Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the most loved men in the Indian society both as a cricketer and as a common man. His love and admiration for the Indian Army and special forces are second to none and have been well documented throughout the veteran's professional career.
In the ICC World Cup 2019 debut for the Men in Blue the former Indian skipper and World Cup winner, decided to pay homage to the nation's Para Special Forces in the most unique manner by proudly sporting their distinguishing insignia which honours the Parachute regiment, on his wicket keeping gloves.
The emblem represents the struggle and intense training a member of the regiment goes through before officially getting inducted. Considered to be one of the most difficult regimens, a candidate gets exposed to extreme environments which includes being exposed to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, humiliation and various mental and physical tortures to make their resolve unbreakable.
Even after going through so much, the candidates do not officially get inducted until they complete what is known as the 'Balidan Padh' wherein, once their training is complete, they have to spend a year in a hostile zone, actively being involved in operations. It is only after that one year that they are honoured with the 'Balidan' insignia. Such is the importance and value of the sign.
It did not take too long for the Indian fans to take notice of Dhoni's silent gesture and they did not hold back in showering the legendary cricketer with love:
This man shows his love for the nation and army.
A Regimental Dragger(BALIDAN) of Indian Army Para Special Force on MS Dhoni Gloves. #IndianArmy #Balidan pic.twitter.com/P5haUEyQcy
Salute & respect to MS Dhoni who printed insignia of 'Balidan' on his wicket keeping gloves.