Lashing out at a Pakistan minister over his snide remarks on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves with ”Balidan” insignia, Union minister Giriraj Singh Sunday said the Indian wicketkeeper is a “patriot” and the country does not need any advice from its neighbour.
Mr Dhoni, an honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army, landed in a controversy after sporting gloves embossed with a design of a dagger – which looked more like the Indian Army’s insignia.
He wore the gloves during India’s World Cup game against South Africa in Southampton last Wednesday.
“Dhoni is a renowned cricketer and the pride of Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar. He is a patriot and he displayed his patriotism (by wearing the gloves). We do not need any advice from Pakistan on the matter,” Mr Singh told reporters in his parliamentary constituency here.
Fawad Chaudhary, Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology, on June 6 said Dhoni was in England to play cricket, not for “Mahabharta”. He also said that a section of Indian media was obsessed with war.
“Dhoni is in England to play cricket not for Mahabharta, what an idiotic debate in Indian Media, a section of Indian media is so obsessed with War they should be sent to Syria, Afghanistan Or Rwanda as mercenaries….” he tweeted.
Giriraj Singh, talking to reporters in Patna on the insignia row two days ago, said MS Dhoni was committed to the glory of the country.
“He is a true ”rashtrabhakt” (patriot). He is not like other celebrities whose love for the country remain inconsistent. He is a patriot and committed to the glory of his country,” the minister said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had recently requested the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) to advise the Indian cricketer to remove the insignia from his gloves.
The BCCI, while stating that it did not wish to get into a spat with the ICC on the issue, maintained that the embossed design was not exactly the insignia of the Army, and hence, wearing gloves with the badge should not be seen as violation of norms.