Superstitions have a long-running presence in cricket, differing on particular aspects that help continue a player’s form in the sport. But of them all, having a specific jersey number often invites widespread affection.
If quizzed about the most famous jersey numbers, cricket fans are quick enough to point out MS Dhoni’s number 7, Virat Kohli’s number 18, Chris Gayle’s number 333, and Shane Warne’s 23. But one jersey number that has been a fan favourite for over two decades is Sachin Tendulkar’s number 10.
Why does the number 10 hold great value?
Often, the number 10 jersey has a more historical value in football than in cricket, as it is handed down to the most important player in a team. In football, the number 10 jersey is associated with iconic players like Diego Maradona, Pele, Neymar, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.
While notable players like Shahid Afridi and Allan Donald have worn the number 10 jersey in cricket, the number is more revered due to the legacy of Sachin Tendulkar.
What did Sachin Tendulkar do to make number 10 famous?
Sachin Tendulkar, who started with the number 99 jersey and also wore 33 briefly, wore the number 10 jersey for most of his record-breaking ODI career. The ‘Master Blaster’ hit 18,426 ODI runs and 49 centuries while donning the number 10. He also was the first to register an ODI double hundred (vs South Africa, 2010).
His brilliance in the Test format (15,921 runs and 51 centuries) added more value to his number 10 jersey despite the white uniform not having any official number on the back in his heyday.
Generations of cricket fans flocked to stadiums to catch Sachin Tendulkar in action, such that even after his retirement in 2013 as the highest run-getter in international cricket, the love for him has never dwindled. His cricket jerseys continue to fetch buyers, and fans still show their support in his name at every India game.
There have been unanimous calls for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to retire Tendulkar’s jersey officially. The calls for the same took an unprecedented leap when Shardul Thakur wore the number 10 jersey on his ODI debut in 2017. Thakur would change his number to 54 later.
Who are the potential candidates to take over the number 10 jersey for India?
As of today, there is practically no one who has been identified to take over Sachin Tendulkar’s number 10 jersey for India.
According to the ICC laws, there is no provision to officially retire a cricket number jersey as it happens in football.
At least for the foreseeable future, there won’t be any cricketer who could become Tendulkar’s successor. But, there will come a day when Indian cricket will have a new number 10.
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