The ICC has rejected BCCI's request to allow MS Dhoni to wear wicketkeeping gloves with the dagger insignia. ESPNcricinfo understands the ICC sent it its response on Friday afternoon (UK time) explaining that Dhoni had breached two clauses of the clothing and equipment regulations: one relating to display of "personal messages" and the other concerning the logo on his gloves.
The latest update followed a statement by Vinod Rai, the chairman of the BCCI's Committee of Administrators, saying that the Indian board would not escalate the matter if the ICC insisted on following the regulations but had requested for some "flexibility" on the matter. It is expected to end a story that had run through most of Friday in India's news cycle.
The ICC raised the red flag after noticing the insignia of a dagger on the back of Dhoni's green gloves during India's tournament opener against South Africa on June 5. Dhoni is an honorary lieutenant-colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Territorial Army. The dagger is similar to the regimental emblem.
It is believed that Dhoni is likely to continue to wear the same gloves but cover the insignia with tape.
ESPNcricinfo understands that, in its email to the BCCI, the ICC explained that Dhoni had violated the G1 clause in of its clothing and equipment regulations. The clause reads: "Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment ("Personal Messages") unless approved in advance by both the player or team official's Board and the ICC Cricket Operations Department. Approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes."
Dhoni also flouted the specific rule related to the display of logos on wicketkeeping gloves in the clothing and equipment regulations for the World Cup. The diagram in clause 19.47 shows that only two manufacturer's identifications are allowed on the back of each glove. "No visible logos permitted other than those identified in the diagram," the note accompanying the illustration says.
Though the matter gained traction in India and even prompted the intervention of the country's sports minister, the BCCI called it a "non-issue" earlier in the day. "We will play the game by the rules of the ICC in letter and spirit," Rai told ESPNcricinfo. "If there is a specific norm that has to be followed, we will not break that norm. However, if there is any flexibility available, we have sought permission for the ICC to allow the player to wear the gloves."
The matter was discussed in the CoA meeting held in Mumbai on Friday, which was attended by Rai's two other colleagues - Diana Edulji and Ravindra Thodge - as well as the BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri.
Making the issue more complex was the Indian government's support for Dhoni's gloves. India's sports minister Kiren Rijiju told the news agency ANI: "The government doesn't intervene in affairs of sports bodies. But when the issue is related to the country's sentiments, then the interest of the nation has to be kept in mind. I would like to request BCCI to take up the matter with ICC."
As per the rules, Dhoni would be reprimanded if he wore the gloves with the insignia on Sunday, when India face Australia in their second group match. The second offence, in case it took place within 12 months, would attract a fine of 25% of the match fee. A third offence would mean a 50% fine of the match fee, and a fourth would see the player losing 75% of his match fee.
There is precedent for the ICC's decision. In 2014, Moeen Ali was asked to remove wristbands bearing the slogans "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine" during the third Test against India in Southampton. The ECB said Moeen's actions were humanitarian rather than political, but the ICC's view was that it was inappropriate for the field of play. No further action was taken. In January 2017 South Africa's Imran Tahir was reprimanded by the ICC for a wicket celebration during a T20 match against Sri Lanka in which he revealed a t-shirt under his playing kit with an image of the late Junaid Jamshed, a one-time Pakistani pop icon and religious preacher who had died weeks before in an air crash.