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Cricket World Cup: Vinod Rai Backs MS Dhoni on Insignia Furore, Says BCCI Will Seek Permission

Devadyuti Das |June 7, 2019, 3:24 PM IST
Cricket World Cup: Vinod Rai Backs MS Dhoni on Insignia Furore, Says BCCI Will Seek Permission

Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to sport the regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces has found support from Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chairman Vinod Rai, who said on Friday that he will request the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow Dhoni to continue sporting the insignia.

Rai said that he stands by the player — Dhoni — as the insignia on the glove is ‘neither religious nor commercial’ in nature not even an ‘insignia of his regiment’. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will apply for a formal permission from the ICC in line with their rules and the Board will back Dhoni for a formal permission. He also said that a letter communicating the same has been sent to the ICC.

CricketNext understands that the CoA are having a meeting to discuss this issue in particular. “We are having a meeting on how to handle this issue. We will let everyone know as soon as we have reached a decision,” CoA member Lt. Gen. (retd.) Ravi Thodge told CricketNext on Friday.

Dhoni sported the ‘Balidan’ insignia on his glove in India’s first ICC World Cup game against South Africa on Wednesday.

Claire Furlong, ICC General Manager (Strategic Communications), told PTI on Thursday that the apex body has requested the Indian cricket board to have the sign removed. India's next game is against Australia on Sunday.

“It is against the regulations and we have requested it is removed,” Furlong told PTI.

When asked if Dhoni, who is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of Territorial Army, could be penalised for the breach of an ICC regulation, she added: “For first breach no, just a request to remove.”

Balidaan is a distinct insignia of the special forces, which form part of the Parachute Regiment. It has a commando dagger pointed downwards, with upward-extending wings extending from the blade and a scroll superimposed on the blade with Balidaan inscribed in Devanagari. Only Paramilitary Commandos are allowed to wear the Balidaan Badge.

As per ICC's 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."

This isn't the first time that ICC has come down hard on players sporting such messages. During India’s tour of England in 2014, all-rounder Moeen Ali was banned from wearing “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” wristbands during the third Test at Southampton by ICC Match Referee David Boon, despite being cleared by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on the grounds that it was a humanitarian statement and not a political one.

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1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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