At a time when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under the supervision of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has failed to back former India skipper M.S. Dhoni in the Army insignia controversy, his teammates have come together and urged him to continue sporting the 'Balidaan Badge on his wicket-keeping gloves for the match against Australia on Sunday.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments in the Indian camp said that while the final decision rests with Dhoni, the former India skipper has been told by team members that they will back him and support whatever call he takes with regards to sporting the badge on his gloves.
"The unity is evident and respect they have for the former skipper is unquestionable. The players have made it very clear to Dhoni that while the decision on whether he wears the same gloves against Australia or not lies with him, they are with him and will back him. They have in fact urged him to keep wearing the same gloves that he wore in India's opening game of the World Cup," the source said.
The source further added that while the ICC in its statement to the media on Friday said that no personal messages or individual logo was allowed, it doesn't hold ground in Dhoni's case on two counts.
"Firstly, you cannot have any other member wearing gloves while fielding. So, there is no question of it being done by all team members. Secondly, the others don't hold honourary post in the armed forces. So, why would they be sporting an Army insignia? The ICC still has some answering to do and the Indian team isn't convinced with the reasons presented behind disapproving the request from the Indian board to allow Dhoni to continue with the gloves," the source explained.
Interestingly, vice-captain Rohit Sharma had already given a hint on what was to be the team's line of action when he told the media on Saturday that they should wait and watch what happens in this regard when India take the field against Australia on Sunday.
As per regulations, Dhoni would be reprimanded if he does go ahead and agree to wear the gloves on Sunday. The second offence would attract a fine of 25 per cent of the match fee. A third offence would mean a 50 per cent fine of the fee and a fourth offence would see the player losing 75 per cent of his match fee. All of this within 12 months.
The whole issue started during India's opening game against South Africa in the ongoing World Cup when Dhoni once again professed his love for the security forces after he was spotted with regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces on his wicket-keeping gloves.
Speaking to IANS, Claire Furlong, ICC General Manager, Strategic Communications, had said that the BCCI had been asked to get the symbol removed from Dhoni's gloves. "We have requested the BCCI to get it removed," she had said on Thursday.
While BCCI appealed to the ICC to let Dhoni wear the gloves since it doesn't have a political, religious or racial sentiment attached to it, the international body said there was no reason to change the original decision.
The Army insignia was spotted on Dhoni's gloves as television replays showed him stumping Phehlukwayo in the 40th over of the innings bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal.
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.
Dhoni, who has been conferred an honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment in 2011, had also undergone training under the Para Brigade in 2015.
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at email@example.com)
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