Dubai: On June 7, The International Cricket Council (ICC) ruled that Indian cricketer MS Dhoni could not keep a military insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves during the ongoing World Cup.
The former Indian captain is an honorary lieutenant colonel of a reserve force called the Territorial Army in India’s Parachute Regiment. On June 5, during India’s opening World Cup game against South Africa in Southampton in England, Dhoni was seen sporting the “Balidaan Badge”, an army insignia on his glove, with the word 'Baldiaan' inscribed on the logo. Balidaan, is Hindi for sacrifice.
Dhoni’s gesture did not go down well with the ICC, which cited rules and said that a player cannot sport anything except the logos of sponsors on gloves. They said the logo flouts ICC equipment and clothing regulations that do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match.
Twitter India debates
A debate ensued on Twitter - Is the Balidaan Badge a political message? No, said many.
Tweep @Upadhyayji_23 posted: “The Balidaan badge doesn’t violate any of these regulations, so why ask it to be removed? #DhoniKeepTheGlove.”
Prominent news anchors did not lose opportunity to fan the ‘Balidaan’ fire and soon, the debate moved to prime segments on news channels.
Much Ado About Nothing?
While many said BCCI should continue to fight ICCs decision, some said the issue was being blown out of proportion.
@ArnabjitSur tweeted: “Cricket is very different from an actual war-field. International sporting protocols take precedence against nationalistic elements like the ‘Balidaan Badge’. Journalists should stop rabble-rousing under the garb of reporting.”
And, @arelanikhil tweeted: “This whole glove controversy is being blown out of proportion. Respect Dhoni for his love towards our forces but when ICC says it’s disallowed, respect rules and move on. This isn’t an insult to armed forces. And anyway the legitimacy of a sports body is the last thing they require.
Keep politics out of cricket
Tweep @dipesh_khanal like many others said politics should be kept out of the gentleman’s game. He wrote: “Sports persons like #Dhoni are no doubt, excellent cricketers, they carry the machismo a little too far. Wearing army insignia on gloves is absolutely meaningless. If Dhoni has any sense he should humbly comply with the ICC rules. Dear Mahi, let cricket be kept aside with politics.”
And, @Kumargautamkg added: “The gloves came to #Dhoni only after he became a cricket player par excellence. He needs to play cricket to be greatest. Keep the politics and false sense of nationalism out of it.”
Dhoni in politics?
As Dhoni remained quiet about the issue, some speculated that politics looked like the next step for the cricketer.
Tweep @mukeshkeshan posted: “Dhoni is sensible and soon wants to land into politics after retirement from cricket... get it.”
@NITINKML tweeted: “How does Dhoni think the glove controversy makes the rest of the team look ? Like ‘See, I am the only man who cares about our military - the rest are just into cricket’. Looks like he is set to follow [cricketer Gautam] Gambhir into electoral politics - I only wish he wouldn’t choose WC to start!”