India has gone to the World Cup wearing different shades of blue, some more attractive than the other. The Virat Kohli-led team will play a mix of “Prussian Blue and Royal Blue” in the United Arab Emirates during the T20 World Cup starting October 23. This is a change from the retro jersey of the 1992 World Cup that he was wearing. Since last November, after changing kit sponsors of India.
Each jersey is designed with a theme; The latest is called the “Billion Cheers Jersey” – the fan chant remembered on Jersey. Kohli said in a video statement that the BCCI logo on the left chest, MPL sports on the right and Team India are the sponsors of Byju’s in the central position above. “It’s literally a unique pattern in the form of a roaring cheer of a billion fans”.
The jerseys that remain in memory are associated with the cup coming home. The jersey had no fanfare before the inaugural World T20 in 2007 which India won in South Africa. MS Dhoni’s youth team wore the same light blue jersey that India had been wearing when they were knocked out in the group stage at the ODI World Cup in West Indies a few months back. The livery has continued to undergo design changes from one World Cup to another. India have failed to induct any World Cup trophy into their cabinet except the memorable 2011 win at home.
What’s in Jersey, you may ask. Players, sometimes even administrators, associate luck with the jersey they play. Nike, India’s previous kit sponsor, would know this very well. After a spectacular event, where Indian cricketers praised their new jersey, which featured a contemporary collar, sleek fit and tricolor at the heart, the team ended up playing with the 2011 World Cup kit to “keep up luck”, But failed to reach the semi-finals of the 2012 T20 World Cup.
The Chinese collar finally made an appearance at home with the 2016 T20 World Cup jersey, which also featured a striped, orange motif around the neck. It did not help in changing the fate of India. He was defeated by West Indies in the semi-final held in Mumbai. This was Dhoni’s last World Cup as captain.
In the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, India wore jerseys of two different colors for the first time in a World Cup. In the game against England, he wore a predominantly orange jersey to maintain the contrasting colors between the teams. He courted controversy with opposition leaders accusing the government of saffronising the cricket team.
Between Retro Blue, Bleed Blue, and now the Billion Cheers jersey, sponsors have marketed multiple storylines over the years to capture the attention of fans. India is still sad, but has not won a T20 World Championship since 2007 with five failed attempts. The new jersey retains the three stars – signifying India’s three World Cup victories – on the left chest above the BCCI logo. Kohli would love to add another star to that jersey in his last outing as India’s T20 captain.