The International Cricket Council (ICC) has turned down a request from the Indian board to allow M S Dhoni to continue wearing an Indian Army insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves during the World Cup. In a statement Friday evening, the game’s world governing body said: “The ICC has responded to the BCCI to confirm the logo displayed by M S Dhoni in the previous match is not permitted to be worn on his wicket-keeping gloves at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.”
It said: “The regulations for ICC events do not permit any individual message or logo to be displayed on any items of clothing or equipment. In addition to this, the logo also breaches the regulations in relation to what is permitted on wicketkeeper gloves.”
Rules are clear
The ICC’s clothing and equipment rules state that players shall not be allowed to wear, display or convey messages through “armbands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment (“personal messages”) unless approved in advance”. The ICC has the final say.
The statement came hours after the BCCI sent a letter to the governing body seeking permission for Dhoni to wear the gloves with the “Balidaan Badge”, the regimental dagger insignia of the Army’s Special Forces. On Thursday, the ICC had sent a communication to the Indian team management, asking for Dhoni to remove the insignia.
Speaking to reporters earlier, Vinod Rai, who heads the Committee of Administrators (CoA) overseeing Indian cricket, said that the BCCI doesn’t “propose to escalate this non-issue”.
Sources said the CoA was not aware of Dhoni sporting the insignia during India’s opening World Cup match against South Africa until media reports highlighted the issue. India will play their second match against Australia Sunday.
BCCI sources said prior permission is required from the ICC even to wear a non-commercial logo at the World Cup. In Dhoni’s case, the sources said, no prior permission was sought.
Meanwhile, the issue snowballed across social media with the hashtag #DhoniKeepTheGlove trending on Twitter — and fans, cricketers, celebrities, politicians and even Army personnel voicing their support for Dhoni.
In a Twitter post Friday, Congress leader and former Union sports minister Ajay Maken requested the newly sworn-in Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, to “intervene”. “@KirenRijiju ji, As a former Sports Minister, may I request you to kindly intervene & let #DhoniKeepTheGlove ‘ICC regulations do not permit messages relating to political, religious or racial activities/causes’ Thus Insignia on Dhoni’s gloves do not violate the ICC regulations!” Maken tweeted.
Posting a tweet in Hindi, Rijiju wrote: “The government doesn’t interfere in the affairs concerning our sports bodies, they are autonomous. But if the matter is related to the emotions of the country, then national interest has to be factored in. I request the BCCI to take the right step in the M S Dhoni gloves affair.”
Former India batsman Suresh Raina, too, expressed support for Dhoni, his IPL Chennai Super Kings captain. “While we are on the field, we devote ourselves to our country & we give all we can to make India proud. We all love our country & that’s exactly what @msdhoni has done, saluting the sacrifices of our heroes & honouring them. It should be taken as an act of patriotism & not nationalism,” he tweeted.