India have unveiled the new jersey to be worn for all of their T20I matches, whether it be for the men or women. And, they have also confirmed who will open their batting at the World Cup, putting an end to the surrounding speculation. Meanwhile, illness has forced them into a bowling change for the forthcoming series against Australia.
New team jersey
In a departure from tradition, the new jersey was modelled at the official unveiling, not by the national team themselves, but by the Mumbai under-19s women’s players, together with a small group of super fans.
The jersey replaces the Billion Cheers version for all T20I competitions, although that will continue to be used in ODIs.
The new jersey is intended to honour the multitude of fans of the Indian cricket team, spanning all sectors of society and age group, and every corner of the country. Described as the One Blue Jersey kit comes in different hues of the colour, and will make its first appearance when India take to the field against Australia in their first T20I in Mohali on Tuesday.
It features a design of equilateral triangles which, together with the petals of the BCCI’s official insignia, is meant to represent and embody the loyalty and merit demanded by the game.
The team’s supporters will be hoping that the new apparel helps inspire the team to World Cup success in Australia next month.
Rahul to open at World Cup
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that KL Rahul will open the batting with Rohit Sharma in the World Cup.
There had been demand for former captain Virat Kohli to open with Sharma following his rediscovery of his form in the Asia Cup. It remains an option, especially as India have not picked a third opener in their World Cup squad, but for now, Rahul has the job.
Rahul, Sharma’s vice-captain, has endured a difficult few months, first picking up an injury which ruled him out of the West Indies tour and then contracting Covid.
He was parachuted in at the last minute to lead the ODI squad that toured Zimbabwe but performed inconsistently there, and he largely had an Asia Cup to forget – although the same could be said of a number of players.
His period of inconsistently coincided with Kohli’s resurgence, inevitably leading to calls in some quarters for Rahul to be dropped altogether.
However, it seems that, for now, that is not being contemplated at all, and that Sharma and the selectors continue to have complete faith in Rahul.
If he can score some runs in the series against Australia, and the matches against South Africa which follow hot on their heels, not only would it be a big boost to his confidence, but it would also get the critics off his back.
Shami’s Covid blow
India’s preparations for the Australia series have been disrupted after pace bowler Mohammad Shami was diagnosed with Covid.
Shami was named among the reserves for the World Cup squad last week and was recalled for the forthcoming series against Australia and South Africa despite not having played a T20I since the World Cup last year.
However, it seems that his comeback will have to be delayed a little longer after his diagnosis.
Veteran Umesh Yadav will take Shami’s place, with a number of the other options like Prasidh Krishna injured whilst Mohammad Siraj is playing county cricket and it is viewed that there is no need to fly him back just for these matches.
Yadav has not played T20I cricket for more than three years, with his last appearance coming, ironically enough, against Australia, in February 2019.
He has been picked for his bowling action and ability to bowl with speed, but also swing the ball as well.
Not that he should be entertaining any hopes that he can still force his way into India’s World Cup plans. When everybody is fit, then he would not even merit consideration, given the many other options at India’s disposal.
However, it is a chance to revive an international career that started as far back as 2010, and which he must have thought was over. And at least he gets the chance to wear the new jersey!
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES