New T20 look: Tricolour on the heart for Team India

Updated: 16 August 2012 19:41 IST

An Indian cricketer will now not wear his heart on his sleeve. Rather, if he pulls on a Twenty20 India shirt, it will be tricolour that paints a swathe across the left half of his jersey. On Thursday, August 16, Nike, who are the Board of Control for Cricket in India's kit sponsor, unveiled the Indian team's first specialist T20 jersey.

New T20 look: Tricolour on the heart for Team India
©

Mumbai:

An Indian cricketer will now not wear his heart on his sleeve. Rather, if he pulls on a Twenty20 India shirt, it will be tricolour that paints a swathe across the left half of his jersey. On Thursday, August 16, Nike, who are the Board of Control for Cricket in India's kit sponsor, unveiled the Indian team's first specialist T20 jersey.

Just as whites are indisputably linked to Test cricket, and blue to the 50-over game, the Indian team now has a shirt specifically for the T20 format. "Once I wear the national jersey, I automatically know that I have to give my best," said Virender Sehwag. "Having the national flag's colours close to the heart is a good idea. After all, someone like me, who plays from the heart, will only feel better for it."

The critical difference, apart from the visual, in this jersey, which is made from the equivalent of eight P. E. T bottles, is that it's 45% lighter than the kit the Indian team has been wearing thus far. "We're going to be playing T20s at home, in South India, and in Sri Lanka, where even when you bat 15-20 minutes and hit a couple of boundaries you break into a sweat. Any help we can get is welcome," said Sehwag.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was welcoming of the new shirt. "It's a very good start. Even when people are swapping between channels on television they see white and know that it's Test cricket," he said. "Now there will be a strong association between this jersey and T20 cricket."

Dhoni also said that he was aware that expectations would reach typically high levels as India begin a packed season and that includes the ICC World T20. "We've had nearly a month and a half off and even when we played in Sri Lanka recently we have enough gaps between matches," said Dhoni. "The time off has given us a chance to be mentally and physically fit. If you look ahead at the packed schedule you will feel there is a lot of cricket ahead. The better thing is to take it a bit more short term and look at what you need to do in the next 15 days."

The biggest applause of the day was reserved for Yuvraj Singh, who will make his comeback to the Indian team in the first T20I against New Zealand at Vishakhapatnam on September 8. "I am feeling a bit nervous. I've been working really hard at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore for the last couple of months," said Yuvraj. "But I haven't played for India in a year. In some ways it will feel like I'm playing for India for the first time."

Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan and Virat Kohli were the others who showed off the new jersey, and Yuvraj showed that he had recovered sufficiently from his illness to get up to his old tricks. "Virat has been in great form in the recent past," quipped Yuvraj. "I hope he can continue that both on and off the field."

While some questions have been asked about Yuvraj returning to international duty before getting some rigorous match practice under the belt, it was obvious that his team-mates were just overjoyed to have him back. "Yuvi is a very important character to have around, not just an important player," said Dhoni. "Without him the dressing-room is a bit boring, even though Virat was trying his best to keep things light and ensure that the newcomers settled in quickly. Now we'll have a healthy competition between Virat and Yuvi, to see who is the best at ragging, and that can only be a good thing."

While some questions have been asked about Yuvraj returning to international duty before getting some rigorous match practice under the belt, it was obvious that his team-mates were just overjoyed to have him back. "Yuvi is a very important character to have around, not just an important player," said Dhoni. "Without him the dressing-room is a bit boring, even though Virat was trying his best to keep things light and ensure that the newcomers settled in quickly. Now we'll have a healthy competition between Virat and Yuvi, to see who is the best at ragging, and that can only be a good thing."

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