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Gloves Off: MS Dhoni Finds Support From Kiren Rijiju, Sports Fraternity in Army Insignia Controversy

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Suresh Raina, among others, came out in support of MS Dhoni in the Indian Army Insignia Controversy.

News18 Sports

Updated:June 7, 2019, 6:54 PM IST
Gloves Off: MS Dhoni Finds Support From Kiren Rijiju, Sports Fraternity in Army Insignia Controversy
The pictures of Dhoni's gloves went viral on social media within no time and fans poured in love and respect for the 37-year-old.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been in the eye of a ragging storm as controversy erupted when broadcaster spotted the Indian wicket-keeper sporting an 'Indian army insignia' on his gloves.

During India's opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup against South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday, Dhoni's green keeping gloves had a dagger logo embossed caught the attention of the cricketing continuity along with the International Cricket council (ICC).

The ICC subsequently requested the BCCI to ask Dhoni to remove the sign from the gloves, citing rules that forbid display of messages "which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes".

However, the BCCI sent a formal request to the ICC for clearance with Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai insisting that there was nothing commercial or religious about the logo.

There has been outpouring support for Dhoni from the sporting community, with Sports Minister of India, Kiren Rijuji during the BCCI to resolve the issue.

"... the issue is connected with the sentiments of the country, the interest of the nation has to be kept in mind. I urge the BCCI to take a fair step in the Mahendra Singh Dhoni case," Rijiju wrote on his twitter handle.

“The government doesn’t intervene in affairs of sports bodies, they are autonomous. But when the issue is related to the country’s sentiments, then the interest of the nation has to be kept in mind. I would like to request BCCI to take up the matter with ICC,” Rijiju later told ANI.

Union Minister and former Army Chief Gen VK Singh also came out in support of Dhoni saying that, "By wearing the 'Balidaan' insignia over his gloves MS Dhoni has shown his love & respect for the forces. ICC should understand that this is not related to any political/religious/racial activities but it is about our national pride."

Indian cricketer and Dhoni's CSK team-mate Suresh Raina also came out in support ofthe former India skipper. "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 @msdhoni has done, saluting the sacrifices of our heroes and honouring them. It should be taken as an act of patriotism and not nationalism," Raina tweeted.

R P Singh, too, was left bemused by the ICC's stance on the issue.

"Tough for me to understand how @msdhoni's on field gesture on his glove is a problem to @ICC. His fans have taken inspiration out of it and he himself is a respected Lt.Col, really strange.#MSDhoni," he wrote.

Yogeshwar, who won two gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, said removing the logo will be an insult to the Indian Army. "The demand for the removal of this badge #ICC is not only an insult to the sacrifices of the Indian Army but the Indian Army. We all have fellow countrymen with Dhoni. #DhoniKeepTheGlove @msdhoni @ICC @BCCI," he wrote.

Hima, who is the first Indian to win a gold in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships, also threw her weight behind Dhoni.

"INDIA with Dhoni brother. I support Mahi brother. Jai hind Jai Bharat...," she wrote on her twitter handle.

India's legendary sprinter Milkha Singh, who is also a former army man himself, along with wrestler Sushil Kumar, among other s, came out in support of Dhoni.

“Dhoni has not done anything major, he has honoured the Indian army, the soldiers, and the officers, what’s bad in this? Today if Milkha Singh is renowned in the world and if India is known in the world, it is because of the army,” Milkha Singh told India Today.

“I want to say that every player has different emotions towards their country, towards their army, and he is connected to the army as well. So I think he wore it so that the army stays motivated and his passion stays high as well,” Sushil Kumar told India Today.

Former Indian national football captain, Baichung Bhutia told CNN-News18 excluively that, “A player should go by the rules and regulations. If it’s against that, then Dhoni will have to remove it.” Bhutia added that Dhoni should “respect the sport first keeping aside everything else.”

According to reports in the media, ICC's Cricket Operations team will now discuss the matter with the World Cup's Event Technical committee and the BCCI will have to prove that the dagger insignia is not military symbolism and only then Dhoni would be allowed to continue sporting it.

Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army and dagger is part of their emblem.

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