Amid the controversy surrounding the ICC's objection to Indian team wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni wearing the 'Balidaan Badge' of his Para regiment on his wicket-keeping gloves at the World Cup, legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh has extended his support to the former captain of the Indian cricket team on wearing the badge.
Speaking to Republic TV on Friday, Milkha Singh stated that he did not like what the ICC (International Cricket Council) has done on objecting to Dhoni wearing the 'Balidaan Badge' on his glove. Adding that Dhoni has been honoured with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Army, the former Indian athlete and Olympian, popularly known as 'The Flying Sikh', stated that Dhoni is giving respect to the Army by wearing the badge.
"I also don't like it what ICC has done. If the world today knows India, it is because of the Army. I am proud of army. I was also an armyman. If I would not have been an army man, then Milkha Singh would not have been known in the world. Dhoni has been bestowed with the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel. It is a huge deal. There is no harm if he has used the Army batch on the glove. What is the issue of wearing a badge. I believe it is a matter of courage that he has put the badge and he is doing good for the country. The army is protecting us. He should wear a badge. He has given respect to the army. It should not be taken seriously," Milkha Singh said.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday took cognisance of the controversy and told Republic TV that he is 'looking into the issue' after the International Cricket Council (ICC) asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to get the 'Balidaan Badge' or the regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces removed from Dhoni's wicketkeeping gloves.
MS Dhoni was seen donning the 'Balidan' (sacrifice) badge on his wicket-keeping glove during the team's ICC Cricket World Cup match against South Africa 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.