There's a tradition of retiring jersey numbers worn by legendary players like Sachin Tendulkar's No. 10', and in a sad note, that of Phillip Hughes' number 64 in the Australian cricket team. Now, with the introduction of jersey numbers in Test cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may soon retire No. 7 too as Mahendra Singh Dhoni will no longer play the traditional format of the game.
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Tendulkar's famous jersey No. 10 has already been "unofficially retired" by the BCCI from white ballcricket after pacer Shardul Thakur wore it briefly and was heavily trolled on social media. When India take the field in Antigua against the West Indies next month to start their ICC World Test Championship campaign, there is a distict possibility of no seeing the No. 7 too.
While no Indian players wears the No. 10 jersey as a mark of respect for Tendulkar's stupendous achievements, there is a strong possibility that jersey No. 7 worn by Dhoni in limited-overs will also not be used in Test.
It is learnt that most of the Indian players will opt for their limited-overs jersey numbers.
"Virat is expected to wear 18 while Rohit wears 45. Most of the players will wear their respective ODI and T20 numbers. Since MS is no longer playing Test cricket, jersey No. 7 is available but there is very little chance that any of the players will wear it," a senior BCCI official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
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Unlike in football, retiring jersey numbers is a relatively new concept. But fans and fellow players would love not to wear a number which was one associated with legendary player like Dhoni.
"People relate jersey No. 7 with MS. The consignment of numbered jerseys will only arrive in Caribbean only after ODI series," he added.
While a jersey can't be retired officially, the BCCI may mull a move as Dhoni's stature in Indian cricket is such and they also have the Thakur trolling incident on the back of their minds.
MS Dhoni, who has been playing limited overs internationals since 2015, has taken a two-month sabbatical to train with the Parachute Regiment under the Territorial Army where he is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.
The Ashes, starting August 1, will be the first bilateral under the World championship banner. It will also be the first such series where players will have jersey numbers.
The move by ICC is an effort to popularise the game and help fans connect better with the players.
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