Millennium Post

Much ado about nothing

Is sporting our belief on our sleeves worth flouting unanimously accepted norms?

ICC's objection to MS Dhoni's wearing a 'Dagger' insignia on his wicketkeeping gloves in the World Cup, is valid. ICC Clothing and Equipment Rules unambiguously lay down that players cannot wear any unapproved commercial, religious or military logo on their bat, cap, jersey or equipment. There is, of course, a provision for certain charity insignias, with prior approval. Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army and the dagger is part of their emblem. As per the rule, wicketkeeping gloves can display up to two manufacturing logos.

Even if a player believes in a cause, it does not entitle him to flout rules of a Council, Federation or Committee, especially during an International Tournament. For any playing team in an international tournament, the focus should be on the game and not controversies brewing around. If the social media is abuzz with fans taking sides, then can it escape the attention of players? They should ideally be concentrating on strategies and tactics for the upcoming matches.

We Indians love to break rules and expect others to do the same. The argument of numerous panellists and callers, including a prominent anchor on National Television, that 'how can Shashank Manohar, being an India, direct BCCI to ask Dhoni to remove the logo from his gloves', is absurd. Shashank Manohar is the Chairman of ICC. Incidentally, he is from India. He is doing what is expected of him, as the boss and custodian of this prominent cricketing body. Are we saying that if an American is the head of the UN, he will not interfere in a war between the US and another country, just because he is an American?

Indian cricket fans and fraternity believe that ICC is what it is today because of BCCI. This may be true. But to think that ICC, therefore, should overlook deviations of rules by BCCI or its players, is preposterous. This is truly an Indian characteristic - 'rules are meant for others, not us'.

Worst still, I note from media reports that Dhoni has refused to oblige. If that is so then it is unbecoming of MS Dhoni, the man revered and loved for being what he is; cool and level headed. I would expect Dhoni to take the first step, remove the insignia and say, 'let's just play cricket'. By all means, he can and should display this insignia in domestic matches or during other activities back home. We are proud that Dhoni has set an example by joining the Territorial Army since it must be made compulsory for college graduates to inculcate discipline, as some experts argue.

It is another matter that BCCI has now decided to put forward a formal request to ICC, saying that dagger and the word 'balidaan' is the complete insignia of Territorial Army, just a dagger is not an infringement of ICC rules, technically. As expected, ICC has turned down the BCCI request. Much ado about nothing.

On the other hand, the 24X7 electronic media in India, faced with a post-election lull, has grabbed the incident with open arms. In reality, this is a standard deviation by a player and routine direction from its parent body. In any other country, the matter would have been left to be settled between the local body (in this case BCCI) and the player. But in India, the footage hungry panellists/politicians and TRP hungry channels, have decided to take it to an altogether different level. This news has gained precedence over other prominent happenings of the day; five terrorists killed in Pulwama and in a first, a Chief Minister appointing five Deputy CMs. It is time we learnt to apportion importance to incidents of import over sensation. Or is it a new phenomenon of resurgent India that we like to wear on our sleeves, what we believe?

(The author is Editorial Consultant with Millennium Post. The views expressed are strictly personal)

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