Reacting to the ICC-Dhoni's 'Balidaan' badge issue, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, on Friday, has said that while the Government does not interfere with autonomous sports body, he hopes that the BCCI backs MS Dhoni as it is a matter of national pride. He has also added that the sentiment of the nation should be kept in mind by the BCCI while dealing with ICC.
"The government does not interfere in the functioning of BCCI or any sports body. They are autonomous in nature. On the incident related to the World Cup, as reports have come that the pride of India is involved, I would like to say that BCCI should take up the issue on their level properly with the ICC. They should also keep in mind the sentiment of the nation while dealing with the issue," he said.
The sports minister took to Twitter to emphasize the above message:
As the nation's pride is involved in this particular issue, Rijiju has also said that the BCCI should inform the government of the updates in the matter hoping for proper resolution through conversation.
"Being the Sports minister, it is my duty to be informed of such issues. I would also like to request BCCI that they take care that if the issue is affecting the pride of the nation, they should inform the government. I also believe that the BCCI will take up the matter properly and will resolve the issue in conversation with ICC," he added.
Pointing out that MS Dhoni was the representation of India, he has said that the BCCI should continue supporting the former Indian cricket captain as the matter was not political.
"MS Dhoni's identity is an identity of India, an identity of the Army. As it is not political, I hope that BCCI will stand with Dhoni. As per media reports, I have learned that BCCI is standing with Dhoni and I hope they continue to do so," he said.
Earlier in the day, ICC had confirmed that it was considering the issue adding that it may or may not reconsider its stance even if Dhoni & BCCI convince their intention to the ICC, in conversation to Republic TV.
"There is a specific rule of ICC that clearly talks about the dress code. Clearly, this seems to be a violation. I am not commenting on what was Dhoni's intention but ICC may or may not reconsider its stand even if Dhoni & BCCI convince their intention," said ICC CEO Dave Richardson.
Prior to this development, the BCCI had spoken to Republic TV sources saying that they had already written a letter to the ICC on seeking clearance for MS Dhoni to continue wearing the insignia badge on his gloves, with the Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai confirming the news.
"We have already written (to ICC to seek permission for MS Dhoni to wear 'Balidaan' insignia on his gloves), will speak more after the meeting (CoA meeting)," Rai said.
The entire controversy started when the International Cricket Council (ICC), on Thursday, requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to get the 'Balidaan' insignia removed from Indian cricketer and former Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wicketkeeping gloves citing that the ICC official rules regarding equipment and clothing do not allow the show of political and religious messages during a match.
After the ICC's decision to ask BCCi to get the insignia removed, many military officials, actors, sportspersons, government authorities have vocally supported MS Dhoni to keep the gloves on sporting the insignia.
Incidentally, MS Dhoni is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Para-Air troops on the Indian Army and belongs to the same regiment as the Para Special forces whose badge he is seen sporting.