BCCI retires jersey No.7 in reverence to MS Dhoni

In a move that echoes the reverence and respect for the cricketing legend, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to retire the iconic No. 7 jersey, famously donned by the former captain MS Dhoni. Three years since his retirement from international cricket, this symbolic gesture will stand as a testament to his colossal contributions to Indian cricket.

Following a similar homage paid to Sachin Tendulkar’s No. 10 jersey in 2017, the BCCI has conveyed to current and aspiring players that the numbers associated with these cricketing stalwarts are off-limits. This directive will significantly narrow down the choices available to Team India’s cricketers when selecting their jersey numbers. While the International Cricket Council (ICC) permits players to choose any number from 1 to 100, India’s roster of available numbers now carries constraints.

A senior official from the BCCI revealed that the number allocation for the current Indian team and those in contention is already designated, leaving a limited pool of approximately 60 odd numbers. Even when a player remained out of the squad for a year or more, the board refrained from reassigning their number to a newcomer. Consequently, recent debutants find themselves with a mere 30 or so options to choose from, further emphasizing the dearth of available numbers.

Scarcity of numbers for those who graduate

During his India debut this year, 21-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal, eyeing his familiar No. 19 worn during his Rajasthan Royals stint, had to pivot. The number was held by Dinesh Karthik who is active in cricket. Consequently, Jaiswal chose No. 64 for his national team jersey, adapting due to the unavailable preferred number.

The significance of jersey numbers is evident even at the junior level, where aspiring talents strive to secure their preferred numbers. Notably, rising star Shubman Gill encountered a hurdle during his Under-19 days as the coveted No. 7 was already claimed. Eventually opting for No. 77, Gill has continued with this number as he transitioned to the senior team, showcasing the attachment players often develop with their chosen jersey numbers.