The sports fraternity came out in support of Mahendra Singh Dhoni for wearing the dagger insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves during India’s World Cup game against South Africa, with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju urging the BCCI to resolve the issue. During the match in Southampton on Wednesday, Dhoni’s green keeping gloves had a dagger logo embossed, which looked more like an Army insignia. While his gesture was appreciated by fans, the ICC requested the BCCI to ask Dhoni to remove the sign from the gloves, citing rules that forbid display of messages “which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes”.
However, the BCCI sent a formal request to the ICC for clearance with Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai insisting that there was nothing commercial or religious about the logo. “... 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 wrote on his twitter handle.
Dhoni also received support from Chennai Super Kings (CSK) teammate and India batsman Suresh Raina, former pacer R P Singh, London Olympics bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and India sprinter Hima Das. “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,” Raina tweeted.
Yogeshwar, who won two gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, said removing the logo will be an insult to the Indian Army. “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,” he wrote.
Hima, who is the first Indian to win a gold in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships, also threw her weight behind Dhoni. “INDIA with Dhoni brother. I support Mahi brother. Jai hind Jai Bharat...,” she wrote on her twitter handle.
R P Singh, too, was left bemused by the ICC’s stance on the issue. “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,” he wrote.
Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, however, believes Dhoni should remove the logo and follow the rules. “A player should go by the rules and regulations. If it’s against that, then Dhoni will have to remove it,” Bhutia told a TV channel.
It is learnt that the ICC’s Cricket Operations team will now discuss the matter with the World Cup’s Event Technical committee and the BCCI will have to prove that the dagger insignia is not military symbolism and only then Dhoni would be allowed to continue sporting it.
Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army and dagger is part of their emblem.