The number on a cricketer’s jersey is more than simply a handful of numbers on their uniform; it’s also a way for them to preserve their individuality in a team sport. Jersey numbers have long been associated with some of the world’s finest athletes. Whether it’s the legendary No.10 shirt worn by luminaries like Sachin Tendulkar and Lionel Messi, or the No.7 shirt worn by David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and MS Dhoni, a sportsman’s jersey number tends to acquire an identity.
These statistics become linked with the athletes’ legacy with time and experience. When you see a certain jersey number, your thoughts immediately turn to the player who owns it (or used to wear it) and the influence they had on the team and the game.
When it comes to Indian cricket, numbers like 99, 45, 18, 07, and 10 have become synonymous with some of the country’s best players. And fans have always been interested and inquisitive as to why a player chose a certain number.
#MS Dhoni – 7
Since Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement on August 15, 2020, his fans have been pleading with the BCCI not to allow any other Indian cricketer to wear the number 07. Born on July 7, 1981, it is commonly assumed that his fondness for former England captain David Beckham was a key factor in his decision to wear jersey number 7. According to some accounts, Dhoni picked the number for astrological reasons. Dhoni is so fond of No. 7 that he has a firm named after it.
#Virat Kohli – 18
The number 18 jersey has become synonymous with the famous Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli, India’s captain, has repeatedly expressed his affection for his father. The story of an 18-year-old Virat Kohli, who played a vital 90-run innings for Delhi only hours after his father died, has to be one of the most inspiring stories from the Indian dressing room. Since the start of his international career, the Delhi native has worn the same jersey number. Kohli spoke about how his father’s death had a profound impact on him. He not only became totally focused on being the best cricketer he could, but he also picked the number 18 as his jersey number in honor of his father’s death, which occurred on December 18, 2006.
#Rohit Sharma – 45
Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Mumbai Indians, has a unique tale about how he chose his jersey number. His mother chose the number 45 for his jersey. During a news conference, Rohit was asked the same question. He said – “Well, it’s no secret. I still remember we were in Sri Lanka playing the under-19 World Cup and the match was being telecast on TV but we didn’t have a jersey number till then, it was blank. But before the semi-finals, the players were asked to choose a number. Rohit wanted the number 19, but it was not available. “When I did not get the number 19, I called my mom to suggest a number. She suggested 45. I have been playing with the same number since then”.
#Rahul Dravid – 19
Rahul Dravid, one of India’s greatest cricketers, was one of those players who depended heavily on his pre-game routines. Dravid, predictably, chose to think about some of his superstitions that benefited him as a player. While rumors of ‘The Wall’ wearing jersey number 19 in honor of his wife’s birthday have been swirling for years, many feel this is simply another myth to add to Dravid’s ‘Good Boy’ persona.
#Kuldeep Yadav – 23
It’s no secret that Kuldeep Yadav, the Indian left-arm leg-spinner, looks up to Shane Warne. Kuldeep has repeatedly praised the renowned Australian leg-spinner, claiming that he had a major influence on Kuldeep’s decision to take up leg-spin. Kuldeep, who is the only Indian to get two hat-tricks in one-day international cricket, made his international debut in 2017 and has worn the No. 23 shirt for Team India since then.