At a time when all the focus should have been on the World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to pay attention to MS Dhoni’s wicketkeeping gloves. It all started when the cameras focused at Dhoni’s gloves during India’s World Cup-opener against South Africa. Dhoni was sporting the “insignia” gloves.
Dhoni’s wicketkeeping gloves had the symbol of regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces. The “Balidaan Badge” or the Army insignia was spotted on Dhoni’s gloves as television replays showed him stumping Andile Phehlukwayo in the 40th over of the innings. As soon as the picture came out, fans across the country lauded Dhoni for the gesture.
The ICC, however, was quick to kill the joy of the Indian fans by issuing a directive to the BCCI to ban Dhoni from wearing the gloves. The BCCI was in no mood to listen to ICC as Dhoni was not at all flouting the rule books. The Army insignia was neither political nor religious and so Dhoni was not going against the rules. However, the ICC, like it has often shown in the past, gave a verdict against India.
“The ICC has responded to the BCCI to confirm the logo displayed by MS 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,” the cricket governing body said in a statement on Friday (June 7).
“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,” the gloves added.
Defenders of the ICC may want to take a position that the cricketing body is playing by the rulebook and rules are above everything. However, the rules just cannot justify ICC’s decision to prevent Dhoni from showing his love for the Indian Army. If such is the case, the esteemed administrators of the ICC should first ban Sheldon Cottrell from saluting after taking every wicket. The West Indies pacer has himself revealed that he salutes on field to show respect to defence forces,
“It’s a military-style salute. I’m a soldier by profession. Me saluting is just to show my respect to the Jamaica Defence Force,” he told the BBC earlier this year.
But then ICC has always treated India differently. Going down the memory lanes, one can pick out an incident from 2016 when ICC had ditched their rule books to allow England players to wear kit with a poppy stitched on so that Alastair Cook & Co. could pay tribute to the English soldiers. While FIFA, the governing body of football, had not allowed the England football team to do the same, the ICC had decided otherwise. Consequently, during the first Test in India, England’s players had observed a minute’s silence and wore poppies on the collars of their shirts.
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Pakistan or Afghanistan players offering their prayers on the field has never been objected by the ICC. The ICC have also not objected to the use of numerous use of religious words by the players of these two nations while giving interviews on the field. One can now just ask why Dhoni’s love for Army was made such a big issue and he was eventually banned from wearing his gloves.
The ICC might say that they just wanted to abide by the laws but their actions suggest otherwise. Time and again, the governing body of the game has shown that it perhaps has different rule books for India and other countries. Well, one just cannot do anything apart from criticising ICC for their double-standards but it is high time the administrators change their stance and not kill the sentiments of the fans of arguably the biggest cricketing nation in the world.