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If you weren't to sure what I mean by The Baggy Green, it is a dark Green cap with the Australian Coat of arms on the front which is issued to every Australian cricketer who debut's in a Test match. While viewed as nothing more than a part of the uniform back in the day, the brilliant cricketer Steve 'Tugga' Waugh took the pride, respect and symbolism of the Baggy Green to a new level that to this day places a special aura amongst the moment a player receives their Baggy Green or puts it on before heading off onto the playing field.
The eventual well worn Baggy Green will apparently have the trademark smell of alcohol from champagne and beer spills from victory celebrations, characterised with a faded green from wear and tear in travel bags and sun exposure, with material tatters resembling battle scars. This cap resembles the achievement's and memories a player looks back upon as a testament to their journey as a Test match cricketer. A few player's try to make sure that before they reach a Test century while batting, that they call for a player to bring out their Baggy Green and remove their helmet to add extra meaningfulness when scoring the run/s to reach the triple figure mark. Player's like Michael Slater and Michael Clarke are two player's who come to mind in doing this.
The first test cap recorded was in 1876/77, so there's a long line of history there, but the Baggy Green cap style as we know it only came about years after that! Given the competitiveness to crack the Australian test side, and the beauty of history and tradition in Test cricket, a Baggy Green is seen as one of the highest levels of achievement in just receiving the Cap! There is continual hard work and practice backed by mental and physical toughness needed to not only get your Test debut but to also stay a representative too. Look at a few players in more recent decades; Steve Waugh, Allan Border, Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and even current players like Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich and Michael Hussey. Their stories are impressive, but they will all credit a big motivation to their successes has been when they put that Baggy Green on.
Long may the tradition and pride of the Baggy Green continue!
Steve Waugh poses with his Baggy Green © Getty Images