Indian cricket jersey: History in shades of blue
For well over three decades, the Indian cricket jersey has maintained the identity of the team on the field.
The Indian cricket team had first traded their conventional whites for coloured clothing at the 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket held in Australia. While the hues and designs have changed several times since then, Team India has now come to be identified as the Men in Blue today.
Some of the jerseys are now iconic, each attached to a historic moment. India’s current jersey, a throwback to their retro look of the 1992 Cricket World Cup, is the perfect example of that.
Here are some of those memorable Indian cricket jerseys:
The first coloured Indian cricket jersey
The Indian cricket team donned coloured jerseys for the first time at the 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket in Australia which they won by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan in the finals. Team India wore a light blue jersey with yellow in the middle and around the collars. Interestingly, the kits did not have any sponsors, logos, emblems and even players' names.
The 1991–92 Benson & Hedges World Series was a limited-overs tri-series which involved hosts Australia, India and the West Indies. This was the series where the jerseys featured team and players’ names on it. In this jersey, the Men in Blue had ‘India’ written in running letters across the chest. The base colour of the kit was light blue with yellow and a white stripe along the body.
The first Indian cricket jersey in the World Cup
The 1992 Benson & Hedges World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand was the first edition of the quadrennial tournament where every team donned coloured jerseys. The Indian cricket team had adopted a navy blue colour with a default design pattern of multi-coloured stripes across the shoulder region.
This World Cup was famous for the best jerseys ever made for their teams. It resurfaced during India’s tour of Australia 2020-21 as retro kits.
Indian cricket jersey in yellow
During India’s tour of New Zealand in 1994, legend Sachin Tendulkar had opened the batting for the first time in ODIs against New Zealand in Auckland. It was also in this series where Team India adopted a new jersey colour. The team wore a unique yellow-navy blue jersey for this series which marked the yellow front-line theme for the Indian team which remained in continuity for several series till 1999 World Cup. It is widely considered as one of the most stylish jerseys of the Indian cricket team.
Indian tricolour makes its first appearance
The 1995 Bank of New Zealand Centenary Series featured India, Australia and South Africa and hosts New Zealand in a quadrangular tournament. For the first time in this series, the Indian tricolour had made an appearance in the Men in Blues’ jersey. The members of the Indian cricket team wore a giant Ashok Chakra on their sleeves.
A light shade, a little aggression and some tears
The 1996 Cricket World Cup, also called the Wills World Cup, the sixth edition of the tournament was held in the sub-continent hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Indian cricket team fans will remember Venkatesh Prasad sending off Aamir Sohail and India’s shocking elimination by Sri Lanka in the semi-finals in front of a packed Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Team India wore a light shade of blue and yellow jersey in this tournament. The kit also featured yellow collars along with rainbow coloured arrows running across the chest and down the sleeves.
India all geared up for Desert Storm
The 1998 Coca-Cola Cup was a tri-nation cricket tournament involving India, Australia and New Zealand which was played in Sharjah. It is best remembered for Sachin Tendulkar’s Desert Storm innings which ensured Team India qualified for the finals. In this memorable tournament, the team wore a jersey with tricolours strips designed in rounded patterns along with navy blue pants. The light and dark combination suited the Indian cricket team as they looked really cool in this jersey.
The classic World Cup jersey
The tournament was held three years after the previous Cricket World Cup, deviating from the usual four-year gap. The jersey worn by the Indian team in this World Cup was similar to that of the 1996 edition. Team India sported a sky blue jersey with a broad emblem of BCCI in yellow colour. It also featured a diagonal yellow pattern with a black border that ran across the chest. The replica of this kit is still being sold due to its massive popularity.
BCCI logo gets prominent in Indian ODI kit
The 1999–2000 Carlton and United Series was a One Day International (ODI) tri-series where hosts Australia played against India and Pakistan. Even though India had a disappointing series, they sported a stylish look during the ODIs. The Indian jersey had a huge BCCI logo right in the middle of it in yellow and black.
The Indian cricket jersey where Sahara was left out
Cricket fans will remember 2003 Cricket World Cup as one of their most memorable tournaments in Indian cricketing history. Under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly, they might have lost to Australia in the finals, but they certainly won a lot of hearts. The 2003 World Cup jersey was also loved by their die-hard supporters. The Indian cricket team wore a slightly darker shade of blue from the previous editions of the tournament. The jersey was also devoid of any yellow. Additionally, the BCCI was not allowed to display Sahara India on their jerseys as its airline wing conflicted with South African Airways, one of the main sponsors. Team India was only allowed to display Amby Valley, Sahara's residential project.
The jersey worn during the darkest phase of Indian cricket
The 2007 Cricket World Cup was one of India’s darkest times in the 50-overs format as they crashed out in the group stage of the tournament. The Indian cricket team had donned a light shade of blue with tri-colour strapped on the right side while "India" written across the middle in yellow.
The jersey for the first ODI double hundred
During this time, the Indian cricket team sported a darker version of the 2007 World Cup jersey. The kit was designed with tricolour swirls at the side with saffron straps (from tricolour reference) on the neck and back portion. It was a decent jersey nonetheless. It was in this jersey that Sachin Tendulkar scored the first-ever double hundred in ODIs - 200* vs South Africa - a landmark moment in 50-over cricket.
Dressed like champions
Who will forget that memorable 2011 Cricket World Cup when India lifted the coveted title after 28 years in Mumbai. The Indian cricket fans will also remember the jersey which the Men in Blue wore during their title-winning campaign. MS Dhoni-led Team India sported a shade of blue that would continue throughout the decade. The team donned a darker shade of blue along with saffron fonts that were used for numbers and players’ names on their title-winning jersey.
Recycled plastic bottles
Team India had a memorable 2015 Cricket World Cup until they were knocked out by eventual champions Australia in the semi-finals. Sponsored by Nike, the Indian cricket jersey was made out of 33 recycled plastic bottles. The design of the jersey was quite similar to that of the 2011 World Cup kit. However, there were patterns of slightly darker blue all across the jersey. The team name was written in saffron fonts once again but with a white border this time around.
India gets an ‘away’ jersey
It was a first for India. In the 2019 World Cup, Team India unveiled an away jersey, which they wore against England in order to avoid the hosts’ blue kit for the Edgbaston league match. Kit sponsor Nike had revealed a predominantly saffron jersey with blue in front and orange on the sleeves and back.
On the other hand, the home jersey was similar to the previous editions of the tournament.