Cricket is not just a sport in India, it is an emotion. Remember the 2003 ICC World Cup when Australia outclassed India by nine wickets on February 15 at Centurion in South Africa in a group league match? The disappointing performance on the field saw the Indian fans stone-pelting on the Indian cricketers’ houses back home. (More Cricket News)
The incident forced little master Sachin Tendulkar, who top-scored with 36 in that match, to issue a public appeal on the eve of their next game against Zimbabwe. India have broken multiple records despite having several bad days at the office. But whenever India struggled, the supporters didn’t step back from bursting out their emotions.
Almost two decades later, India faced yet another outrage. This time it was on social media following India’s 10-wicket hammering against Pakistan in their opening fixture in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
The fans targeted Mohammad Shami after the pacer miserably failed to pick up a wicket conceding 43 runs in Dubai. Subsequently, the fast bowler was trolled over his religion on Twitter and even asked to go to Pakistan.
ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¬ We exactly know how to approach the matches ahead.#TeamIndia captain @imVkohli on how the side will go about their upcoming #T20WorldCup games. #INDvNZ pic.twitter.com/lChCoNorCQ— BCCI (@BCCI) October 30, 2021
Walking in the footsteps of Tendulkar, captain Virat Kohli came in defence of Shami and condemned the trolls ahead of the must-win match against New Zealand on Sunday. “To me attacking someone over their religion is the most, I would say, the pathetic thing that a human being can do,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.
“Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and what they feel about certain situations, but I personally have never ever even thought of discriminating (against) anyone over their religion. That is a very sacred and personal thing to every human being and that should be left there,” added Kohli.
Shami has been an imperial figure in the world-class Indian bowling line-up over the years along with Jasprit Bumrah. Standing like a rock behind Shami, Kohli made it clear that the brotherhood and friendship in the team can’t be broken no matter how strong the negative force is.
“They have no understanding of the fact that someone like Mohammed Shami has won India ‘n’ number of matches in the last few years and he’s been our primary bowler with Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to making an impact in games in Test cricket.
“I mean, if people can overlook that and his passion for the country, I honestly don’t even want to waste one minute of my life to give any attention to those people. Neither does Shami and neither does anyone else in the team.
“We stand by him fully. We are backing him 200 percent, and all those who have attacked him can come with more force if they want to: our brotherhood, our friendship within the team, nothing can be shaken.
I can guarantee you that as the captain of the team that we have built a culture where these things will not even infiltrate into this environment 0.0001 per cent. That is an absolute guarantee from my side,” said Kohli.
Kohli called the trollers a ‘bunch of spineless people’ who don’t have the courage to look up and speak to anyone in person. “It is so unfortunate and sad to see because this is literally the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at, and that’s how I look at these people,” stated an angry Kohli.