Appearing in India’s first-ever national Twenty20 cricket uniform designed by Nike, captain M.S. Dhoni said on Thursday his team was ready “physically and mentally” for the long season ahead.
“The one-and-a-half month break after the IPL-V season was good and we also had breaks between each of the five One-Day Internationals played in Sri Lanka. We are all ready on the physical and mental aspects for the Test series against New Zealand.
“Slowly we will get into the Test match format of the game. Probably the season will end with the IPL in 2013, so we have to look ahead every 15 days. The focus will be on fitness right through the long season,” said Dhoni.
Responding to Yuvraj Singh’s return to the Indian team for the Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand and also the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 7, Dhoni said: “The dressing room was really boring without Yuvraj Singh the character, apart from his batting skills
“Virat Kohli did make up for his absence, but now there will be competition between Yuvraj and Virat to determine who is the best on the count of ragging.”
Describing the jersey — with a contemporary collar and which has a national tricolour pattern over the left shoulder — as India’s first-ever national Twenty20 uniform, Nike’s global design director Stewart Iwasaki said it was uniquely crafted for the freedom of moment.
“It’s a landmark moment for Nike, which became the apparel sponsor for the BCCI in December 2005. The new design is based on dry-fit technology and it is innovative and inspiring. Nike always listens to the voice of the athlete. Last year the Bleed Blue campaign had 11 million hand prints,” said Tarun Puri, Managing Director and General Manager, Nike India Pvt. Ltd.
Nike presented Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Yiuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane at the launch of the jersey.
“It’s a very good start. When people were surfing television channels, they identified whites with Test cricket and blue with one-day cricket.
“Now they can distinguish between one-day and Twenty20 cricket because of the new national Twenty20 uniform; it has more orange in it.
“A lot of research has gone into it; I don’t know whether we will score more runs, but we will definitely feel more comfortable,” said Dhoni.
Irfan Pathan said the uniform was much lighter, Kohli said it was stylish and Sehwag said the non-sweaty nature of the dress would help the cricketers in hot and humid conditions in South India and Sri Lanka.
“The jersey has the colours of the national tricolour which is close to my heart,” Sehwag said.