Speaking to Republic, former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer said that the "Balidan Badge" controversy was not that serious and was being blown out of proportion. He maintained that Dhoni already has an Army position and hence this shouldn't be a problem for anyone.
The ICC is facing a strong backlash from thousands of Indians for asking the BCCI to remove the "Balidan Badge" insignia from the wicketkeeping gloves of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Scores of celebrities, athletes and former cricketers have come out in support of the former captain, urging the BCCI to take the case up with the ICC as they believe that it is MS Dhoni's mark of respect for his nation and the armed forces.
Being conferred the honourary rank of Lt Colonel, Dhoni has undergone training in the Para Regiment earlier and is known to openly express his love and support for the Indian army on many occasions.
However, Jaffer had different views from the rest of the flock who supported Dhoni.
"When Moeen Ali wore a wrist band to show his support to the Palestinians during the Palestine-Syria conflict, it was reported to the ICC as it involved taking a political stance and supporting an ideology which the ICC aims to keep the game out of. There is no issue with MS Dhoni sporting the insignia but the game should be kept free of political and ideological matters. Probably the BCCI had not taken the prior permission of the ICC in this matter and hence they have objected to this sign. But in general, the game should be free of any religious, political or ideological influence", said Jaffer.
Incidentally, there are many occasions when teams make an addition to their kits by adding a small part to it in order to express support and solidarity to matters of importance. For instance, the Indian cricket team sported military caps to show their support for the martyrs in Pulwama after the terror attacks. Similarly, players are often known to sport arm/wrist bands to express support for the loss of loved ones(Philip Hughes), popular days and other initiatives.
The ICC has put the ball in the BCCI's court and has asked them to take a call. In turn, the BCCI has said that MS Dhoni must explain to the ICC about why he wants to retain the logo. However, the public sentiment behind the entire controversy remains that the "Balidan Badge" insignia does not carry any political relevance and hence the ICC's objection is not justified.