India cricket chiefs defend Dhoni in WC gloves row

LONDON (Agencies): India cricket chiefs have defended former captain M.S. Dhoni after the International Cricket Council told him to remove apparent military insignia from his World Cup wicketkeeping gloves.

Dhoni, an honorary lieutenant colonel in India’s Parachute Regiment, wore gloves featuring a dagger logo in India’s win over South Africa on Wednesday. His gesture has gained widespread attention on television and on social media in India, with #DhoniKeepTheGlove trending on Twitter.

But the ICC said Dhoni’s wearing of the logo in India’s first match at the World Cup contravened its rules. ICC spokeswoman Claire Furlong said: “It is against the regulations and we have requested it is removed. Only manufacturers’ logos are allowed on gloves.”

She added that for a first breach, the ICC had only requested the badge be removed, with no further punishment. But the Indian cricket board said Dhoni was not in breach of the regulations.

“The BCCI had already sent a formal request to the ICC for clearance. There was nothing commercial or religious in this regard as we all know,” said Board of Control for Cricket in India administrator Vinod Rai. “And it is not the paramilitary regimental dagger that is embossed on his gloves. So Dhoni is not in breach of ICC regulations.”

India’s sports minister Kiren Rijiju said the government did not interfere in “matters of sports bodies”.

“But when the issue is related to the country’s sentiments, then the interest of the nation has to be kept in mind. I urge the BCCI to take appropriate steps on the issue,” he tweeted. The Indian team have not commented.

In March, the team wore camouflage-style caps provided by Dhoni during a one-day game against Australia as a tribute to the Indian armed forces after 40 troops were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Kashmir. The ICC has previously ruled against players making political statements, banning England all-rounder Moeen Khan in 2014 from wearing wristbands saying “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine”.