The ICC world cup match between India and South Africa had been the talk of the town, not only because of India’s spectacular win but also due to the former captain MS Dhoni’s brilliant display of patriotism. He was seen sporting the regimental dagger insignia of the Para Special Forces with Balidaan inscribed on his gloves. Only the Para Commandos of the Indian army are allowed to wear the Balidaan Badge which MS Dhoni is fully entitled to, given the fact that he is an honorary rank holder in the Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment.
— CricketNext (@cricketnext) June 5, 2019
The move had led to proud Indians proclaiming their utmost respect for the former captain and the cricket team.
Dhoni Insignia Row .To put it simply and mildly, BCCI should tell ICC to go to hell .
— Paresh Rawal (@SirPareshRawal) June 6, 2019
#DhoniKeepTheGlove | Join the countrywide campaign, send in your support for MS Dhoni's right to wear the Balidaan Badge on his glove at the World Cup 2019. Tweet your videos using the hashtag and watch #LIVE here – https://t.co/LGCyJUEBn5 pic.twitter.com/t9EBDxSFbs
— Republic (@republic) June 7, 2019
On the other spectrum, there are a set of people who are widely disturbed with this, without any valid cause. As expected, the Pakistani ministers have criticized the move and unfortunately, even the ICC has disapproved of this symbol and has “requested the BCCI to get it removed”.
For this, the ICC has cited their Clothing and Equipment Rules and Regulations, under G 1, “Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment (“Personal Messages”) unless approved in advance by both the player or team official’s Board and the ICC Cricket Operations Department. Approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes. The ICC shall have the final say in determining whether any such message is approved. For the avoidance of doubt, where a message is approved by the player or team official’s Board but subsequently disapproved by the ICC’s Cricket Operations Department, the player or team official shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey such message in International Matches.”
However, in sporting the Armed Forces symbol, MS Dhoni hasn’t violated any rule. First of all, the symbol isn’t a personal message of any kind; it is merely a token of respect towards the Indian Army. MS Dhoni, being a rank holder isn’t attempting to convey any message to anyone and is simply wearing what he is entitled to wear. Moreover, it is the messages related to political, religious or racial activities which are strictly banned by the ICC and rightly so. However, a symbol of the Indian army is none of those. The Armed Forces are an independent body in the country, unrelated to any political situation in the country and do not differentiate or even take into account any religious or racial factors. The mark, therefore, falls outside the purview of the rule specified by the cricket council.
This isn’t the first time when armed forces are being recognized and respected on the cricket field. After the Pulwama terror attack in which 44 CRPF troopers lost their lives, the entire Indian team was seen sporting camouflage caps in their bid to pay tribute to the security personnel. Similarly, in 2018, the England and Indian cricket teams had united in their recognition of the Indian veterans who fought in World War I alongside England. The teams had worn a khadi poppy, which was identical to the traditional British symbol of remembrance of the war dead. At that point of time, this move had been much appreciated and hadn’t yielded and backlash by either the ICC or any other individual.
Seeing as though paying homage to the Armed Forces on the cricket field is an established practice, MS Dhoni is now attempting to pay tribute to them and the sacrifices they make. This is an extremely honorable move which should be lauded by all. If the ICC cannot appreciate and encourage the step taken, the least they should do is stop creating hindrances.