New India ‘Billion Cheers Jersey’ for T20 World Cup launched

  • The many shades of blue in World Cup jerseys have their back story, an occasional controversy and association with luck.
Team India.(BCCI/Twitter)
Team India.(BCCI/Twitter)
Published on Oct 13, 2021 06:26 PM IST
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By Rasesh Mandani

India has gone to World Cups wearing different shades of blue, some more striking than the other. The Virat Kohli-led side will sport a mix of “Prussian blue and royal blue” in the UAE during the T20 World Cup, starting on October 23. It is a change from the retro jersey of the 1992 World Cup that they had been wearing from last November, after India’s kit sponsors changed.

Every jersey is designed on a theme; the latest one is called the “Billion Cheers Jersey”—fan chants memorialised on the jersey. Wearing the BCCI logo on the left chest, MPL sports on the right and team sponsors Byju’s occupying the central space above India, Kohli said in a video statement. “It’s literally the roaring cheers of a billion fans in the form of a unique pattern”.

Jerseys that stay etched in the memory are those linked to the Cup coming home. There was no jersey fanfare ahead of the inaugural World T20 in 2007 that India won in South Africa. MS Dhoni’s young side wore the same light blue jersey, wearing which India had been eliminated in the group stage at the ODI World Cup in the West Indies only a few months earlier. The attire has continued to undergo design changes from one World Cup to another. India have failed to add any World Cup trophy to their cabinet barring the memorable 2011 win at home.

What’s in a jersey, you might ask. Players, sometimes even the administrators, associate luck with the playing jersey. India’s previous kit sponsors Nike would know that well. After a glitzy event where Indian cricketers raved in admiration of their new jersey with a contemporary collar, sleek fit and tri-colour on the heart, the team ended up playing with the 2011 World Cup kit to “retain luck”, but failed to reach the semi-finals of the 2012 T20 World Cup.

The Chinese collar finally made its appearance at home with the 2016 T20 World Cup jersey, which also had a striped, orange motif across the neck. It didn’t help change India’s fortunes. They were overpowered by West Indies in the semi-finals in Mumbai. It was Dhoni’s last World Cup as captain.

At the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, India for the first time wore jerseys of two different colours in a World Cup. In the game against England, they wore a predominantly orange jersey to maintain contrasting colour shades between the teams. They courted controversy with opposition leaders accusing the government of saffronising the cricket team.

Between retro blue, bleed blue and now billion cheers jersey, sponsors have marketed many storylines over the years to catch the fans’ attention. India is still hurting though, not having won a T20 world event after 2007, with five failed attempts. The new jersey has retained the three stars--signifying India’s three World Cup wins—on the left chest above the BCCI logo. Kohli would love to add another star to that jersey in his final outing as India’s T20 captain.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021