After a drama-filled day that set the social media on fire and the Board on Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in action mode,
the International Cricket Council (ICC) late in the day calmly shot down a request to allow MS Dhoni to continue wearing the dagger insignia on his wicketkeeping gloves.
Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai on Friday sought permission from the ICC to ensure Dhoni, who wore gloves containing the dagger insignia “Balidaan” during India’s opening World Cup game against South Africa, can continue wearing them as it wasn’t against ICC’s rules.
Even the new sports minister Kiren Rijiju backed the former India skipper on the issue, terming it a “non-political” one but saying “the interest of the nation has to be kept in mind”.
The ICC, however, had none of it, brushing aside the BCCI’s request. “The regulations for ICC events do not permit any individual message or logo to be displayed on any items of clothing or equipment. In addition to this, the logo also breaches the regulations in relation to what is permitted on wicketkeeper gloves,” the ICC said in a statement.
The entire controversy erupted during India’s opening World Cup game against South Africa on Wednesday when Dhoni was seen donning a dagger insignia “Balidaan” of the Indian Para Special Forces on his gloves. Dhoni, mind you, is an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the parachute regiment of the Indian Territorial Army.
As per the ICC rules, players can only sport the logos of the manufacturer in the gloves. “Each player has to seek permission before sporting those logos. And in the case of Dhoni, he has got the necessary permission to only wear the logo of the company (SG in this case),” an ICC source said.
It is learnt that ICC cited regulation D.1 from the rulebook that deals with clothing regulation to drive home their point.
“No Logo shall be permitted to be displayed on Cricket Clothing or Cricket Equipment, other than a National Logo, a Commercial Logo, an Event Logo, a Manufacturer’s Logo, a Player’s Bat Logo, a Charity Logo or a Non-Commercial Logo as provided in these Regulations.
“In addition, where any Match official becomes aware of any clothing or equipment that does not comply with these Regulations, he shall be authorised to prevent the offending person from taking the field of play (or to order them from the field of play, if appropriate) until the non-compliant clothing or equipment is removed or appropriately covered up,” the rulebook read.
Going by BCCI’s explanation, the insignia does not go against any of the ICC’s rules.
“The BCCI had already sent a formal request to the ICC for clearance. As per ICC regulations, players can’t sport any commercial, religious or military logo. There was nothing commercial or religious in this regard as we all know. And it is not the paramilitary regimental dagger that is embossed in his gloves. So Dhoni is not in breach of ICC regulations,” Rai said on Friday.
Sports minister Rijiju, on the other hand, urged BCCI to put forward their views while keeping people’s emotions in mind. “When the issue is connected with the sentiments of the country, the interest of the nation has to be kept in mind. I urge the BCCI to take a fair step in the Mahendra Singh Dhoni case,” Rijiju tweeted.
HOW THEY REACTED
We all love our country & that’s exactly @msdhoni has done, saluting the sacrifices of our heroes & honouring them. It should be taken as an act of patriotism & not nationalism.— Suresh Raina, cricketer
A player should go by the rules and regulations. If it’s against that, then Dhoni will have to remove it.— Bhaichung Bhutia, former footballer
The demand for the removal of this badge #ICC is not only an insult to the sacrifices of the Indian Army but the Indian Army. We all have fellow countrymen with Dhoni. #DhoniKeepTheGlove @msdhoni @ICC @BCCI— Yogeshwar Dutt, wrestler
INDIA with Dhoni brother. I support Mahi brother. Jai hind Jai Bharat...— Hima Das, athlete
Tough for me to understand how @msdhoni’s on field gesture on his glove is a problem to @ICC. His fans have taken inspiration out of it and he himself is a respected Lt.Col, really strange.#MSDhoni,— RP Singh, ex-cricketer
I have always felt that every sportsperson is a soldier of his/her nation. We fight the battles of “peace-time”. It is neither political or religious. It is who we are. And if “Balidan” can define a soldier, it can also define an athlete. #DhoniKeepTheGlove— Heena Sidhu, shooter