The ICC and the BCCI somehow always manage to come at loggerheads for some raging issue or the other. This time the issue has taken place in a prominent tournament like the ICC World Cup 2019 in England and things are on the verge of being blown out of proportion.
Controversy erupted when ICC took note of Indian wicket-keeper MS Dhoni wearing gloves with the dagger insignia in India’s first World Cup match against South Africa and “requested the BCCI” to ask Dhoni to remove the signs from the gloves. For those who may not know, Dhoni is an honorary lieutenant-colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Territorial Army. The emblem on his gloves was similar to the regimental emblem of the Indian Army.
According to the apex body, those signs flouted the ICC rules, and they wanted to prevent the display of any messages “which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes.”
The news did not go down well with Indian fans, and there was outrage all over social media over ICC’s ‘bullying tactics,’ and people used hashtags like #IStandWithDhoni. Many leading personalities went on to say that Dhoni was justified in wearing those gloves as it showed his love for the Indian Army, and it had nothing to with politics or religion. Within no time, the BCCI then requested the ICC to be flexible and allow Dhoni to use his gloves but also mentioned that it will go by the rules.
However, the ICC did not relent and turned down the Indian board’s request, saying that rules need to be followed. This news has not been taken well by Indian cricket fans who are crying foul.
So has the ICC been unfair to the BCCI and Dhoni? What do the rules say?
The ICC has mentioned that Dhoni has violated the G1 clause of its clothing and equipment regulations.
The particular passage from the clause reads thus:
“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 clause is hence pretty clear. One may not like to accept it, but the fact is that players have to follow the rules that have been laid out and they are for every player to follow. It is unlikely that the BCCI will further contest this decision, and that should rightly be the case. No player is bigger than the game. And more importantly, the Indian team is currently engaged in the all-important World Cup. In such a high-octane tournament, all players need to be focused on performing well and being in a positive frame of mind.
Giving this issue needless importance and blowing it out of proportion will create unnecessary negativity and distract the Indian players. Dhoni, being the most experienced player and a vital part of the team, needs to be at his best. And knowing him, he would quietly follow the rules and get on with the game. It would be good if Indian fans and the media to do the same now.