Union Minister Smriti Irani today posted Indian Army's 'Balidan' insignia on her Instagram account, in solidarity with cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was barred by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from sporting the symbol on his wicket-keeping gloves during the ongoing World Cup, citing rules.
"You'll never see us cause we don't exist, you'll never hear about us cause it never happened, we don't exist so that you can. Men apart, every man an emperor," her post read.
During a World Cup match against South Africa in England, MS Dhoni, an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army, wore the insignia of the Parachute Regiment on his gloves. ICC, the highest cricket governing body, took exception to Mr Dhoni's gesture as rules only allow sponsors' logos on gloves.
The council later told India's cricketing board, the BCCI, that MS Dhoni would have to remove the badge from his gloves.
"The ICC has responded to the BCCI to confirm the logo displayed by MS Dhoni in the previous match is not permitted to be worn on his wicket-keeping gloves at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019," an ICC statement said.
"The regulations for ICC events do not permit any individual message or logo to be displayed on any items of clothing or equipment. In addition to this, the logo also breaches the regulations in relation to what is permitted on wicketkeeper gloves," it added.
The government has backed the cricketer. Minister Kiren Rijiju and BJP parliamentarian Gautam Gambhir have also supported Mr Dhoni.
The Army, however, has distanced itself from the controversy. GOC-in-C (South-Western Command) Lt Gen Cherish Matheson said it was Mr Dhoni's personal decision to wear the Army insignia on his gloves and the Army had nothing to do with it, news agency PTI reported.
With inputs from PTI
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