Kiren Rijiju, sports fraternity back MS Dhoni in glove controversy

The Sports Minister of India, Kiren Rijiju, has come out in response to the ongoing feud between MS Dhoni and the International Cricket Council.

The sports minister of India, Kiren Rijiju, has come out in response to the ongoing feud between MS Dhoni and the International Cricket Council. Talking to ANI, Rijiju has said “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.”

The ICC has asked for Dhoni to remove an Indian army insignia, called Balidaan, from his gloves. The ICC approached the BCCI regarding this ‘breach in conduct,’ objecting to what the governing council has stated to be a representation of ‘religious or political identity’ – a practice which goes against the code of conduct.

However, arguments are being made in support of Dhoni in the backdrop of West Indies’ fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell’s march-and-salute celebration in honour of the Jamaican Defence Forces. Additionally, England’s team crest, the Three Lions, are on the coat of arms of the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom.

Dhoni has been backed by prominent figures amongst both the sporting and political fraternities, but still hasn’t commented on the issue himself. Amongst those in support of the World Cup-winning captain are historic sprinter Milkha Singh, wrestler Sushil Kumar and former teammate of Dhoni, Sreesanth.

Milkha Singh, a former army man himself, said to India Today, “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.”

Sushil Kumar, also to India Today, said, “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.”

Sreesanth commented, “ICC should be apologizing not just to MS Dhoni but the entire country.” He went on to state that “[Dhoni] represents India in every part of the world.”

However, former football captain Baichung Bhutia is of a differing view, saying to CNN-News18, ““A player should go by the rules and regulations. If it’s against that, then Dhoni will have to remove it.” Bhutia also says that Dhoni should “respect the sport first keeping aside everything else.”

MS Dhoni, an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian army, has in the past used military camouflage-style gloves, while also reportedly being the proponent for the military caps the entire team wore in an ODI against Australia in March following the Pulwama terrorist attack. Images have also emerged of the Balidaan badge on Dhoni’s phone case and a cap worn by him while on tour.

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