The International Cricket Council’s request to the Board of Control for Cricket in India to get the ‘Balidaan Badge’ removed from Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wicket-keeping gloves spooked Pakistan. The neighbouring country’s minister Fawad Hussain attacked the veteran Indian cricketer for his gesture honouring the Indian Para Special Forces.
Moments after the ICC decision made headlines in the country, Hussain, the Federal Minister for Science & Technology Government of Pakistan, tweeted, “Dhoni is in England to play cricket not to for MahaBharta , what an idiotic debate in Indian Media,a section of Indian media is so obsessed with War they should be sent to Syria, Afghanistan Or Rawanda as mercenaries.... #Idiots.” (sic)
Meanwhile, Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju stated that the Ministry will look into the matter.
Squad member of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s two World Cup-winning teams, Sreesanth, also came out in support of his former captain.
Sreesanth said, “Everybody knows Dhoni bhai is very patriotic. They should ask for a forgiveness letter. It’s really a question of the country’s rights. I believe Dhoni bhai should be allowed to play with the gloves. I’m shocked to listen to this from the ICC. They shouldn’t be overpowering; surely this is not acceptable.”
He added, “BCCI should stand up for Dhoni. It is not against, but actually standing up for your own country, BCCI should stand for our country and we should stand for Dhoni.”
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.
According to reports, the decision was prompted by the ICC official rules regarding equipment and clothing that do not allow the show of political and religious messages during a match.
Claire Furlong, ICC General Manager - Strategic Communications has confirmed the news and called it as against regulations. When asked if Dhoni could be penalised, Furlong said that there will be no action for the first breach and that it was only a request to remove the badge.
In 2011, Dhoni was given an honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel and he has undergone training for a brief period with the para regiment. During the course of his training in Agra, Dhoni is believed to have done five parachute jumps during the training period.