it either. I feel like the stripes could perhaps be a bit bolder, but that's nit-picking, and this is an entirely inoffensive and perfectly acceptable effort.

11) Middlesex

If Nike had a nightmare when it came to Yorkshire, they've had a far better go with Middlesex, and their instantly-recognisable pink number. The dark blue pairs off really well, and the clean, sharp design is nice. What brings it down to mid-range, however, is the fuzzy detailing that adorns the pink section. I can live with it, though, and it's a very solid shirt overall. Just a pity that its wearers endured another wretched campaign.

10) Lancashire Lightning

Not bad, not bad. I like the symmetrical design of this year's Lancashire kit, who have produced some very solid efforts over years gone by. The mix of white and dark blue is a tad off-putting - I do wonder if just one (preferably the white) would have sufficed - but this is a good bit of work by Kukri overall. Let's be honest, too - it really must be alright, because it's not often you'll find Lancashire ahead of Yorkshire on this website.

9) Birmingham Bears

Here we go into the top half, then, and next we come to a unique effort from the Second City. The Bears and their manufacturers PlayerLayer have developed something that certainly sticks in the memory, but it's for the right reasons. The colours match well, a collar is always a good touch - as long as it works, which it certainly does here - and the trim that really does evoke wild animal imagery makes this one a nice-looking shirt.

8) Hampshire Hawks

Sticking with the yellow and dark blue theme, we travel south and encounter Hampshire's effort for their first season since rebranding as the Hawks. New Balance have done a good job here, with a tidy pattern across the top and a smart design overall. I also very much like the redesigned Hawks badge, which takes pride of place in the thick blue bar across the chest.

7) Surrey

Adidas very rarely go wrong in my book, and they've produced another very good shirt here. The iconic three stripes are in black down the shoulders, and Surrey's classic duck egg blue could so easily look garish; yet it doesn't. The one improvement I'd make would be to put the Adidas and Kia logos in black too, but that is a tiny thing, and this is a shirt that I am most certainly a fan of.

6) Worcestershire Rapids

Now, this is a fine effort from Worcestershire. Black as the main body fits well with the blue sleeves - that's a nice shade of blue, too - and there's another good use of a collar. The colours of the Rapids badge have been taken and used well, and this is sharp, sleek, and definitely worthy of a place in the top six of this list.

5) Notts Outlaws

Right, top five. Serious business time. I declare my vested interest in the Outlaws in that I have spent much of my summer working at Trent Bridge, but that scarcely influences my assessment of this as a very fine kit indeed. Adidas have picked the Notts colours up wonderfully, with the tried-and-tested deep gold and dark green combination looking very good together once more in this simple, yet smart design.

4) Northamptonshire Steelbacks

Gray-Nicolls are known more for their cricket equipment than for their kits, but they haven't half smashed it out of the park with this cracking effort for the Steelbacks. The club themselves have undergone a rebrand with a new badge that I like, but this kit is excellent. The faded, thick stripes at the bottom are great, and the deep blue and burgundy really work together.

3) Durham

It's literally got the words "The North" written on it. Durham may not be my county, but I have a very large soft spot for them, and Gray-Nicolls take a second spot in the top four with this piece of brilliance. Much like Birmingham, the claw marks are brilliant to go with the club's lion badge, but there's something about them that simply make them far better. Nice shades of yellow and blue, and an overall great effort.

2) Leicestershire Foxes

Lovely stuff from Leicestershire, this. The pattern emanating from the badge is a brilliant touch, and the green is both fantastically unique and very impressive. The subtle hints of red also look very nice, and for a club that last year had one of the not-so-brilliant efforts, this is a resounding success in my eyes. I really like this one, and it took a very impressive rival to knock it into second.

1) Glamorgan

Quite honestly, wow. Glamorgan needed a memorable kit for their 100th season as a first-class county, and, boy, have Masuri delivered. The faded dragon emblem is a stroke of genius, but everything about this kit is totally brilliant. The colours, the sharp design, the yellow trim; this is a shirt to be admired, and it takes its rightful pride of place atop this list of the year's kits.

As ever, I'm always open to comments, suggestions, queries, and feedback, so please do get in touch using the form at the bottom of the homepage or through my social channels. You can like my Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/longstorysport, and you can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LongStorySport. Connecting with me through social media brings the benefit of being among the first to know when I post something new!

I’ve also launched a YouTube channel recently, where I’ll be posting videos relating to a whole variety of sporting topics. I’ve kicked things off with a series called The County Review, where a guest and I discuss all the goings-on across the county cricket circuit, and more sporting series are in the pipeline! You can view all that at https://bit.ly/3yGtYyk.

Signing off,