The controversy surrounding the ICC taking objection to former Team India captain MS Dhoni wearing the 'Balidaan Badge' of his Para regiment on his wicket-keeping gloves at the World Cup has taken a political turn with the Congress coming out strongly in his support.
Taking to Twitter the morning after #DhoniKeepTheGlove became a country-wide call as netizens backed Dhoni's right to wear the gloves, Congress leader and Supreme Court senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi highlighted how the World Cup 2011-winning skipper was a Lt Colonel and a special forces designate. He highlighted how the ICC's rules only bar political, religious & racial statements on the overalls and the insignia falls outside that:
Earlier, speaking to Republic TV, a number of key personalities from various fields had backed MS Dhoni and called for the BCCI to not succumb, to do what is required to uphold his right to wear the accoutrement.
While Cricket analyst Kishore Bhimani said that the ICC was showing its muscle without reason, former Team India pacer Sreesanth implored the BCCI to stand for the country and for the citizens to stand for Dhoni.
Giving the matter an Indian Armed forces perspective, Major Gaurav Arya (Retd.) said, "this is neither political nor religious. MS Dhoni is actually Lieutenant Colonel Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is part of the Territorial Army and the Para regiment. He has done training as a paratrooper along with the para-brigade in Agra. He was attached to 5-Para and was staying in their mess. So Dhoni is wearing the insignia of the regiment of which he is a part."
Major General GD Bakshi (Retd.) said that Dhoni "has every right to wear it, and I don't think anybody can order that badge off as that amounts to court martialing the man and throwing him out of his regiment. It is a matter of honour, it is a Balidaan Badge. It is being asked what is political about it? The rules of ICC generally pertains to the logos of commercial outfit, those are not permitted as payments are involved, as sometimes they pay to put their logos and keep out the logos of their rivals."
Significantly, speaking to Republic TV, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that he had been apprised of the matter and would look into it. Additionally, Pakistan made an uninvited entry into the controversy, with Imran Khan's spooked Science and Technology Minister replied to a Republic tweet and hit out:
The 'Balidaan Badge' was clearly spotted when the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman dismissed Andile Phehlukwayo in the 40th over of the South African innings in India’ first World Cup match on Wednesday. The regimental dagger is the insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces, of which MS Dhoni is an honorary member.
India will next face Australia in the World Cup, in London, on Sunday.