How the Indian cricket team’s jersey has changed over the years

Since the 1980s, the Indian cricket team has been decked up in various shades of blue, from light blue to Oxford blue to azure and "contemporary blue" and so on. Kit changes were very frequent during the 1990s, almost on a series by series basis. The advent of kit sponsors Nike from the mid-2000s ensured more consistency.

Ahead of India's tour of Australia in 2020-21, MPL announced their arrival as new kit sponsors with a retro-themed 1992 World Cup design, a favourite among fans world over.

We go down memory lane, from 1985 to the present. Which is your all-time favourite?


Australia introduced coloured clothing to international cricket. At the 1985 World Championship of Cricket, title-holders India adopted the light blue and yellow combination, which was to be the standard in the years to come. This was the simplest of kits, sans sponsors, logos, emblems and even player names. Photo: Adrian Murrell
Back in Australia for a full series in 1991-92, the kit this time had two important additions – team and player names, much to the relief of scorers for sure. Photo: V.V. KRISHNAN
The 1992 World Cup kits, even today, remain a big hit with cricket fans world over. Replica versions continue to sell like hot cakes, as we can see in the current World Cup. India transitioned to Oxford blue, while England wore the light blue shade. Photo: V. V. KRISHNAN
The dark shade of blue stayed for the tour of South Africa later in the year, with blue and yellow stripes across like heart rate lines. Not that this series gave Indian fans many heart-stopping moments though. Photo: V.V. KRISHNAN
Sachin Tendukar probably has this one-of-a-kind yellow-navy blue kit preserved somewhere, and for good reason too. In his first innings as an opener, he smashed a legendary 82 off 49 balls in Auckland in 1994. Photo: THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES
Tendulkar’s first ODI century (out of 49), five years into his career, at the 1994 Singer World Series in Sri Lanka. If you’re a die-hard Sachin fan, you would have photographic memory of this kit. Photo: N. Sridharan
Dark blue was back, for the New Zealand Centenary Series in 1995. But probably for the first time, the Indian tri-colour made an appearance in the team jersey. Players wore a giant Ashok Chakra on their sleeves, literally. Photo: N. SRIDHARAN
The 1996 World Cup was the last one in which all the teams turned out in kits with a fixed design. India went back to light blue, with a yellow collar and thin yellow strips below the team name. Photo: V. V. KRISHNAN
Loud colours made this kit from the 1997 tour of Sri Lanka a bit hard on the eyes. But Robin Singh wouldn’t have made a fuss. He scored his only ODI century wearing this. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
Sharjah, April, 1998. A series Tendulkar made his own. Light blue shirt, dark blue trousers with saffron and green of the Indian flag prominent on both sides. Photo: V. V. KRISHNAN
At the 1999 World Cup, India wore sky blue again, with large Y shapes from the BCCI logo running diagonally across the shirt. This design is still quite popular with replica shirts being sold. Photo: V. V. KRISHNAN
This was India’s jersey for much of 2000 and 2001. There were no further mixing and matching experiments with navy blue as sky blue was the preferred choice. Photo: Reuters
Where are the sponsors? Thanks to an ambush marketing clause by the ICC that created controversy, “rivals” of the official tournament sponsors were not allowed to display their logos, so team kits had to be reworked for the 2002 Champions Trophy. The team India kit ended up looking really simple. Photo: Reuters
The 2003 World Cup wasn't spared either of the ambush marketing clause. Sahara India was not allowed to be displayed on India's kit as its airline wing conflicted with South African Airways, one of the main sponsors. The team was allowed to display Amby Valley, Sahara's residential project. Photo: V. V. Krishnan
This light blue kit with the tricolour in brushstrokes displayed diagonally under the sponsors Sahara was the mainstay in the mid-2000s. Here the Indians celebrate a historic series win in Pakistan in 2004. Photo: S. Subramanium
From 2007, most memorably during the 2007 World T20, it was an even lighter shade of blue with the tricolour shifting from centre to the right shoulder dropping down in a sleek design. Photo: AP
From early 2009, the team bid goodbye to light blue to embrace a darker shade. This was taken ahead of the tour of New Zealand. Photo: AFP
The shade of blue we would identify with the most through this decade. For the 2011 World Cup, team name in orange, with saffron, white and green in a thin strip on the sides. Photo: V. GANESAN
Ahead of the home series against Australia in 2013, kit sponsors Nike launched its “contemporary blue” kit, made from 100% recycled polyester.
Image courtesy: BCCI
Star India were signed up as the new team sponsors in 2014. Ahead of the 2015 World Cup, players modelled the new “socially responsible” kit on the roof of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was said that each pair of shirt and trouser was made out of 33 plastic bottles. Photo: BCCI
Enter new sponsors, Oppo. There was another tweak to the kit. Nike went a few steps further, introducing new features “4D Quickness” and “Zero distractions”. Wondering what that meant? Google it. Even we had to. Photo: AP
India’s latest kit was launched ahead of the 2019 World Cup. A simple, no-frills design. Photo: K.V.S. GIRI
The 2019 World Cup was also the chance to unveil an 'away' jersey for the first time. To avoid clashing with England's sky blue colour for the Edgbaston league game, Nike brought out a predominantly orange kit. Blue in front, orange on the sleeves and back. Photo: AP
Looks familiar? The fan-favourite 1992 World Cup Oxford blue kit made a return to the same country where it was launched nearly two decades ago – Australia. Ahead of India’s tour in 2020-21, the team had a new sponsor in Byju’s and following Nike’s departure, MPL took over as new kit sponsors. Retro was the way to go, but the response on social media was mixed. While many were nostalgic, some weren’t pleased with the “oversized” sponsor logos crowding the shirt. In the commercial age, you can’t please everyone, can you? Photo: AFP
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