New Delhi: Lieutenant General (Retd) Vinod Bhatia on Friday said India wicket-keeper MS Dhoni's decision to sport the Balidan badge on his gloves in the World Cup match against South Africa on June 5 has completely been blown out of proportion.
"There is nothing commercial about Dhoni's decision. His sporting the Balidan badge on his glove has been blown out of proportion. He has done a thing by supporting the soldiers," Lt General Bhatia told ANI.
"Dhoni himself is a soldier. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the parachute regiment of the Army. He is an icon. He is someone who is passionate about the Army and all he is doing is just displaying the Balidan badge. There is nothing political about it," he said.
Lt Gen Bhatia said that we should be talking about cricket, as the World Cup is going on.
He said that there have been many instances earlier when the sportsperson supported a cause. He even gave an example of Pakistan cricket team who dedicated their Test match win against England in 2016 to their Army.
"There are so many sportsmen who support a cause. Dhoni is supporting soldiers. Pakistan team even dedicated their 106 Test match win against England to their Army. They will feel good that a good man like him is appreciating them.
When Dhoni wears the badge, then Pakistan has got a problem," Bhatia said.
Cricket's governing body, ICC, on Friday said that if Dhoni and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) manage to convince them that the 'Balidan badge' does not have any political, religious or racial message, then it may consider allowing him to continue wearing it on his gloves.
"If MS Dhoni and BCCI convince us that the 'Balidan Badge' does not have any political, religious or racial message, then ICC may consider the request," said an ICC source.
On June 5, Dhoni was seen donning the 'Balidan' (sacrifice) badge on his wicket-keeping glove during the team's first World Cup match against South Africa.
'Captain Cool' was spotted sporting the Army insignia, which was clearly seen while he stumped Andile Phehlukwayo. The regimental dagger is the insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces.
Then, ICC on Thursday asked the BCCI to get the insignia of one of the Indian Army units removed from the wicket-keeping gloves of Dhoni.
"We have requested the BCCI to get it removed," Claire Furlong, ICC General Manager, Strategic Communications, said.
The ICC equipment and clothing regulations do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match.
India won their first match of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup against South Africa by six wickets. The team will next play against Australia on June 9.