LONDON (Reuters) - The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked Mahendra Singh Dhoni to remove an army insignia from his wicketkeeping gloves, forcing New Delhi to weigh in after a nationalistic furore in the country.
Dhoni, one of the game’s biggest stars, is an honorary lieutenant colonel in the territorial army and sported its dagger insignia on his gloves during India’s opening match against South Africa in the World Cup, hosted by England and Wales.
The ICC said its clothing and equipment rules allow only manufacturers’ logos on gloves, and that Dhoni or the Indian team had not sought any permission to sport the badge.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government on Friday urged the country’s cricket board (BCCI) to sort out the matter.
“The government does not interfere in matters of sports bodies, they are autonomous,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Twitter.
“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.”
The BCCI said it has already written to the world governing body for cricket seeking permission for Dhoni to sport the insignia.
The controversy has prompted passionate responses from both ruling and opposition politicians, Bollywood stars, as well as common citizens. #DhoniKeepTheGlove is the most trending hashtag on Twitter India.
Fawad Chaudhry, a federal minister in Pakistan, said Dhoni was in England to play cricket, not for any war.
In an unusually strong display of patriotic fervour in sport, Dhoni and his team members wore army camouflage-style caps in a one-day match against Australia in March to show their solidarity with Indian paramilitary police killed in a militant attack by a Pakistan-based group.
The team, led by Virat Kohli, also donated their earning from that match to the families of the defence personnel who died on duty.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly