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MS Dhoni’s iconic No.7 jersey retired, no longer up for grabs

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to honor former captain M.S. Dhoni by retiring his iconic No. 7 jersey, following in the footsteps of a similar tribute to Sachin Tendulkar’s No. 10 in 2017. This move means that current and upcoming Indian cricketers, especially debutants, are not allowed to choose these revered numbers.

BCCI official informed players of National Team

According to a senior BCCI official, the directive has been communicated to players, emphasizing that the No. 7 jersey, worn by Dhoni during his illustrious career, is now off-limits. This decision limits the choices available to Team India players when selecting their jersey numbers. Despite the International Cricket Council (ICC) allowing players to pick any number between 1 and 100, the BCCI has designated around 60 numbers for regular and potential team members.

Retiring tradition of jersey numbers is not unique.

This tradition of retiring jersey numbers is not unique to cricket. In soccer, the Italian Serie A club Napoli has refrained from assigning the No. 10 jersey since Diego Maradona’s departure, and the Chicago Bulls permanently retired the No. 23 jersey in basketball after Michael Jordan’s retirement. These gestures symbolize the irreplaceability of legendary players.

The BCCI’s decision to retire Tendulkar’s No. 10 in 2017 was prompted by an incident involving Mumbai fast bowler Shardul Thakur, who wore the number and faced backlash on social media for allegedly trying to imitate Tendulkar. Thakur eventually switched to No. 54, highlighting the emotional attachment fans have to iconic numbers.

Even at the junior level, players aspire to wear iconic numbers. Shubman Gill, a promising young batsman, couldn’t obtain his preferred No. 7 during his U-19 days and settled for No. 77, which he continues to wear in the senior team.

Currently, popular jersey numbers among Indian players include Virat Kohli’s No. 18 and Rohit Sharma’s No. 45. As these players age and potentially retire, it wouldn’t be surprising if their jersey numbers are also retired as a mark of respect and acknowledgment of their significant contributions to Indian cricket.

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