In cricket, jersey numbers are not given much importance and do not tend to represent specific positioning abilities or skills as in football. Cricketers over the course of time have spotted many usual as well as stand-out jersey numbers and many believe in carrying their luck behind their back in the form of jersey numbers.
There have been a few cricketers who played for their teams with unusual jersey numbers on their back and they associate those numbers with their personal beliefs and likings.
Here's a list of 8 players who had fairly unusual jersey numbers.
1. Hardik Pandya – 228
The versatile Indian all-rounder is regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the current Indian side. Hardik Pandya made his debut for India against the Aussies and was a part of the young Indian side which whitewashed Australia in the T20 series in 2016.
The Indian all-rounder in his debut series was spotted wearing the number 228 on the back of his jersey, which is his highest individual score in a cricket match. He scored 228 runs for his side Baroda in an Under-16 tournament and helped his team chase a score of above 350 from 23/4. Baroda went on to win the match on the basis of a first innings lead.
2. Chris Gayle – 333
The West Indian power house in recent times has established himself as one of the strongest strikers of the cricket ball. Apart from playing for the West Indies, Gayle has also played a lot of cricket in different leagues around the world.
Number 333 is his signature jersey number which he has been spotted wearing in different T20 leagues and is his highest individual score in a Test match, which he scored against Sri Lanka. The affair with the lucky jersey number for the left-handed batsman didn't stop there as he changed it to 175, after the 2013 IPL season. His score of 175 runs is the highest individual score in a T20 match which he scored against Pune Warriors while playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL match.
3. Marlon Samuels – 730
Another West Indian in the list, all-rounder Marlon Samuels is known for his aggressive style of batting. He has have had many ups and downs in his career including, the all time low of being sidelined from the national team on allegations of being involved in match fixing.
Samuels used the numbers 730 as his jersey number in the Bangladesh Premier League for his side Duronto Rajshahi which represents the number of days he was away from the game after being expelled from the sport by the West Indies Cricket board.
4. Muttiah Muralitharan – 800
The legendary Sri Lankan right-arm spinner is rated as one of the greatest Test match bowlers of all time. He took 800 wickets in Test matches and 534 wickets in One-Day internationals.
Throughout his career, Muralitharan wore the jersey with the number 8 on the back, but after his retirement, he got the record number 800 imprinted on his jersey, which marked the total number of test wickets he took in his career.
5. Kamran Akmal – 158
The Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman has played a vital role in the Pakistani setup and was also a part of the team that won the T-20 World cup in 2009.
He used 23 as his jersey number for a majority of his career but then changed his jersey number to 158, which represented his highest individual score in Test cricket.
6. Cheteshwar Pujara – 266
Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has made a name for himself in Test cricket and has already been compared to the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in terms of skills and batting style. The right-handed batsman is now a major pillar of the Indian batting order in Test cricket and has continuously improved to keep his spot in the team.
Pujara is quite a surprise in the list, the Indian batsman wore the number 266 on his back in IPL while playing for Kings XI Punjab. He is the 266th cricketer to have represented India in Test cricket which is the reason behind the number 266 being his favourite jersey number.
7. Virender Sehwag – No jersey number
One of the most fearless and destructive batsmen to have ever played for India, the kind of batting style Sehwag possessed didn't require any sort of luck. But the Nawab of Nazafgarh is said to be a firm believer of numerology and it came as a surprise to fans and players when he went numberless and wore a jersey without any number.
In the later phase of his career, Sehwag got rid of his usual number 44 jersey and wore a jersey without any number as 44(4+4=8), according to his numerologist, was not the right one for him.
8. Ashwell Prince – 5+0
South African middle order batsman Ashwell Prince represented his country in more than 50 ODI and Test matches. He is the first ever non-white cricketer to have captained the South African side, when the then captain Graeme Smith got injured. Prince was considered as a Test specialist for South Africa, and helped them win some major matches with his bat.
Prince wore jersey number 5+0 to pay homage and respect to the late Hansie Cronje, one of South Africa's ex-captains, who passed away in a helicopter crash. Cronje used to wear the number 5 jersey, while playing for South Africa.Published 12 Nov 2016, 19:46 IST